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The weirdest places you can visit on a cruise

Explore the world’s weirdest cruise locations

Bamboo forest in Kyoto

Posted on

22 Oct 2019

A cruise around the world is the perfect way to explore iconic locations and hidden gems that are otherwise left untouched. A cruise is the ultimate way to see the very best sights the world has to offer, taking you to new lands you once never knew existed.

From hidden forests to the depths of the oceans, there are hundreds of weird and wonderful locations that are still waiting to be explored and we are about to uncover the very best.

Blue Lagoon


Blue Lagoon, Iceland


Situated in Iceland, the geothermal spa, also known as Blue Lagoon, is located in a lava field near Grindavík, a location known for its geothermal power. Travellers flock to the waters for its known healing and rejuvenation properties, the milky blue water is rich in silica and the soft white mud at the bottom of the lake is the perfect face and body mask for those looking to reap the benefits of super soft skin.

Although it’s a worldly popular location, it’s still relatively mysterious. We spoke to Becky The Traveller who has visited Blue Lagoon on a previous trip to Iceland, she told us why she thinks more people should visit the blue waters:

“The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a spectacular place to visit, bathing outside in the turquoise waters whilst treating yourself to a traditional face mask to complete the experience is wonderful. The Blue Lagoon is a lot bigger than it looks in photos and during quieter times there are places you can find a spot to float around and relax.”

The geothermal spa is the perfect temperature for bathing, getting up to 39˚c on average, powered by the lava which turns large turbines in order to heat the bubbling water. Also rich in salt and algae, the waters have significant exfoliating properties which are said to cure skin ailments of all kind.

“Two thousand meters within the earth, ocean water and fresh water converge in a tectonic realm of searing heat and extreme pressure, creating geothermal seawater. Drawn to the surface through geothermal extraction wells, the water emerges enriched with silica, algae, and minerals—the bioactive elements that endow this unique fluid with its healing, rejuvenating, nourishing abilities.” Blue Lagoon report on their website.

The Great Blue Hole


The great hole, Belize


Not your average cruise location, The Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize is a phenomenon like no other. Said to have been created over 153,000 years ago, the giant marine sinkhole is circular in shape and spans 318 meters and 124 meters in diameter.

Arianwen who blogs about her travels over on Beyond Blighty loves visiting Belize and snorkelling near the Great Blue Hole.

“I visited the Great Blue Hole in Belize back in 2014. My time in Central America was originally intended as a way to break up my journey home to the UK after a year in Sydney. I ended up staying four months! My week based on Caye Caulker was one of the best travel experiences of my life. It's a stunning island with friendly locals and a wonderfully relaxed Caribbean vibe. As a scuba diver, I'd dreamt of descending into the depths of the Blue Hole for years. It's an unforgettable experience knowing you're in such a unique location. We swam behind columns of rock and saw sharks approaching from the darkness below. We also visited a serene island with an abundance of coconuts and crabs and dived on shallow tropical reefs with eagle rays.”

The Great Blue Hole is renowned as a snorkeler’s paradise with crystal clear waters and an abundance of fish, shark and turtle species calling it their home.

“People should plan a visit to the Great Blue Hole because it's a natural wonder, but also because the surrounding area is so rich in incredible marine life. On a separate snorkelling trip (and quite possibly the best day of my life!), I saw turtles, sharks and courting manatees. We practised shooting spearguns (though not at any protected species) and drank the local rum on deck at sunset while listening to reggae. The coral reef extending down the east coast of Central America is the second biggest after the Great Barrier Reef. Its teaming wildlife, combined with pristine sandy beaches and slow pace of life, make it the perfect destination for an unbeatable holiday.”

We continued to ask Arianwen about her love for travelling and why she thinks people should try to explore as many new and exciting locations as possible:

“For me, travel is all about variety. It's the best opportunity you have to broaden your horizons by immersing yourself in different cultures, interacting with the locals, exploring new landscapes and having first-hand encounters with wildlife you've only ever glimpsed on nature documentaries. If you're planning to join a cruise, I'd definitely recommend one that docks near-unique locations like the Great Blue Hole. Cruising is the perfect way to travel this coastline, with its innumerable historical and natural attractions.”

Pink Sands Beach


Pink sands beach, Bahamas


Located on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Pink Sands Beach is a pastel lovers paradise. Located on the east coast of the island it is one of the most notable beaches in the Atlantic, sitting pretty in contrast with the crystal-clear blue waters.

The surrounding areas are known for being home to millions of microscopic creatures, also known as Foraminifera, who are the shells behind the wonderful pink sands that make the beach so famous. The pink bodies of the Foraminifera are bright pink and red, as they leave them behind, the sands of the beach turn a baby pink hue.

“Harbour Island, a magical island known by the locals as “Briland,” is alive with colour, passion fruit sangria, and soft, flour-like pink sand beaches surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters. It is both incredibly remote and unique due to its small size, how difficult it is to get to, hopping nightlife and unbeatable aquatic life.” We Are Travel Girls report on their blog.

