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Theme Cruises - Special Interest Cruising
By Sharon
Pushed April 9, 2018
Theme Cruises - Special Interest Cruising
Theme Cruises - Special Interest Cruising

If you are planning to take a cruise vacation, this is one article that you might want to read right away! You've doubtlessly heard of cruises before, but you might not have heard about theme cruise vacations. 

Most passengers don’t even know they exist, but themed cruises are as big a part of cruising as working on a tan or sipping an umbrella drink. What is a theme cruise? Put simply, it’s a special sailing that caters to a specific group of like-minded people.

Some people may have heard about themed cruise ships, but many of them may not be aware of what they are exactly. Knowing about themed cruises may help cruisers design a vacation experience that will most likely delight them. Themed cruise vacations that focus on a specific customer, a specific theme like a type of music or a skill like gourmet cooking or painting. Essentially theme cruises allow passengers with similar tastes to enjoy a relatively all-inclusive vacation that tailors specifically to their interests.

A theme cruise is something a cruise line puts together on board one of its ships, an event or series of linked events that often go on for the whole week (or however long the cruise is). All the passengers are encouraged to participate.

Themed cruises first came about when ships spent long days at sea for ocean crossings and didn't stop at all the ports of call they frequently do today. Also, there weren't quite so many passengers on board and cruises were less mainstream than today; these days, it can be tough to find something with broad enough appeal that 1up to 6,000 passengers or more people will book for a special themed cruise, so they have tapered off in popularity.

Carnival Cruise line Full-Ship Theme Cruise Aventura Dance Cruise – L.A. Carnival Imagination October 11 – 14, 2018. From Los Angeles to Mexico! Full Ship Just For Latin dance lovers! It’s the WORLD’S LARGEST LATIN DANCE CRUISE! 72 hours of non-stop dancing. World class dance performances. Dance workshops best Latin DJ’s, full band, live concerts  for more information  visit http://carnivalcruisecharters.com

 Grand Prix & Cannes Voyage

The scoop: Some of us are content to watch NASCAR and the Oscars at home. This themed cruise — overnighting first at the Cannes Film Festival, and then at the Monaco Grand Prix — is more for those who would rather experience the action in person. Florence and Barcelona round out the culture-packed itinerary. Dates: May 21-29, 2018 Ship: Azamara Journey Port of Departure: Rome, Italy Itinerary: Livorno, Italy; Cannes, Ajaccio, France; Monte-Carlo, Monaco; Barcelona, Spain  visit website at www.azamaraclubcruises.com

2018 Hawaiian Running Cruise

The scoop: If you’re going to run on vacation, you might as well do it with a view of Hawaii. Explore the Hawaiian Islands by running (walking is okay too) a 5K or a half marathon in Maui, and a 5K or 10K in Kona on the Big Island. For a change of pace, explore trails in Kauai or hike to the Kilauea Iki crater in Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sailing dates: September 15-22, 2018 Ship: Norwegian Pride of America Port of Departure: Honolulu, HI, Itinerary: Maui; Hilo, Kona, Big Islands; Kauai Website: runningcruise.com

Theme-Inspired Cruises

Cruise lines commonly advertise themed sailings, but these tend to be regular sailings with some extra special-interest activities or guest speakers added to the usual programming. On these sailings, you might have a regionally inspired wine tasting or guest musical performer onboard. Paul Gauguin Cruises, for instance, features appearances by oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau throughout the year. On these select sailings, Cousteau offers lectures and accompanies dives from the ship. Un-Cruise Adventures also welcomes special guests onboard its ships; they range from photographers to local brewers.

Regent Seven Seas' annual Chocolate Cruise and Holland America's jazz festival. Since these sorts of events have a broad appeal, they do well as themed cruises, where just about everyone on board is interested in partaking in the activities.

If you have a special interest there is more than likely a theme cruise that features it. Below is a guide to theme cruises:

Jacques Pepin Cruise from  Barcelona to Lisbon  8 day cruise departs on September 6, 2018, https://www.oceaniacruises.com/experience/enrichment/jacques-pepin-cruise/Jul 17    

Silversea / Silver Wind offering Culinary Voyages  https://www.silversea.com/other-resources/press-releases/2017/december/silversea-announces-culinary-and-wine--enriched-voyages--for-201.html

May 26 Paul Gauguin Cruises you can meet with Giuliano Hazan - Italian Cooking Teacher & Cookbook Author  https://www.pgcruises.com/ms-paul-gauguin/guest-hosts/40965

12 Night Baltic & Russia Voyage with Azamara Azamara $2,499.00. Baltic and World Cup Voyage cruise itinerary map, England to Sweden with stops in Denmark. Embark ... (London), United Kingdom. 12 Night Baltic & Russia cruise for more information https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/voyage/.../12-night-baltic-russia-voyage

MSC  Cirque du Soleil theme Cruises beginning in 2017 MSC Cruises is teaming up with Cirque du Soleil to offer a unique onboard experience. Through this partnership, Cirque du Soleil will create 8 different shows exclusively for MSC Cruises. The shows will be presented aboard MSC Cruises next-generation Meraviglia ships in a multi-million euro, ground-breaking entertainment and dining venue, the Carousel Lounge. This entertainment experience will take place in the purpose-built 10,700 sq.ft. Carousel lounge, where guests will be able to enjoy dinner or cocktails as well as watch Cirque du Soleil Sea performances. This long-term partnership will be extended to MSC Meraviglia’s three sister ships, which will be launched in March & September 2019 and March 2020.

 Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau to Join Crystal 2018 Sailings. He is scheduled to join Crystal Serenity’s March 12 Far East Vistas sailing from Manila to Singapore; the Crystal Symphony’s November 8 Amazon Discovery round-trip from Fort Lauderdale and finally the Esprit’s December 9 West Indies Yachting Explorer trip, which journeys round-trip from Marigot, St. Martin into the deep Caribbean. For more information visit  http://www.crystalcruises.com/cruises/cruise-guidebook/shipboard-life/theme-cruises

 Cunard offers Big Band Ball cruises in 2018 and 2019. Each of the three Queens will look forward to playing host to their own Big Band Balls for dance and music lovers around the world to enjoy. Cunard’s biggest orchestras of the year will delight guests in the magnificent Queens Room ballroom with music from Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. For more information visit cruise line site at http://www.cunard.com/cruise-types/event-cruises/

Holland America Cruise Line has partnered with BBC Earth to bring you unforgettable new ways to experience the world’s natural wonders. Through the innovative and breath-taking programming, guests will be taken closer to the ocean and natural world through a groundbreaking concert, films, game shows, trivia, children's activities and feature cruises. For more information visit the line https://www.hollandamerica.com/pageByName/Resp.action?requestPage=BBC_Earth&showHeader=true&showFooter=true%20series

Royal Caribbean and DreamWorks Animation have teamed up to bring you an unforgettable experience with your favorite characters from Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda® and How To Train Your Dragon. Enjoy character parades and photo opportunities, character meals, 3-D movies in the ship's onboard theater and a dedicated DreamWorks channel in each stateroom.

Also featured is the How to Train Your DragonTM Ice Show, with fire-breathing dragons sure to capture the whole family's imagination, and The MadagascarTM Aqua Show, "Let you entertain me," where characters mix and mingle with high divers, swimmers, acrobats and more. Plus, DreamWorks Animation's latest release, How to Train Your Dragon 2, is now playing onboard!

Your kids will get the chance to play with their favorite DreamWorks Animation® characters at Adventure Ocean. Royal Caribbean's award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program is already filled to the brim with exciting activities - just imagine how great it will be with characters like Alex, Dragon, Shrek, Po, and others making surprise appearances. The laughs will be unlimited as your kids interact with the characters during story time and dance parties.

Celebrate Oprah’s Year of Adventure with Holland America Line Sailing dates include: 7 days Alaska Roundtrip Seattle July 15, 2017 (Oprah will be on this cruise for 2 days!) for more information visit  https://www.hollandamerica.com/OprahMag

To celebrate Oprah’s Year of Adventure, Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine have partnered on an exciting initiative to pair the life-changing, eye-opening wonder of travel with the soulful, inspiring content found in every issue of the magazine. Unifying our shared vision, the O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life Cruises invites guests to open their minds, change their perspectives, and uncover the potential we all possess.

Sail onboard Royal Clipper while it stops in ports of call from Cannes to Rome in the Western Mediterranean. Get to know Paige Wellborn, a Yoga practitioner. Paige wants to balance and restore your body and mind with yoga while at sea with the peaceful blue seas as your setting. Her holistic approach is designed to ripple out to improve every aspect of your life - from work to relationships and fulfillment in life.  Take her yoga classes and be transformed! For more information visit website https://starclippers.co.uk/theme-cruises/186-yoga-cruises.html

Theme Cruises for Families

Theme cruises for families are typically centered on a theme that appeals to children. Popular themes include pirates, undersea adventure or popular animated characters.

For example, Disney Cruise Lines offers a number of ships and sailings that are designed for the whole family. Much like a trip to Disney World or Disney Land, kids are greeted by their favorite characters, can go see a full, live-action performance and can indulge in activities that focus on their favorite Disney films and television series.

Typically, most theme cruises for families also offer activities for adults. They're a great opportunity for the whole family to actively enjoy a safe vacation that allows for quality together-time, but also much-needed private relaxation. 

The DreamWorks Experience and Summer of Shrek are available on Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. For a complete list of departure dates on these ships, please visit the link https://www.royalcaribbean.com/experience/dreamworks 

If you're interested in themes in narrow niches, you can still find great cruise events. Check into special interest cruises.

These are sometimes called theme cruises too, but really it's where a special interest group books a number of cabins on a mainstream cruise ship, and then sets up an itinerary and books guest speakers. The arrangers of the special interest cruise will then market their package to folks who would enjoy the events.


Examples of special interest cruises you can find include everything from scrapbooking to digital photography to baseball. If you're a fan of something, chances are you can find a special interest cruise (yes, there are even Stark Trek cruises). https://reservations.ecpcruises.com/Booking/Reservation/Start?tripID=7576&_ga=2.220553752.16029670.1523249548-1601523754.1523249548

These smaller niche groups won't affect the general populace of the cruise ship (although you might get a few odd looks if you're running around in Klingon garb), though the planners may arrange for some public spaces to be reserved for the group's use.

In addition to theme cruises and special interest cruises, you can find organizations that will charter a whole ship for their use. For example, Atlantis Events organizes gay and lesbian cruises, and there is a poker organization that charters ships for an annual gaming tournament.

If you're interested in theme cruises, you can find them taking place all year round, but the hot time seems to be in December and January during low-demand (pre- and post-holiday) weeks.

If you're wondering how much theme cruises cost, it really depends on the event. If a famous rock and roll group is going to be on board and performing every night, you might pay more than usual, but there are other themed cruises where prices are comparable to vacations that go the same places without the theme.

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