Our little blue marble, Earth, truly is a special planet.
It’s filled with natural majesty and beautiful scenery, but some of the world’s most spectacular panoramas are tucked away, just out of reach of shore-bound eyes.
The antidote? A cruise ship vantage point – Captain’s orders.
Royal Caribbean has worked with the captains of its 23 cruise ships to identify the twelve most exhilarating and memorable destinations around the world – places so spectacular that only a viewing deck from the high seas does them justice.
Be warned: what follows are descriptions of scenes so marvellous that they take the most seasoned traveller’s breath away, time and time again.
You might want to sit down.
1. Sydney Harbour, Australia
Regarded as one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world with more than 240 kilometres of shoreline and meandering waterways, it also plays host to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Captain Rick Sullivan who is now on-board Explorer of the Seas, visited Sydney Harbour during his time with Rhapsody of the Seas and called it, “the most iconic harbour in the world.”
Explorer of the Seas will make her maiden debut in Sydney this year, on 28 November, crossing beautiful Sydney Harbour with twin sister Voyager of the Seas.
2. The Hubbard Glacier, Alaska
The glaciers of Alaska were chosen as a favourite view by several of the captains surveyed, who commented on the magnitude and scale of the view from Yakutat to Disenchantment Bay.
Voyager of the Seas’ Captain Sindre Borsheim, said he loves the view because, “It is different every time, as the colours vary with the light,” while Captain Juan Caranti, from Radiance of the Seas, added, “When a piece of ice falls into the ocean it makes an extraordinary roar, like a thunderstorm.”
The Hubbard Glacier, located in Eastern Alaska is joined by the Valerie Glacier to the west and joins Disenchantment Bay waters.
3. Venice Harbour, Italy
Chosen by several of the Captains surveyed, Venice’s stunning architecture was considered to be at its best when the sun is rising over it first thing in the morning.
4. Geiranger Fjord, Norway
The Geiranger Fjord is located in the southwestern part of the County of Møre og Romsdal, in Norway. The deep blue water is surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation.
Captain Espen Been, from Grandeur of the Seas, described how, “where the mountains meet the sea and the snow from the surrounding tops is mirrored, it seems like everything is blooming.”
5. Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
The archipelago through which ships sail as they come into Stockholm was described as being like “nothing else” due to the thousands of rocks and tiny islands which have to be navigated upon entry into the port.
Captain Espen Been, from Grandeur of the Seas said that “homes look like doll’s houses” as you sail past.
With nearly 30,000 islands, islets and rocks – from Arholma in the north to Landsort in the south – rugged nature blends with wooded islands, rocky cliffs and sandy beaches in the second largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea.
6. Vesuvius, Naples (Italy)
The landscape of the Mediterranean was regularly cited by the Captains as housing some of the best views in the world.
However it was the view of Vesuvius towering over Naples at sunrise that really stood out as an extraordinary image to capture from the sea.
7. Golfo di Poeti, La Spezia (Italy)
Lord Byron was so enamoured with Lerici that the bay became known as the Bay of Poets.
The Captains agreed it was easy to see why it earned such devotion, with comments that the view of the Golfo di Poeti as ships sail out of the port of La Spezia is “enchanting.”
8. Nice, France
A popular destination for the well-trodden holidaymaker, the Captains commented that the view of Nice as sailing into the neighbouring port of VilleFranche deserved a place in the top twelve thanks to its mountainous backdrop.
Captain Tomas Busto, from Adventure of the Seas, said he loved it because, “when the ships arrive in the Mediterranean in April, the mountains are still snow-capped but the beaches are welcoming sunbathers.”
9. Kotor, Montenagro
Captain Lis Lauritzen from Vision of the Seas commented that Kotor in Montenegro deserved a spot in the list of favourite views because it’s, “completely different in terms of view and environment.”
The port is located in the Gulf of Kotor which is considered to be one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea. The historic town of Kotor has little commercial traffic and is known for its Venetian style architecture set against a mountainous backdrop.
10. Island of Moorea, French Polynesia
The “beautiful green, jagged volcanic mountains” of the Island of Moorea helped it find its way into the top views for the ship Captains.
The French Polynesian island paradise is known for the juxtaposition of sandy beaches set on dramatic mountain ranges, with rainforest trails and scuba diving being popular local activities for adventurous travellers.
11. Vancouver, Canada
Captain Rick Sullivan, from Explorer of the Seas, explained that Vancouver made the list due to the breathtaking perspective offered only by boat of sailing under the First Narrows Bridge into Vancouver Harbour, viewing the city against the backdrop of the mountains.
12. The English Channel, UK
Captain Henrik Loft Soerensen, from Brilliance of the Seas, commented that his favourite view is of the expanse of English Channel for one, simple reason: it is “beautiful and peaceful”.
Featured Image: “The Blue Marble” – NASA/Apollo 17 Crew, 1972 via Wikipedia
Story Images: Supplied