Confluence Of Rhone And Arve Rivers


Confluence of Rhone


The Confluence of The Rhone and Arve Rivers is a magical sight, which looks relatively unrealistic to the naked eye. The meet takes place in Geneva, Switzerland where the Rhone River and the Arve River collide creating a standoff of waters.

The Rhone river is one of the major rivers in Europe running through Switzerland and France before it reaches Geneva. The waters of the Rhone are deep blue and are commonly crystal clear, a juxtaposition in comparison to the Arve, which due to its high slit levels is a murky, brown colour.

Hannah the blogger behind That Adventurer Blog has visited Geneva and loves seeing the confluence in real life: “The confluence of these two rivers is magical because of the colours they make as they swirl together and combine. Spring to early autumn is the best time to see the confluence of the Rhone and Arve. The Rhone River is turquoise in colour and comes from Lake Geneva while the Arve River has more muddy grey tones. The way they mix is like watching an artist with his palette.

“Besides the fact that it's a great site to see these two large rivers come together, this spot is also quieter than many areas around Lake Geneva which makes it perfect for grabbing a drink and hanging out with the locals. Visiting somewhere you hadn't heard of before always tends to result in the strongest memories. Plus, you can impress friends and family back home with your pictures and stories of incredible places they didn't know about!”

Sagano Bamboo Forest


Bamboo forest, Kyoto


Situated on the outskirts of Kyoto in Japan The Sagano Bamboo Forest is a towering green jungle of tall bamboo that gently sways as the wind travels through the leaves. The towering green stalks creek in the wind as they collide with the rustling leaves at the top of the shoots. A walk through the forest is dark as beams of light creep through the gaps, but a wander around the paths listening to the plethora of noises above your heads is an experience like no other.

Josh and Pat from Chasing Places told us about their visit to the awe-inspiring bamboo forest: “We visited Sagano Bamboo Forest in December, during winter. Although it was cold, it’s a great time to visit the Bamboo Forest because there were fewer visitors. Exploring the Sagano Bamboo Forest involves a leisurely stroll along a path. The path itself is not too long; it only took us about 15 - 20 minutes to complete the walk. The towering bamboo trees in hundreds stand magnificently under the natural light that highlights their intense green colour. They make a gorgeous backdrop for photos and an enchanting subject for artists. 

“Kyoto City is full of markets, restaurants and shops. There’s plenty to do there, and that’s why many tourists tend to stay within its confines. But this is exactly why the Sagano Bamboo Forest stands out as a unique attraction. Located outside of Kyoto, in the more suburban and serene district of Arashiyama, the Bamboo Grove is a refreshing change to the busy urban environment. The bamboo forest lies within a lush complex surrounded by gardens, parks, and hiking trails. Tourists come in and leave the main path throughout the day, but if you take the time to explore the area, you will find beautiful and tranquil spots. And this is what visiting Sagano Bamboo Forest is really all about - revelling in the simple pleasures that only nature can offer.”

Maria from Nerd Nomads also loves the peacefulness of the forest: “The Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto is one of the most stunning and unique sights in Japan. From the moment you step into the forest, the atmosphere feels magical, like taken out of the fairytale Alice In Wonderland! Stand still, close your eyes and listen to the wind rustle through the bamboo leaves, making the trunks creak eerily as they collide and twist. This distinct rustling sound of the bamboo is even on the Japanese Ministry of Environment’s list of “100 Soundscapes Of Japan”. Open your eyes and look up towards the sky. The long thin bamboo stalks continue endlessly. The light is breathtaking! The sunbeams fight to peer through the leaves, making the trees glow with bright green and yellow hues. Visiting different and quirky locations like the Sagano Bamboo Forest when on a cruise, adds uniqueness to your holiday, long-lasting memories, and cool holiday photos. Sagano Bamboo Forest is a must-visit when you are on a cruise in Japan.”

Sea of Stars


Sea of stars, Maldives


“If you haven’t seen it yet, the internet has been dropping its jaws open with images of the surreal beach in Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives. This phenomenon has been called the “Sea of Stars” due to its glowing blue waves. It’s definitely a fantasy-like experience but before you roll over in search for that specific beach in Vaadhoo to see the so-called Sea of Stars, better know more about the beautiful little creatures that cause this unbelievable glowing effect.” When On Earth reports.

A phenomenon that only happens during the summer months, the Sea of Stars in the Maldives is caused by Bioluminescent Plankton as the movement of the waves allows them to glow, creating a shimmery, glistening star-like effect on the beach, really a once in a lifetime sight.

Whether you’re planning a world cruise or have been looking at Scenic River Cruises, these locations should be at the top of your ‘must visit’ bucket list locations. Find out more about our cruises to locations across the globe and book your next thrill-seeking cruise adventure.

The weirdest places you can cruise to:

  • Blue Lagoon, Iceland
  • The Great Blue Hole, Belize
  • Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas
  • Confluence of the Rhone and Arve Rivers, Geneva
  • Sagano Bamboo Forest, Kyoto
  • Sea of Stars, Maldives
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