Why You Should Cruise to UNESCO World Heritage Sites

At its core, the true spirit of travel lies in the exploration of new frontiers and the discovery of exciting new destinations. From visiting the ruins of an ancient civilization to trekking the depths of a wild, tropical jungle, planet Earth offers a near-infinite amount of opportunities to inject a sense of curiosity and adventure into your vacation. But with an unlimited number of destinations to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which spots to visit and which ones to skip. In this blog, I will share why visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites can turn an ordinary vacation into a rewarding cultural experience. 

What Are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

Photo by Oleh Aleinyk on Unsplash

In 1972, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held a General Conference to establish a list of internationally protected heritage sites deemed historically and culturally significant to our understanding of human civilization. The goal behind establishing such a list is to preserve destinations worldwide so that future generations can continue learning from them. According to the UNESCO website, world heritage “is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”

As of 2023, there are currently 1,157 protected heritage sites around the world, with destinations such as the ancient city of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef making the list. The benefit of such diverse sites is that there is something to pique everybody’s interest. From exploring ancient ruins to traversing tropical jungles, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites is guaranteed to spark the adventurous spirit in anyone.

Another benefit of visiting these locations is the surreal connection in these protected spaces. Imagine for a moment walking in the shadows of the Great Pyramids of Egypt , knowing that historical figures such as Cleopatra and Julius Caesar once marveled at the same ancient constructions. Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites truly connects you to the common thread of humanity that binds us all together, and that feeling is priceless.

Cruising To UNESCO Sites

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Now imagine finding that priceless feeling during your cruise vacation. Cruises truly are the perfect vehicle by which to visit these extraordinary destinations. According to the most recent data published by UNESCO, the countries with the most protected World Heritage Sites are as follows: Italy, China, Germany, France, Spain, India, and Mexico. And luckily for cruisers, there are already plenty of cruise itineraries that journey through these regions of the world. Following is a short list of options for cruise vacations docking in these culturally rich destinations. 

  • Mediterranean Cruise: Barcelona – Athens
    • This 11-night itinerary Royal Caribbean offers will take you through one of the most culturally rich regions of the world. From visiting the Old City of Salamanca in Spain, the Palace of Versailles in France, and the archaeological areas of Pompeii in Italy, this cruise is filled with UNESCO World Heritage Sites to discover.
  • India Cruise: India, Sri Lanka, & Thailand
    • Taking the “Spice Route” with Celebrity Cruises will allow you to traverse the wonders of Southeast Asia on an unforgettable 12-night journey. From the Taj Mahal to the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area, this itinerary boasts the best of India and beyond.
  • China Cruise: Shanghai – Hong Kong
    • This five-night cruise from Royal Caribbean will grant you the privilege of discovering the best destinations East Asia offers. China is home to many UNESCO sites, the most famous being the Great Wall. Booking this cruise vacation will guarantee an unforgettable exploration of this magnificent culture.

Photo by Ahmad Qaisieh on Unsplash

Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites allows you to explore the rich and vast history of human civilization, expanding your horizons and discovering new and unique ideas and perspectives. By using your cruise vacation to explore these heritage sights, you are ensuring that your trip is filled with excitement and wonder, and, after all, that’s what traveling is all about.

By Tyler Jeremiah