Can you name the ancient Seven Wonders of the World? I couldn’t (although I did happen to remember the Gardens of Babylon). Then I looked up the rest of them. As it turns out, quite a number of these bucket lists persist. The ancient Greeks dreamed up the original list back when only their known, and relatively circumscribed, world provided the paradigm. Another list, called “the Seven Wonders of the Modern World,” was selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1996. Meanwhile, “the Seven Natural Wonders of the World” was coined by CNN in 1997; a “new” Seven Wonders list followed in 2007, compiled via an international online poll. The truth is: Your “wonder” may be different form mine. The lists are subjective, depending on the organization and its area of interest, although a number of spectacular destinations and attractions are sure to be on anyone’s must-see list.
For me, the United Nations designation of an area or monument or region as a UNESCO World Heritage site is a much more exhaustive and compelling approach. It calls attention to a destination while, hopefully, protecting and safeguarding it for future generations. Actually, if you decided to visit every destination on their list you would have to give up your day job or any kind of normal routine (as fun as that might be). Yet one can find many of their wonders in only one voyage, one vacation, one destination.
Which is why I came up with this “Seven Cruise Wonders of the World” list. What struck me about these wonders—each a standout in its own right—was the particular sense of arrival when approaching them by ship, the experience of anticipation and excitement when closing in on each treasure, and the sense of discovery that only an arrival by ship can really create. But I also liked that there are cruise lines offering not just one standout “wonder” but many other treasures along the way arguably just as compelling. How could I pick Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, for example, over the wilds of Patagonia? Why would I call the Hagia Sofia more important than the wonders of Saint Peter’s in Rome? How could I ever choose the Fiordland National Park over Sydney? On a cruise with Princess, I wouldn’t have to choose just one wonder. Natural beauty, cultural treasures, architectural showstoppers, vibrant cities, and unfathomable adventures await on each cruise itinerary, each one offering a new way of looking at the planet, and oneself. So take a look, see what appeals, and make your own list of the seven wonders you want to discover. Or 70…or 700. Wonder. Wander. And dream.