From ancient ruins to towering glaciers, discover the best places to see in the world during a Celebrity Cruises vacation. With over 300 destinations in more than 79 countries, we take travelers to the best places to see in the world from the comfort of our award-winning cruise ships.
Experience the magic of Machu Picchu, the rugged beauty of Alaska, the grandeur of Rome’s Colosseum, and dozens more of the world’s most extraordinary destinations with Celebrity Cruises.
Discover Celebrity’s Wonders and plan your next bucket-list vacation to one of these unforgettable sites.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Chichen Itza, located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, is an ancient Mayan city and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. At this impressively large pre-Columbian archeological site, you’ll be transported to another era, when the Mayans built an impressive empire that extends six square miles.
It’s easy to visit Chichen Itza on a cruise to Cozumel. Once you arrive at the ancient civilization, there are several archeological structures to see, including the Iglesia (church); El Caracol (the snail) observatory; the Chichanchob (red house); and the Kukulkan Pyramid, also known as El Castillo (the castle), which is by far the most popular building in Chichen Itza.
The Kukulkan pyramid rises almost 80 feet tall and has a total of 365 steps for each day of the year. If you happen to be there during the spring or fall equinox, you’ll be able to experience the magnificent sight of the sun’s shadow creating the illusion of a snake moving down the stairway of Kukulkan.
El Yunque National Park, Puerto Rico
On a cruise to Puerto Rico, nature lovers can head to El Yunque National Park, an eco-wonderland only 45 minutes away from San Juan and the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service.
Spanning over 29,000 acres, it’s one of the smallest forests in the country, but it’s also one of the most diverse. During a hike around El Yunque, you’ll find hundreds of different plant and animal species. Breathe in the fresh air, admire the lush, green view, and later swim at one of the several natural pools in the area.
The Pitons, St. Lucia
See one of the most iconic sights of the Caribbean in St. Lucia, where two twin volcano mountains dominate this beautiful island’s landscape.
Located between the towns of Soufriere and Choiseul, Gros Piton and Petit Piton soar over 2,500 feet above the sea, and are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, ensuring development will never take place over this stunning protected land.
One of the best views of the pitons can be enjoyed from Sugar Beach, a luxurious white sand haven. If you want to do more than admire them from afar, you can hike up to the top of the mountainous volcanic plugs. Most travelers prefer to walk up Gros Piton, which has a variety of marked trails and is much easier for hikers of all levels. It’s one of the best things to do in St. Lucia.
The Baths at Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
A cruise to the British Virgin Islands isn’t complete without an excursion to Virgin Gorda, where a beautiful and unusual natural formation known as The Baths awaits.
One of the most popular attractions in BVI, The Baths are a collection of smooth granite boulders that create a labyrinth of coves, secret rock pools, and grottoes, such as the Cathedral Room, where you can float in a crystalline natural pool inside a small cave.
Inside The Baths, there is a collection of beautiful beaches only accessible by climbing ladders or following the rope handrails that scale the granite boulders. Once you reach Devil’s Bay, one of The Bath’s more spectacular beaches, you’ll feel like you’ve just discovered a hidden slice of heaven on earth.
Roman Colosseum, Italy
On a cruise to Rome, step back in time with a visit to the Colosseum, the ancient amphitheater where gladiators and wild animals battled for their lives. Commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in AD 70, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in Rome (it could hold more than 50,000 spectators) and was used as an arena for over four centuries, where Romans were entertained by gladiator spectacles, battle recreations, and public executions.
In the following centuries, the Colosseum was damaged by earthquakes and lightning and was ultimately abandoned and used as a quarry, church, and even cemetery in the ensuing years. In the 18th century, several popes began efforts to preserve the famous Italian landmark. In the 1990s, a major restoration project took place.
Today, it continues to be one of the best places to see in the world and one of the Eternal City’s most popular tourist attractions, hosting almost seven million visitors each year.
The Acropolis, Greece
Over in Athens, lovers of history can visit the Acropolis, one of the most famous ruins in the world. The word acropolis translates in English to “high city,” which is appropriate since the archeological site is located on an elevated hill above Athens.
The ancient city is made of limestone rock and dates as far back as the Bronze Age. It was the site for a number of religious festivals and celebrations and features many temples dedicated to Greek gods and goddesses, including several in honor of the goddess Athena.
The height of the Acropolis took place during the fifth century B.C., when Athens was considered the cultural and political center of the world. Under Pericles, several important buildings were erected including the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea, and the most famous structure of the Acropolis, the Parthenon.
Built in 490 B.C. by the Athenians, the Parthenon is also dedicated to Athena and is considered one of the hallmarks of Classical Greek architecture.
