We at Cruise1st would like to share some of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders with you – from the heavens above to the profound depths of the seas. Spanning a variety of terrains over five continents, you’ll be sure to find a natural wonder to add to your bucket list!
Throughout the centuries, humankind has made memorials to its fortune, success, and advancement. The Great Pyramid of Giza, for example – the oldest and most intact of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – still stands as a reminder of the greatness of the ancient Egyptian dynasties. You may have even had the opportunity to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World, such as the astounding Colosseum dating back to the Roman Empire. Despite the overwhelming talent of humankind, no architect, designer, or artist can hold a candle to Mother Nature herself.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
Named after Aurora, the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology, and the Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, Aurora Borealis is a natural, awe-inspiring light show that appears in the polar region of the northern hemisphere. Cruisers travelling to destinations at high latitudes from September to October and March to April can expect to see this spectacular phenomenon.
Science has taught us that charged solar particles interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere create these vibrant coloured streamers in the sky. However, past civilisations believed that divinities and spirits conjured the Northern Lights.
Harbour of Rio de Janeiro (Guanabara Bay)
When Portuguese explorers sailed into Guanabara Bay on New Year’s Day in 1502, they believed they were entering the mouth of a wide river. The explorers named the bay Rio de Janeiro (“River of January”) after the month in which they arrived, and this name was eventually adopted by the city to the west of the bay – now the second most populated in Brazil.
Guanabara Bay contains more than 130 islands and boasts a biodiverse ecosystem, especially among its mangroves. Urbanisation threatens the local marine life, but prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, legislation mandated that the Brazilian government revitalise attempts at returning the bay to its former glory.
Discover the wild wonders hidden within the Amazon rainforest! Covering north-western Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru, and other neighbouring South American countries, the Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforest at 5.5 million square kilometres. Home to more than one-third of all species in the world, it is unparalleled in terms of biodiversity. Cruisers embark on shore excursions to witness the varieties of flora and fauna.
Thousands of rivers zigzag the Amazon rainforest, including the mighty Amazon River. Flowing through Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, the sandy-coloured Amazon River flows into the blackwater Rio Negro at the Brazilian city of Manaus, which the locals call Encontro das Águas (Meeting of Waters). Cruise through South America and down the Amazon River to experience one of the most beautiful regions in the world.
Yellowstone National Park
Established as the first national park in the United States and believed to be the first in the world, Yellowstone National Park is a 9,000-square-kilometre wildlife and recreation area that sits atop a volcanic hot spot. Stretching over three states, the park features not only verdant forests and rushing rivers but also rugged canyons, hot springs, and jaw-dropping geysers – Old Faithful being one of its most popular.
Yellowstone encompasses numerous ecosystems and serves as a home to hundreds of North American animal species, such as grizzly bears, grey wolves, American bison, elk, mountain lions, and bald eagles. Visitors to the park can enjoy a range of outdoor activities like camping, hiking, fishing, rafting, and kayaking.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park became South Africa’s first national park in 1926. Covering about 19.5 thousand square kilometres of north-eastern South Africa, the park is one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves. An abundant variety of birds and hundreds of mammalian species – including the Big Five game animals: African lion, African leopard, black rhinoceros, African elephant, and Cape buffalo – have made the park their home.
Animals and visitors alike are free to roam the sprawling bush plains, bustling tropical forests, and towering mountains. The park offers nine wilderness trails, some requiring several days and overnight stops. The wilderness areas, on the other hand, have no established trails as they have not been touched by humans. Visitors in these areas must either walk along animal-created paths or find new ways through the bush.
Thanks to cruising, travelling to Antarctica has never been easier or more comfortable! Most cruisers sailing to the ice-covered continent start their journey at the southern tip of South America and visit the nearby Antarctic Peninsula. The isolated terrain of the peninsula is home to an abundance of wildlife, including several species of penguins, seals, and seabirds.
The southernmost continent boasts icy scenery that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. To truly experience the wonders of Antarctic, cruisers can partake in shore excursions and activities, such as kayaking and hiking. Visitors can also visit Port Lockroy, a former British research base that has been renovated into a museum.
A glacier is a slowly but constantly moving body of dense ice formed by the accumulation of snow over centuries. Named after the founder of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner Hubbard, Hubbard Glacier is undoubtedly one of Alaska’s most famous landmarks. At 122 kilometres long, the glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America.
Cruisers sailing along the south-eastern coast of Alaska will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Hubbard Glacier. Along the way, shimmering icebergs that have fallen from the ice giant dot the Gulf of Alaska, and spruce and hemlock trees line the snow-capped mountains. On a clear day, cruisers will also be able to see the second tallest peak in the United States, Mount St. Elias.
The Colorado River in Arizona, United States has been carving out the Grand Canyon for millions of years. At 446 kilometres long, up to 29 kilometres wide, and roughly 1,857 metres deep, the steep-sided canyon reveals thousands of centuries of geological history in its layered bands of red rock.
The Grand Canyon offers more than just sightseeing. Visitors can enjoy rafting, hiking, and running. For a different perspective, tourists can traverse the glass-bottomed Grand Canyon Skywalk, take a helicopter or small aeroplane tour, or go skydiving. Surrounding the canyon are Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, and three Native American reservations and territories.
Encompassing the waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls triumphs as the world’s largest waterfall. The 2.7-kilometre-wide falls send hundreds of cascades just short of a kilometre down. Fun fact: Although most of the river flows through Brazil, most of the falls are on the Argentine side.
As the falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu, visitors can enjoy the lower walk near the waters or the upper walk at the top of the falls. Along with the green trail, you will witness the rainforest’s brilliant flora and fauna. Not keen on walking? Hop on the quiet ecological jungle train with partially open design and enjoy the sights and sounds of the rainforest on a leisurely ride.
Did you jot down a few natural wonders on your bucket list? Then check out these exclusive cruise and tour holidays venturing out into the natural world! Book an unforgettable cruise holiday today by ringing one of our Australia-based cruise consultants on 1300 857 345 or browsing our online catalogue of cruise deals!