A Sampling of Themed Cruises

Sunday, January 18, 2009

There are hundreds of kinds of theme cruises, occupying whole ships or just portions thereof. We can't list 'em all, but here's a sampling. The Web site ThemeCruiseFinder.com can't list them all either, but it says it names more than 500 of them, surely a good start.

For each cruise below, we give the port of embarkation and general destination, number of nights, sail dates, name of the cruise line and ship, and the least expensive per-person rate advertised by the cruise line or the organizer of the group.

Often the theme is organized by a small group that then books with the cruise line; to take part in group activities in these cases, travelers must book with the organizer, not the cruise line. But don't forget to check the Web sites of the various cruise lines and search by theme; there are many more specialty offerings to be found there.

-- Nancy McKeon


Dr. Lori's Antiques Vacation Cruise

Where and when: Philadelphia-Bermuda, seven nights, Oct. 24.

Cruise ship and price: Norwegian Cruise Line's Majesty. Rates start at $999.

One hundred passengers can sign up for appraisals by and seminars with certified antiques appraiser Lori Verderame, who has a doctorate in art history. This program is sponsored by her Doylestown, Pa., company, so the cruise must be booked through Masterpiece Technologies Inc. (888-431-1010, http://www.drloriv.com).

Spotlight on Antiques

Where and when: Athens-Rome, 11 nights, Sept. 28.

Cruise ship and price: Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator. Rates start at $6,595.

Antiquarians from BBC Television "explore history and collectibles" during an itinerary of ancient destinations, including Crete, Cairo, Rhodes, Santorini and Sorrento. Book through a travel agent or Regent (800-254-5067, http://www.rssc.com).


ETA Motorcycle Cruises

Where and when: Miami-Caribbean or Bayonne, N.J.-Caribbean; seven nights; Feb.22, Mar. 22, April 5, April 19 and many other dates.

Cruise ship and price: Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas. Rates start at $1,214 and include confirmed bike space aboard the ship.

Entertainment & Travel Alternatives Inc. offers groups the chance to take their Harleys and other motorcycles to Caribbean islands, where escorted rides are organized. Book through ETA (888-711-7447, http://www.cruise-eta.com).

Second Annual Hogs on the High Seas Rally

Where and when: Los Angeles-Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; seven nights; March 29.

Cruise ship and price: Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas. A handful of cabins left, starting at $1,230.

Motorcycle groups come together for an on-the-water rally organized by Dean and Debbie Anderson of Waynesboro, Va. No bikes onboard but plenty of cycle-related vendors and games; private dinner seatings. Book through HOHS (540-942-8791 or 800-444-8795, http://www.hogsonthehighseas.com).


2009 Eclipse Cruise

Where and when: Beijing-Korea-Japan, 12 nights, July 17.

Cruise ship and price: Costa Cruises' Costa Classica. Rates start at $2,874.

Cruisers will witness the longest total eclipse of the century (6 minutes 39 seconds) at sea. The organizer, Astronomy Vacations by Mayhugh Travel, provides several days of lectures onboard. Book through Mayhugh (888-412-5317, http://www.astronomyvacations.com).


Cruise to Lose With Ann Louise Gittleman

Where and when: Seattle-Alaska, seven nights, Sept. 6.

Cruise ship and price: Holland America Lines' Westerdam. Rates start at $1,115.

The author of the "Fat Flush Plan" hosts seminars on weight loss; private fitness classes with a trainer. Book through the Travel Address (800-350-8747, http://www.thetraveladdress.com).

Food and Wine

Epicurean Adventurer Program -- Rhine and Moselle Rivers

Where and when: Basel, Switzerland-Amsterdam, 12 nights, Nov. 3.

Cruise ship and price: Uniworld River Cruises' River Queen. Rates start at $3,767.

Features wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. Book through Uniworld (800-733-7820, http://www.uniworld.com).

Le Cordon Bleu Circle of Interest

Where and when: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-Reykjavik, 13 nights, May 8.

Cruise ship and price: Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Voyager. Rates start at $6,195.

Regent has Signatures, permanent Cordon Bleu restaurants, on its ships. Cruise features cooking classes. Book through a travel agent or Regent (800-254-5067, http://www.rssc.com).


Chess Moves 4

Where and when: Tampa-western Caribbean, seven nights, Feb. 21.

Cruise ship and price: Holland America's M/S Ryndam. Rates start at $699.

The trip, organized by InSight Cruises, features two grandmasters, Joel Benjamin and Larry Christiansen, lectures and tournaments. Book through InSight Cruises (650-787-5665, http://www.insightcruises.com).

Panama Canal Bridge Cruise

Where and when: Puntarenas, Costa Rica-Fort Lauderdale, 14 nights, May 22.

Cruise ship and price: Enrichment Voyages' M/V Explorer. Rates start at $2,099, including airfare.

Bridge, bridge, bridge -- for beginners and fanatics. Lectures and (bridge) play time. Book through Online Vacation Center (866-254-1095, http://www.onlinevacationcenter.com).

Scrabble Scandinavia/Russia Cruise

Where and when: Amsterdam-Baltic, 12 nights, June 14.

Cruise ship and price: Celebrity Cruises' Century. Rates start at $1,949.

Cruise features 20 rounds of Scrabble, with prizes ($50 entry fee). Contacts are Larry Rand and Barbara Van Alen (480-730-5031).

Intellectual Pursuits

Shakespeare at Sea

Where and when: Miami-Lisbon, 10 nights, May 23.

Cruise ship and price: Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity. Rates start at $5,799.

This Smithsonian Journeys tour features 14 lectures on the Bard and his works. Book through Smithsonian Journeys (877-338-8687, http://www.smithsonianjourneys.org).


There are too many to list even a sampling. Music themes include blues, Christian music, classical, country, folk/bluegrass, gospel, Irish, jazz and rock. To get a better idea, go to ThemeCruiseFinder.com.


Silver Links: Caribbean

Where and when: Fort Lauderdale-Bridgetown, Barbados, nine nights, Dec. 3.

Cruise ship and price: Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow. Rates start at $3,797.

The Silver Links Golf Program features onboard golf clinics, optional group excursions to golf courses in various ports. Book through a travel agent or Silversea (800-722-9955, http://www.silversea.com).

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