Over 2,000 years ago a list known as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was used throughout the Mediterranean as a tourist guidebook of the top places to visit, highlighting:

 
  1. The Colossus of Rhodes
  2. Great Pyramid of Giza
  3. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  4. Lighthouse of Alexandria
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  6. Statue of Zeus, Olympia
  7. Temple of Artemis, Ephesus


The list has been accredited to many different Greek and Byzantium writers and it was first called a ‘themata’ the Greek for ‘things to be seen’ or ‘must sees’. Many credit Philo of Byzantium with a work called ‘On the Seven Wonders’ supposedly written in 225BC. From this list, the only surviving wonder is the Great Pyramid of Giza which still stands in the Giza pyramid complex in Egypt having been built between 2580-2560BC making it over 4,500 years old and it takes a place on the 7 Wonders of the Modern World list as an honorary wonder. 

 

In 2000 the New7Wonders Foundation took it upon themselves to open a worldwide vote to try and find the new modern wonders, with the winners being announced 7 years later in 2007. It is claimed to be the biggest poll ever conducted with over 100 million votes having been registered. Here we show you how you can explore the 7 wonders of the modern world on a world cruise holiday.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

 Chichen Itza copy
 

Located to the west of Cancun and Cozumel, Chichen Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatan peninsula. Perhaps the most well-known structure nowadays is El Castillo, known as the Temple of Kukulkan, which dates between 750 – 1200AD. The temple itself is testament to the deep understanding the Mayan people had for astronomy; the temple has 365 steps, one for each day of the year, and twice a year (in autumn and spring, around the Equinox) when the sun perfectly aligns with the pyramid, a shadow of a snake is cast onto the steps.

 

Originally the site is believed to have been founded by the Mayan settlers who called it Chichen. Around 200 years later the site was invaded by the Itza tribe and they added their tribe name to the site becoming Chichen Itza. The site was eventually abandoned in the 1400s with the arrival of the Spanish invaders and the site was left to the jungle until excavation began in the 1800s.

 

Best cruise:
Christmas and New Year Caribbean and Mexico – Magellan – Sailing Sunday 16 December 2018 from London Tilbury.

Mexico, Caribbean and the Azores – Magellan – Sailing Wednesday 10 April 2019 from Cancun, Mexico. Option to add a pre-cruise stay in magical Mexico which allows you 3/4/7 extra nights to explore.
 

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

 Christ the Redeemer copy
 

Sat high above Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer (known in Portuguese as Cristo Redentor) was completed in 1931 after being entirely funded by the Catholic community of Rio. The statue itself is the largest art-deco style statue in the world, standing 98 feet tall and measuring 92 feet wide between its two outstretched arms. It took over 9 years to complete and the statue which watches peacefully over the residents of Rio is different to the one which was originally approved. The original statue was designed to face the rising sun and was supposed to be carrying a cross and a globe in each hand, however, after the statue took on the nickname ‘Christ with a ball’ the design was altered to become an art deco statue and that is the version we see today.

 

Despite being situated high above the city of Brazil the statue has only been seriously damaged by lightning twice; in 2008 after a severe storm, work had to be undertaken to repair the statue’s eyebrow, head and fingers and although the lightning rods took the main brunt of the hit even they had to be replaced as the voltage had been so high. Again in 2010, the statue received another hit this time directly to one of the outstretched palms which caused the middle finger to chip.


Best cruise:
Grand Circle South America Voyage – Marco Polo – Sailing Sunday 6 January 2019 from Bristol Avonmouth.

 

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China copy
 

Stretching over 13,000 miles across China’s ancient northern border, the Great Wall of China is one of the world’s largest and biggest ancient artefacts. The first construction of the wall began around 220BC, however, it took a series of works to connect existing stretches of wall and fortifications together to protect the newly unified China from the northern states.

 

The Emperor Qin Shi Huang oversaw the start of the work and overall it is estimated that over 400,000 soldiers, workers and convicts died during construction with their bodies being buried within the structure itself. Throughout the subsequent dynasties, the wall was both extended and left to fall into ruin. Each ruling dynasty had different uses for the wall with the Mongol Dynasty, ruled by Genghis Khan, using the wall to protect merchants as they travelled throughout the vast Mongol empire.

 

The wall we recognise today was resurrected in 1474AD, over 1,600 years after its first creation, and through the rule of the Ming dynasty the wall was extended and fortified becoming a recognisable Chinese symbol and at its peak, sections of the wall can experience over 70,000 visitors per day.

Best cruise:
Grand Round the World Cruise – Columbus – Sailing Friday 5 January 2019 from London Tilbury.
Sydney to Hong Kong – Columbus – Sailing Sunday 24 February 2019 from Sydney, Australia.
Sydney to Singapore – Columbus – Sailing Sunday 24 February 2019 from Sydney, Australia.

