Tilbury’s position on the east coast of England and its proximity to London makes it a great location from which to embark on a cruise. This is made possible by the town’s deep-water port, which also handles a considerable number of container ships. Located in the Essex borough of Thurrock, Tilbury has a long history as a defensive town - which is epitomised by its 16th century fort.
Regarded as the Venice of the north, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam is made up of a series of 90 islands, which are connected by almost 1,200 bridges. Today, Amsterdam is a city of contrasts, with many people being attracted to this vibrant destination for its range of bars and night clubs. On the other hand, Amsterdam is home many renowned architectural structures, insightful museums and beautiful gardens.
The Royal Palace was originally built in the 17th century to serve as a town hall, but is now one of three palaces in the Netherlands to be under disposal of the monarchy. In the springtime, be sure to visit the Keukenhof Gardens, where seven million flower bulbs create a beautiful display of bold and bright colours.
Built on seven hills, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon shares a similar status to the Italian city of Rome and the Turkish city of Istanbul. This vibrant and cultural city has much to offer to the discerning visitor, with many beautiful gardens, stunning architectural wonders, and cultural relics such as the traditional trams which have operated in Lisbon since the 1930’s. Head to Cine Theatro Gymnasium if you get the chance, as this is where you will be able to experience a daily performance of Fado – a distinctive Portuguese style of music that has gained UNESCO World Heritage status.
Funchal is the capital city of the Portuguese island of Madeira, situated just north of the Canary Islands. This lush green island is a natural paradise and provides a peaceful and tranquil environment for anyone looking for a real sense of escape. Funchal does not disappoint in this respect, with many wonderful gardens to explore, as well as a number of beautifully ornate cathedrals and palaces.
Cartagena was the location of the first Spanish colony in South America and is also the location of one of the first sanctuaries of freed African slaves across the Americas. Brightly coloured houses dominate the old town, which is surrounded by a city wall. Here, you will be able to discover a number of landmarks including the Clock Tower building and a number of 500 year-old coral stone forts.
Cristóbal is a port town in the Colón district of Panama. The port of Cristóbal is one of the oldest still operating in Panama and is the perfect stop when experiencing the Panama Canal. As with all of Panama, Cristóbal is characterised by a rugged landscape of mountains, upland plains and varied coastlines. The city of Cristobal is not only rich in history but is also endowed with pristine beaches and exotic plants and bird life.
Providing an easily-navigable route between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, the Panama Canal is one of the most impressive man-made structures in history. Having first opened in 1914, it was significant for removing the need to traverse the dreaded Drake Passage in order to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa. It took 33 years to complete the project and it remains, to this day, one of the greatest engineering feats in history.
Situated within the islands of French Polynesia, Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands. This huge island is home to many wonderful natural features including towering cliffs, deep bays, waterfalls, beaches, valleys and much more. This island was one of the first to be visited on Robinson Louis Stevenson’s voyage on board Casco.
The Tahitian city and capital of Papeete emits a fine blend of French and Polynesian charm. There are many historical elements to the city including Louis Antoine de Bougainville (the first French explorer to complete a circumnavigation of the globe), the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Papeete, and the Presidential Palace. With average temperatures rarely dropping below 25C, you can simply soak up the sun and watch the world go by at a more relaxing pace.
Situated just a few miles off the northwest coast of Tahiti is the island of Moorea, which offers less of a tourist atmosphere than its larger neighbour. Much of the island is rural and this presents a number of opportunities including a plethora of hiking and cycling opportunities. There are many beaches upon which to relax on the island and, due to the island being less affected by tourism, it is easy to find a sense of peace and tranquillity.
Often regarded as the closest thing to ‘paradise on earth’, Bora Bora’s calm beaches filled with white-powder beaches, crystal-clear waters and lush green palms are truly magnificent. Its remote location in the South Pacific Ocean – as part of the French Polynesia archipelago – provides a tropical climate, with temperatures rarely dipping below 25C. Seeing is believing, and a visit to this sumptuous island will truly take your breath away.
Although it may be invisible, the International Date Line holds considerable significance for marking the point where the date changes by one day. Situated 180 degrees east or west from the Greenwich meridian, the line extends to the east of New Zealand, through Polynesia and between Russia and Alaska. The name may suggest it is a line, but it has been altered accordingly to ensure no nation is divided in two. Crossing the line in an eastward direction will take you back in time by one day, whereas, if you are travelling in a westward direction, you will add one day to the previous date.
Auckland is home to the largest metropolitan area in New Zealand, with a population of 1.45 million people – one third of the country’s entire population. With a wide range of museums, shopping districts, restaurants and natural features, Auckland is a rewarding delight for all visitors. Whale watching, strolling along the beach, exploring volcanic cones, and sky jumping are just some of the amazing opportunities this city presents, making a visit to Auckland one that you will never forget.
The New Zealand city of Tauranga is situated on the eastern coast of the Bay of Plenty, within the country’s north island. This beautiful beach city is home to the small mountain of Mauao, which offers great views of Mount Maunganui and Tauranga from the top. Alternatively, you can walk the path that circles the base of this volcanic cone and soak in your surroundings.
Situated in the vicinity of the North Island of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is home to an area renowned for fishing and sailing. Each of the main towns offer a beautiful array of beaches, each of which offer the chance for a spot of relaxation, while other extreme opportunities such as sky diving and parasailing are also available. The Bay of Islands is also home to Waitangi, which is where the Maori and Europeans signed the Treaty of Waitangi, in 1840.
