Cruise lines are branching out and creating varied itineraries to suit everyone’s tastes. And some of these offerings include pairing a cruise with a major event.

From Mardi Gras in New Orleans to the wicked and twisted festival in Tasmania, Dark Mofo and even visits to Medieval castles in Estonia, there are plenty of events and festivals around the world which you can enjoy while you’re on your cruise. Here is a calendar we’ve compiled together.


The Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans is one of the biggest in the world. It’s a celebration, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday where people celebrate and eat before fasting for Lent. You’ll see elaborate and colourful costumes with masks and floats. There are a number of cruise lines which sail the New Orleans around this time – Celebrity Cruises spends two nights in port while other lines like Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are also in town. Or you could hop aboard the American Queen for a cruise down the Mississippi River


If you’re taking a river cruise in Amsterdam during April, you can paint the town orange during King’s Day. Celebrating the birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the House of Orange, this celebration is city-wide and is filled with decorated boats on the canal, a huge flea market as well as plenty of stalls as well as live music. The locals will usually wear as much orange as they can fit in their outfit. And because there are so many river cruises that sail from or end in Amsterdam, it’s a great idea to plan your spring European voyage around this spectacular day.


If you’re a rev head, the Monaco Grand Prix, which is the most glamorous of the Formula One fixtures in the year, has a number of ships sailing to the race so guests can watch all the action, live. SeaDream Yacht Club, Star Clippers and Crystal Cruises will all have ships docked in Monaco on the day which. In Nice, Fred Olsen and Azamara Club Cruises will be in port and guests can purchase grandstand tickets through the lines. During May, the French Open, played at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris on May 26 which you can then follow up with a river cruise from Paris.


Sailing from Sydney, P&O Cruises has a special itinerary sailing to Tasmania for the famous Dark Mofo winter festival. It’s a celebration of food, music, art, film and lights which is an annual event run by the Museum of Old and New Art. The cruise aboard the Pacific Explorer includes a ticket to the Winter Feast, two days and two nights in port as well as admission to MONA. If you’re travelling in Europe, enjoy long evenings in Russia – known as White Nights –  in St Petersburg, the beautiful ornate city. There is a dedicated festival where there are ballet and rock concerts as well as fireworks and lasers on the River Neva. For the sports fans, during June and July, there will be dedicated State of Origin cruises where you’ll sail to Brisbane or Sydney with some of the great legends of the game. The price of your fare also includes a ticket to the game.


Indulge in the summer months in Estonia and visit the capital Tallin which is where the famous Medieval Festival takes place. Here, you’ll see knights joust as well as jesters wandering the streets as well as troubadours, minstrels and jugglers. There are plenty of activities going on including handicraft workshops, musical performances as well as plenty of food stalls. There will be a few cruise lines docked nearby including Holland America, Regent Seven Seas, Costa, Viking Ocean Cruises and more.


Take a cruise to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which features lots of different types of performances including theatre, cabaret, dance as well as opera. During the month of August, there are about 50,000 performances across 300 venues. The festival also ties in with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place outside the city’s castle every day except Sunday. Cruise & Maritime Voyages has a Summertime Fjordland voyage which departs from nearby Rosyth.


It’s the most glamorous day on Australia’s horse racing calendar and Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises each have a ship heading to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup. Onboard, there are racing legends as well as other activities like hat-making and fashion shows. The cruise includes tickets to the event where you can watch all the excitement of the race that stops the nation.