 

Machu Picchu, Peru

 Machu Picchu copy
 

The remote settlement of Machu Picchu sits high in the Peruvian mountains. Due to its isolated location, when Spanish invaders landed on the shores of Peru, they never found Machu Picchu, so it sat empty for hundreds of years just as the pre-Colombian settlers had left it, before an American was led to the site by locals in 1911.

 

There are many theories as to how and why the site sat empty, from a smallpox outbreak to the need to defend other Incan outposts from the Spanish invaders. One thing historians are certain of, however, is that the Spanish invaders did not find the site.

 

Stretching over five miles, Machu Picchu, once rediscovered, was automatically designated as a city and after having been left relatively untouched for over 500 years the site still has many of its original features. The Incans had no written language so Machu Picchu’s history and origins have been slowly pieced together by historians. It is believed the site came into being around 1450AD at the height of the Incan Empire and was used as a resort for the Incan elite and royalty before being abandoned in around 1550AD.


Best cruise:
Grand Circle South America Voyage – Marco Polo – Sailing Sunday 6 January from Bristol Avonmouth.

 

Petra, Jordan

 Petra copy
 

While you could be forgiven for mistaking this as another lost city, the ancient city of Petra was well-known to the local Bedouin tribes in Jordan centuries before a Swiss explorer stumbled upon it. First built in around 100BC between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra became one of the most important trading sites as the capital of the Nabataean Empire, famous for its trade in frankincense, myrrh and spices.

 

After withstanding invasions from Seleucids and Greeks, eventually the site changed hands from the founding Nabataean tribe to the Romans in 100AD, over the centuries the site became less important for the Roman Empire. In 1000AD the Crusaders used the natural site as a fortress but shortly left and Petra went back into Bedouin use until the Swiss explorer Burckhardt publicised his visit in 1812.


Best cruise:
Grand Round the World Cruise – Columbus – Sailing Friday 5 January 2019 from London Tilbury.
Auckland to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Saturday 17 February 2018 from Auckland, New Zealand.
Sydney to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Saturday 24 February 2018 from Sydney, Australia.
Hong Kong to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Wednesday 21 March 2018 from Hong Kong.
Singapore to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Saturday 31 March 2018 from Singapore.
Dubai to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Saturday 14 April 2018 from Dubai, UAE.

 

The Colosseum, Italy

 The Colosseum
 

Quite arguably one of the most famous pieces of architecture on earth and one of the most documented, the Colosseum in Rome welcomes over 4 million visitors every year. Originally commissioned in 72AD by Emperor Vespasian it was completed 8 years later in 80AD, with 80 identical arched entrances giving access to 55,000 guests. This site itself became famous for its gladiatorial and animal fights, with thousands of animals, slaves and criminals meeting their end in the famous arena.

 

The Colusseum was eventually abandoned in 400AD with the collapse of the Roman Empire and over the centuries it experienced many uses from a fortress to the city’s rubbish dump. The site we recognise today was brought back to life firstly through various Popes who tried to find a use for the abandoned arena; every idea from a wool factory to completely removing it was debated. From 1807 to 1930 various works were undertaken to safely restore the remaining sections, and in 2011 the shoemakers Tod’s agreed to sponsor the first full renovation of the Colosseum in over 2000 years at a cost of €25million.

Best cruise:
Mediterranean Odyssey – Magellan – Sailing Saturday 22 September 2018 from Bristol Avonmouth or Friday 21 September from Cobh.

 

Taj Mahal, India

 Taj Mahal copy
 

Perhaps India’s greatest love story, the Taj Mahal is an everlasting structure of dedication from King Shah Jahan to his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, whom the structure is named after. The story goes that Shah Jahan was walking through Agra when he came across a beautiful young woman who he took to be his third wife, they married in 1612 and she soon became his favourite queen. After giving birth to their fourteenth child, Mumtaz Mahal became very ill and on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised her he would build her a mausoleum unlike any other on earth. And so began twenty years of construction with over 20,000 labourers before Mumtaz Mahal’s body was finally laid to rest in 1652. This ultimate show of love the Taj Mahal with its shining white marble has stood in Agra for over 380 years receiving over 4 million tourists per year (47,000 per day).


Best cruise:
Grand Round the World Cruise – Columbus – Sailing Friday 5 January 2019 from London Tilbury.
Hong Kong to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Wednesday 21 March 2018 from Hong Kong.
Singapore to London Tilbury – Columbus – Sailing Saturday 31 March 2018 from Singapore.