Nothing apart from they involve my top 5 unusual cruise destinations!
1 – The North Pole
Not only the home of Santa Claus but also a bragging right that once there you are part of an elite group that has reached this epic point where all directions face South! Due to the weather and ice in this area the only ships that can reach here are expedition ships such as Quark Expeditions or Hurtigruten and they must have an ice strengthened hull. From Polar Bears to Whales there is an abundance of wildlife and one to tick of anyone’s bucket list.
2 – Guinea-Bissau
If you want to visit one of the most untouched areas and see unspoiled nature plus encounters with populations respecting their ancestral traditions, then this is the place you need to be. Only visited by some of the smaller niche cruise lines such as Ponant. The area is described as having exceptional biodiversity. The Bissagos archipelago, located off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, is one of the most preserved and protected on the planet. Classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it is made up of 88 islands, most of which are uninhabited. Nestling in the heart of an environment which often remains untouched by humans, they offer the rare visitors who explore them the opportunity for a unique and authentic experience. An expedition cruise here will get you as close as possible to nature, between pale-sand beaches, mangrove stretching as far as the eye can see, Savannah, palm trees and baobabs. Birds of prey, pelicans, monkeys, sea turtles, crocodiles, saltwater hippos and all kinds of snakes are at home here. You will also meet the Bidyogo people, particularly on the islands of Caravela, Carache and Orango. This will be an opportunity to discover their way of life, which has not changed for thousands of years. Theirs is a matriarchal society centred on the sacred.
Tanna is an Island in the South Pacific Ocean and is a Province of Vanuatu. According to Wikipedia cannibalism has been practised within certain religions on the Island for hundreds of years so make sure you can run faster than the person next to you. One of the most fascinating facts is that there is a religious movement on the Island called, the Prince Philip movement, whereby they believe that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is a divine being! John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides, suggested that Prince Philip send them a portrait of himself. He agreed and sent a signed official photograph. The villagers responded by sending him a traditional pig-killing club called a nal-nal. In compliance with their request, the Prince sent a photograph of himself posing with the club. On 27th September 2007, five Tanna men came to London to meet the Prince in a documentary called, Meet The Natives.
4 – Benin
Benin is a tiny West African nation and is where Voodoo began and is still practised as the main religion today. Pythons, preserved skulls and shrines aplenty wait for you and for the sacrifice of two chickens your wishes can be made to come true. James Hopkirk recently wrote an article for Conde Nast Traveller and I think it sums the religion well. – “Our first appointment was at a witch doctor’s surgery. I’d always assumed that witch doctors were nefarious types who put spells on people, but I was told the opposite is true. Their job is to heal the sick with traditional medicines and use magic to protect people from the curses of sorcerers and witches – the real bad guys. The healer I met told me that he could cure everything from cancer to erectile dysfunction. I took his card.”
5 – Easter Island
Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. Its native name is Rapa Nui. It’s famed for archaeological sites, including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, created by inhabitants during the 13th–16th centuries. The moai are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive stone pedestals called ahus. Ahu Tongariki has the largest group of upright moai. I have often wondered how they were built and why were they put there. This is high on my Bucket List but unfortunately due to adverse weather conditions it sometimes is impossible for tenders to reach here.
Are there any places you think should be in this list?
Or have you been to any of these?