In the following centuries, several invasions by the Romans, Turks, and Venetians transformed the Parthenon into a Christian church, mosque, and even weapons depot. Over 24 centuries later, the white marble exterior of the Parthenon remains mostly intact and is the most visited landmark in Athens today.
Hagia Sophia, Turkey
When cruising around the Mediterranean, a stop in Istanbul, Turkey offers a glimpse of the convergence of East and West. Head to the Hagia Sophia, the city’s most famous historical building and one of the world’s most important Byzantine structures.
Located on the Bosphorus strait, the waterway that separates Istanbul between Europe and Asia, the Hagia Sophia was initially built in 360 AD and served as a Christian basilica.
After it was burned down, the Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in 537 AD and served as a ceremonial space and place of worship during the Byzantine Empire. After the Ottoman invasion of 1453, the Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque, covering all of its Christian imagery in Islamic calligraphy and symbols.
The massive building—one of the best places to visit in Istanbul—measures over 269 feet long and 180 feet tall. Today, it is used as a national museum and is visited by more than three million people a year.
The mysteries of Stonehenge await during a day in Southampton, England. Made up of around 100 enormous stones laid out in a circle, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most well-known prehistoric monuments and also one of history’s greatest puzzles.
Historians and scholars haven’t yet agreed on the purpose of this site which dates back over 4,500 years. Some have speculated it was a Druid temple, others have determined it was once used as a burial ground.
To this day, no one has been able to figure out how these massive stone structures (some of which weigh over 40 tons and tower over 24 feet) were assembled without the use of a wheel or any other type of modern technology.
Stonehenge, one of the best places to see in the world, is still considered a masterpiece of engineering. Almost a million visitors go to this mystical landmark a year, and many consider it an intensely spiritual and healing place.
Denali National Park
Deep in the Alaskan interior, you’ll find a nature-filled wonderland at Denali National Park. Spanning over six million acres, this preserve includes glaciers, boreal forests, arctic tundra, and more than 650 species of plants and vegetation.
Denali National Park is also the home of the highest peak in North America, Mount Denali, which soars up to 20,310 feet. During one of our Alaska cruisetours, you’ll be able to visit Denali National Park and witness Denali’s snow-capped peak, take in the gorgeous wilderness, and spot the area’s spectacular wildlife, including moose, caribou, sheep, and bears that roam throughout the park.
Kenai Fjords National Park
On a cruise to Alaska, you can visit another stunning natural park during a port day in Seward: the Kenai Fjords National Park.
Located on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park spans over 600,000 acres, and more than half of its territory is covered by snow or ice.
Harding Icefield is the star of this natural attraction, which features a number of tidewater glaciers (such as the half-mile-wide Exit Glacier), calming fjords, and small icebergs. Harding Icefield is the largest icefield in the United States and is home to a multitude of wild plants and animals including sea otters, sea lions, and whales.
One of the most exciting experiences of an Alaska cruise is the chance to see a glacier in action. Several of our Alaska cruises visit Hubbard Glacier, which at 76 miles long and 1,200 feet deep is the largest tidewater glacier in North America.
Nicknamed the “galloping glacier,” Hubbard is one of the few glaciers that is still advancing and not receding. Hubbard also produces daily calving displays, when massive chunks of ice fall off its exterior and thunderously crash into the ocean—a natural phenomenon you won’t soon forget.
Mt. Fuji, Japan
At over 12,380 feet, the stunning Mt. Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain and the country’s most sacred symbol. Popular with hikers, climbers, and campers, Mt. Fuji is a must-see attraction during any cruise to Japan.
You can easily spot the snow-capped peak of Mt Fuji, which remains an active volcano, from as far away as Tokyo and Yokohama. If your cruise stops in the port of Shimizu, you’ll be able to see Mt. Fuji from up close.
Climb to the top and enjoy panoramic views of Shizuoka and Tokyo in the distance, or simply pay your respects to the revered mountain, which continues to be an object of worship and spirituality to the Japanese people today. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to sample the delicious food in Japan.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Deep in the Cambodian jungle lies Angkor Wat, a Buddhist temple complex that dates back to the 12th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is easily reached on a shore excursion from the port of Bangkok.
Spanning over 400 acres, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It was built under the rule of Emperor Suryavarman II and became the political center of the Khmer empire. Its name translates to “temple city,” and has been estimated to have been the home of around one million residents.
Angkor Wat was originally designed as a Hindu temple, but by the end of the 12th century, it was transformed into a Buddhist site. There are over 300 temples in the area, and Angkor Wat is the most famous and largest one in the city. The temple features five towers in the shape of a lotus flower and a series of reflecting pools in front.
