We all have a dream cruise in mind, that ultimate voyage we'd like to take before sailing off on the big cruise ship in the sky.
For some, it's a cruise to the pagodas of the Far East or the translucent waters of the South Pacific. For others, penguins and giant tortoises are the draw, and their "bucket list" includes a rugged expedition to Antarctica or the Galapagos. Some want it all, and nothing less than a world cruise will suffice. And there are those who say it's about the company they keep, and that the perfect last cruise would be a whatever-length sailing to someplace sunny -- just as long as it's with family and friends.
We posed this question to Cruise Critic readers on the message boards and Facebook: Ignoring real world constraints like money or vacation time, what's the number one cruise on your bucket list?
Here's what you had to say:
Hypothetical World Cruisers
By far, the largest number of respondents had global aspirations. Reader WeBeGone writes, "I'd charter a Crystal or [Regent] Seven Seas ship, and take my friends and family around the world, stopping at EVERY port that accepts cruise ships. This cruise would probably take more than 300 days I'm guessing."
Andrew Bowden was even more specific with his world cruise wish. "For the 'bucket list,' we would love to do a world cruise and be able to take our three championship Scottish Terriers along with us. We would like for John Maxtone Graham to give a lecture each day on 'Crossings' and to hear 'Pepe' play wonderful Spanish music at night...."
The Other Side of the World
Second to the world cruise was a voyage to the other side of the world, namely Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Dartmoordan daydreamed, "For me it would be a long one to Asia, Australia, New Zealand round the Pacific to Hawaii. I'd travel on a luxury line with a balcony cabin and around 500 passengers spending two days in each port. I can dream can't I?"
Sparky-elpaso adds, "A circumnavigation of Australia with a land tour of the interior -- and throw in New Zealand too. And make it roundtrip from San Diego with stops in the South Seas and Hawaii."
Deja Cruise ... Nostalgic Sailings
Several readers noted that they'd already been on their dream cruise, so a bucket cruise would be a repeat sailing. "Just the one endless dream.....to go on the Hebridean Princess round the Scottish islands," posted member Jocap on the message boards. "First travelled on her when she was the ferry Columba, sailing between Oban and Isle of Mull. You could take short holidays onboard this is back in the '60s- and with my first salary, I was able to take my mum for her "bucket cruise." Now her prices are out of my reach, and if I booked, it would probably be like this year, when once again the Queen has taken the whole ship.....and I'd be left curtsying on the dock."
"For me it would be a repeat of the QM2 cruise that we took two years ago," adds Josie McAughey Brown. "Out of N.Y., all through the Mediterranean and return to New York. As far as I'm concerned we've had our dream cruise as nothing else we do can even come close to a month in the Med. on the QM2 . For us it was heaven."
A impressive number of readers had visits to the icebergs and Darwin's finches on the wish list. SailortoCruiser wrote, "My bucket cruise consists of one place: Antarctica. It's the only continent I haven't walked on." Fungusgnat, a Galapagos cruise veteran, adds some words of encouragement to those who hadn't yet been to the Ecuadorian islands. "It IS an incredible place," she writes, "Certainly not a touristy tropical paradise, however. The abundance of animals that have no fear of humans is just startling. Having cactus growing out of cracks in the rocks is surreal. I hope you can do it someday."
Company Trumps All
While ports and cruise line were paramount to some, cruising with loved ones was important to others. Kelly Thymian writes on Facebook, "I'd love to take a cruise with all of my friends and family. I would want to fill an entire ship full of people I know and love most. I wouldn't care where it went (preferably someplace warm and sunny!) or for how long (at least a few weeks!). Living in a fantasy world, getting away from all the stress and hassles of everyday life, with all of my friends and family would be AMAZING!"
To read more bucket cruises -- or share your own -- join the conversation on the message boards!