Often mistaken for the Australian capital, Sydney is the largest, oldest and, arguably, most cosmopolitan city in Australia. With an eclectic mix of historical, natural, cultural, artistic, and culinary components, this beautiful city is the vibrant centre of fun and prosperity. Despite being a large sprawling city, its centre is relatively compact and is where you will find many iconic landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are also many zoos and wildlife sanctuaries located across the city, with the Koala Park Sanctuary and the Australian Reptile Park being of particular interest. You may also be glad to know that Sydney enjoys, on average, 300 sunny days per year – and the perfect venue to fully appreciate this is, undoubtedly, Bondi Beach, which is situated in the Eastern Suburbs.
Situated in Queensland, Australia, Yorkeys Knob is a beach suburb of Cairns and is renowned for its range of facilities, restaurants and visitor information centre. From here, it is possible to partake in activities including fishing and rafting, or travel to the nearby Cairns Tropical Zoo and Hartleys Crocodile Farm.
Darwin is a small Australian city situated on the northern tip of the Northern Territory. Although it may be small in size, it is renowned for being a cosmopolitan destination and for its relaxed lifestyle. This city is home to a multitude of natural, historical and cultural landmarks. There is also the chance to see crocodiles in their natural habitat during a cruise along the Adelaide River.
Situated on the island of Borneo, in the region of Sabah, is the Malaysian port of Sandakan. Many people from around the world visit the nearby Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, which provides a home to many orang utans which have been rescued from plantations. This is widely considered to be the best place on earth to view these beautiful mammals before they are released into the jungle. Adjacent to the orang utan centre, there is also the world’s only Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
Manila is the capital of the Philippines and is one of the most rapidly developing cities in Far East Asia. Amidst the increasing number of towering skyscrapers that make up this city, visitors can also find an array of architecture that dates back to the Spanish colonial period. Examples of this include Bonifacio Shrine, the old walled Spanish settlement of Intramuros, and the University of the Santo Tomas – the oldest educational institution in the Far East.
Keelung is a port city located close to the Taiwanese capital of Taipei. This huge city is home to a number of historical landmarks including a number of forts which were built during the Qing Dynasty and a French cemetery. The Dianji Temple is also an iconic landmark, but many visitors come to Taiwan to catch a glimpse of the events that take place around the landmark. This is the Miaokou Night Market – a vibrant hive of activity filled with bright colours and fabulous food.
The largest and most cosmopolitan city in China, Shanghai, sits majestically at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Shanghai’s location made her a gateway for seaborne trade with China, and the city thrived as a port trading in silk, tea and opium. The city today combines it’s ancient past with a distinctly modern and western flavour, due to its many wars occupations and foreign trade links. Sites of interest in Shanghai are diverse and plentiful and include the Yu Yuan Gardens, an exquisite and harmonious ensemble of ponds, pavilions and ancient trees and the Shanghai Museum. Chinas premier museum, the collection here includes, 7,000 year old pottery and life sized terra cotta figures from the third century BC.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, which has developed into a bustling metropolis and an important trading hub in Eastern Asia. Having been part of the British colony from 1945-97, an element of British culture remains apparent within the area. Today, this bustling metropolis is home to a multitude of cultural landmarks and features including many fascinating museums and divine restaurants. Hong Kong is also home to many traditional heritage landmarks including many beautiful temples, but one of the best ways to soak it all in is from Victoria Peak, where you will be provided with mesmerising panoramic views.
The Vietnam port of Chan May provides a point of access to two historically significant cities including Da Nang and Hue. Da Nang was a significant strategic base for America throughout the Vietnam war, while the World Heritage Site of Hue is known for its Imperial Citadel and the peaceful Thein My Pagoda. The coast that lines all three of these locations offers superb white-sand beaches.
Following the fall of Saigon, the Vietnamese former capital was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975. There are many landmarks and museums in the city which provide insight into the history of Vietnam including the Reunification Palace, which features a replica of the tank which ended conflict in 1975. Today, however, Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis, home to an array of landmarks and a vibrant culture. There are many authentic goods including striking silk-woven products to purchase, and several street markets selling delicious and authentic cuisine.
The Thai island of Ko Samui is situated 80 km off the eastern coast of southern Thailand and is highly regarded for its stunning natural beauty. It is full of gorgeous beaches – two of the most popular of which include Chaweng and Lamai. Many of the islands in southern Thailand are surrounded by crystal-clear waters and exotic coral – making Ko Samui also ideal for snorkelling and diving.
Thailand’s capital city offers an intriguing blend of fascinating cultural temples and a bustling cosmopolitan scene. Bangkok is a huge city, although many of the sights can be found on the island of Rattanakosin, which is often referred to as the as “The Old City” and is home to three of Thailand’s most impressive landmarks: the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. The city streets of the Thai capital are dominated by tuk-tuks, which can offer one of the most authentic ways to see everything Bangkok has to offer. Throughout the city, your senses will lead you on a fascinating journey of street food, with a wide range of delicacies to enjoy that you won’t find anywhere else.
Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, Singapore has developed into a bustling metropolis with Chinese, Malay and Indian influences. Walking between the rows and rows of towering skyscrapers, you will discover a world of exotic culture, with fantastic food, large shopping complexes and the famous Singapore Sling cocktail. If, however, you find yourself seeking an opportunity to escape this busy metropolis, you will be glad to know that Singapore is also home to a wonderful collection of colourful and peaceful gardens.