Over the centuries, Angkor Wat has experienced significant damage from earthquakes, wars, and natural decay, but it has also remarkably remained in continuous use. Today, over 500,000 people visit the grounds of this ancient sacred city each year.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
With lush green limestone pillars and calm emerald waters, Ha Long Bay is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places you’ll ever see. If you’re on an Asia cruise that stops in this gorgeous Vietnamese bay, you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of tiny islands and karsts thick with greenery.
Ha Long Bay means “Bay of the Descending Dragon.” According to one legend, during an invasion of Vietnam, a dragon was sent to protect the Vietnamese people, who spit out fire and emerald and jade jewels that eventually became the Ha Long archipelago.
Sailing around this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable things to do in Vietnam. You may kayak through its coves and caves, hike up the challenging trails, and explore the Hang Sung Sot Cave, which the French who discovered it once called the “cave of surprises.”
Twelve Apostles, Melbourne
For a dramatic landscape, head to Australia’s famous Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone pillars in the Southern Ocean just off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.
These towering rocks, some which measure up to 140 feet high, were initially part of the mainland cliffs, but seawater and wind erosion eventually formed them into the massive pillars that stand today.
If you want to witness this natural wonder in person, book a shore excursion from Melbourne and take a four-hour drive along the picturesque Great Ocean Road.
Great Barrier Reef
Over 1,430 miles long, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system and home to over 900 islands and thousands of marine species. The reef’s vast size can even be seen from outer space.
Visit the Great Barrier Reef from numerous ports of call including Port Douglas, Airlie Beach, and Cairns. On some itineraries, you can even stay overnight on the reef.
This natural underwater jewel is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which limits the amount of fishing and tourism allowed in the area. During your cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll be able to enjoy a number of water sports including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and admiring the view from above on a helicopter.
Sydney Opera House, Sydney
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic Australian landmarks and one of the best places to see in the world. The building was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, and after 14 years of construction, it finally opened to the public in 1973. In 2002, it was included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it one of the youngest cultural sites to land on that important collection of global landmarks.
Located in Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Opera House hosts over 1,500 performances every year and is visited by more than eight million people annually. No Sydney cruise is complete without a photograph in front of this striking architectural marvel, which is considered one of the most famous buildings of the 20th century.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
The imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro is one of the 7 New Wonders of the World and one of the most cherished landmarks in South America.
Erected in 1931, Christ the Redeemer stands over 98 feet tall and is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world.
During a cruise to Rio, hike up the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park to see this iconic symbol of Christianity up close and enjoy the beautiful view of the bustling city below.
Machu Picchu, Peru
High up in the mountains of Cuzco, Peru lies the Incan city of Machu Picchu, one of the best-preserved archeological ruins in the world.
Machu Picchu is an impressive site that spans over five miles and features over 150 buildings including houses, temples, and baths made out of stone. Aside from the mystery over its specific purpose, another puzzle surrounding Machu Picchu is how the ancient Incans managed to build such a sprawling city in the middle of the mountains well before the invention of the wheel.
Historians believe this ancient citadel was eventually abandoned in the 16th century after the Spanish conquered South America, and it remained hidden from civilization for hundreds of years until archeologist Hiram Bingham found it in 1911.
It’s easy to experience the wonder of Machu Picchu and discover the magic of Cuzco during one of our Galapagos and Machu Picchu cruises which visit several locations in South America, including the Sacred Valley of Peru, where Machu Picchu awaits.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
Located on the border separating Argentina from Brazil, Iguazu Falls is made up of 275 waterfalls and sprawls almost three kilometers wide. The highest waterfall at Iguazu is twice as tall as Niagara Falls and nearly three times as wide.
During a cruise to Buenos Aires, take an excursion to Iguazu National Park, where you’ll encounter exotic species in the tropical rainforest, spot wildlife including toucans, coatis, and jaguars, and see the wonder of the Devil’s Throat, an 88-yard canyon of water that produces a thunderous noise when it reaches the water below.
Frozen scenery and incredible wildlife are all part of the experience of an Antarctica cruise. Containing 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of its freshwater, Antarctica is known as the world’s largest natural laboratory.
During a cruise to the southernmost part of the world, you’ll see snow-covered mountains such as Rojas Peak, jaw-dropping glaciers, sparkling icebergs, and pristine bays.
Now that you’ve discovered the best places to see in the world, it’s time to book that life-changing vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Visit CelebrityCruises.com to browse our cruise itineraries, shore excursions, and staterooms, and book your next unforgettable cruise today.