The New Seven Wonders of the World

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
Six out the "New Seven Wonders of the World" are accessible by cruise ships.


Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro

I just ran across a list of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" tabulated by the Swiss government after over 100,000 people voted. The idea was to replace the old "seven wonders of the world" list you probably remember from childhood. That list had the Colossus of Rhodes, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and three other places that no longer exist. The only "wonder" still in existence on that old list was Giza, site of the Great Pyramids.

The New Seven Wonders of the World list only includes places still in existence, and six out the "New Seven Wonders of the World" are accessible by cruise ships. I have personally already seen five out of the seven - while on cruises. That's right, cruising is more than just a convenient getaway vacation, you can do some serious world travel.

The New Seven Wonders of the World:
The Pyramids of Giza are the only items from the original list also included on the new list. Thousands of cruise passengers have visited since cruise ships started calling regularly in Port Said, Egypt. An easy bus ride from the dock and you can enter one of the pyramids through a long, narrow tunnel that takes you to a room deep inside. The famous Sphinx is also at Giza within walking distance of the pyramids.

Christ the Redeemer - this amazing statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro is 130 feet tall and placed on Corcovado, the tallest mountain overlooking the city. You can reach it by taxi or city buses for a fantastic view of Rio, and you will pass the famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches along the way. I visited it while docked in Rio for five days during Carnival of 1983.

Chichen Itza - this ancient Mayan city on the Yucatan Peninsula was built circa 600 A.D. It has pyramids, an ancient ball court, a maze and calendars still accurate to this day. Chichen Itza is easy to access from many Western Caribbean cruises that call at Costa Maya or other ports on the Yucatan Peninsula. Carnival charges a mere $70 per adult for the 2 1/2-hour bus ride to the ruins. Or you can book a van onshore and take several people for about $150. When I visited in 1997 we flew by prop plane from Cozumel - but that is no longer offered.

Coliseum in Rome - the most famous building of antiquity ever erected. Many European cruises begin in Civitavecchia, Italy, the port city for Rome. We stayed in a hotel in Rome before our Emerald Princess Mediterranean cruise. In fact, that cruise ended in Venice, which is another wonder even if it didn't make the list, and we stayed there a few days as well.

Great Wall of China - over 5000 miles long, started in 500 B.C. and still under construction 2000 years later. The Wall is most often visited from Beijing, a common stop on Asian cruises. The city is a mere 45-minute train ride away from the port. I recommend taking a scheduled tour of the city since it is a vast, sprawling metropolis. Many cruises originate in Beijing so you can arrive a few days early to tour the city if you prefer. Beijing was added to our Yangtze River cruise; we were flown there from Shanghai and given city tours for two days, staying in a hotel.

Machu Picchu - this amazing Incan city was built in the 1400s in the Peruvian Andes at an elevation of 7,970 feet. It was unknown to the modern world until 1911. I have not seen it, but it is accessible from the popular cruise port Lima, Peru. It does require flying to the city of Cuzco and a train ride of five hours each direction. Not exactly a day trip, but something you could plan to do as part of a South America cruise.

Petra - this ancient city in Jordan was inhabited by 100,000 Nabataeans with homes and temples carved into stone cliffs. I had the pleasure of seeing this amazing city during a Silversea cruise stop at Aqaba on the Red Sea. We also saw the Pyramids at Giza on this trip as well as the famous ancient Egyptian capital of Luxor, which would also be on my personal list of world wonders.

Taj Mahal - located in Agra, India, it is a mausoleum finished in 1648. The Taj Mahal is the only site that is not a common cruise shore excursion; although some cruise lines, like Regent, do offer it as part of a cruise/tour package.

So, six out of the New Seven Wonders of the World are regular tours available on several cruises you could book today, and the seventh is available on some cruises. I have already seen five of them myself. In fact, you can see almost anyplace you want as part of a cruise these days. For example, flightseeing to the inland city of Moscow during Baltic Sea cruises is now a very popular tour.

Travel is one of the most fulfilling things I have done in my life. Seeing the diversity of world culture and the remnants of ancient human history has given me a life perspective I would have never known otherwise. And cruising is a fantastic way to see the best the world has to offer. When you consider that ships were the primary means or world travel for 99% of human history, it is only makes sense that most of the world's most important places are close to the sea.

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