Love music? Enjoy visiting gardens? Obsessed about crochet? Themed cruises, allowing passengers to indulge in their favourite obsessions, are growing. And there’s nothing like travelling with like-minded fans.
Music Cruises remain one of the most popular themed cruises, and many of are festivals at sea complete with artists and performances. A number sail out of Australia.
Nature expeditions, where itineraries are built around seeking out natural sights and the nature’s wonders, have also exploded in popularity and become a whole category.
You can also find cruises that cater to niche interests such as botany, and even crochet. There are sports cruises for golfers, tennis and rugby tragics. There is something for everyone, if you know where to look.
Find a cruise where you can unleash your inner geek:
Country music cruises remain ever so popular with the home crowd and lines like P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean have programs planned till 2020.
This year, Royal Caribbean has their ‘Cruisin’ Country’ sailing departing Sydney on October 12. The seven-night cruise on board Radiance of the Seas will be headlined by Australian country crooner, Lee Kernaghan. The 30 artist line-up also includes other big names, like Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole and Gina Jeffreys.
Australia’s rock festival at sea, ‘Rock The Boat’, will also be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2020. The week-long rock music cruise on Radiance of the Seas departs November 24 from Brisbane to the South Pacific, featuring over 30 artists and seven venues.
P&O Cruises have their ‘Country Music Festival at Sea’ on their three-night short breaks. The sailing departs Brisbane on December 7, 2019, on board Pacific Dawn. The line also has two 1980s Tribute Cruise lined up in 2020. The tribute cruises are also three-night short breaks, with one departing Brisbane on February 1 and the other departing Sydney on April 3.
Ponant, the luxury French line, has also recently announced an itinerary celebrating American Composers with the Boston Pops. The eight-night sailing from Montreal to Boston on board Le Champlain in October 2020 will feature a musical program curated by Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. He will also be conducting four exclusive concerts with six musicians on this sailing. One of which will be taking place in a historic venue while ashore in Quebec.
Big band music lovers can also get on Cunard’s ‘Big Band Ball’ cruise with an 18-piece Big Band on the Queen Elizabeth. The four-night roundtrip sailing from Southampton departs October 4, 2019. The sailing will have the ship’s biggest band of the year, playing tunes from the Big Band and Swing era as you dance through the evening in the Queens Room ballroom. The line also has other music themed sailings in collaboration with Anthony Inglis and National Symphony Orchestra on Queen Mary 2, where you’ll get to interact with the members of the orchestra and even a Q&A session with Mr Inglis.
Art and History
Ponant offers cruise in collaboration with Museum of Civilisations from Europe and the Mediterranean (Mucem), where you can learn about the ‘Classical World of the Mediterranean’. The eight-day itinerary departs May 2020 from Athens to Rome, accompanied by a Mucem exhibition curator to delve deeper into the main topics of the exhibition as they explore ancient sites where exhibited artefacts came from.
Coral Expeditions is also offering a cruise that is focused on experiencing Indigenous Australian art. The 11-night ‘Cape York and Arnhem Land’ itinerary on Coral Discoverer sails from Darwin to Cairns. Visit Tiwi Designs at the Tiwi Islands, the Maningrida Arts and Culture Centre which is home to exquisite bark paintings and weavings, Elcho Island as well as the Torres Strait Islands. Learn the art legacy of the northern Australian communities you visit.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 offers another themed cruise and this time it is literature festival at sea. The seven-night sailing departing New York for Southampton in November is organised in association with Cheltenham Literature Festival, The Times and The Sunday Times. This one is for the book lovers to meet best selling and award winning authors as well as journalists.
There are also more cruises bring together sailors with niche special interests and geek out together! Crystal Cruises has one for the golfers, botany fanatics now have their own corner on Botanica and crochet enthusiasts can gather on Celebrity Cruises.
Crystal Cruises has an 11-night cruise on the Crystal Serenity that brings golfers to world-famous courses dotted along the Iberian Peninsula. The sailing from the Rock of Gibraltar to the French Riviera also visit ports of Ibiza, St Tropez, Barcelona and Monte Carlo where you can also explore world famous beaches and indulge in local food and wine.
Botanica is offering a 12-day itinerary from Osaka to Tokyo in March 2020 to catch Japan’s cherry blossom season along with other world famous zen gardens. Visit gardens like Koraku-en, Kenroku-en and World Heritage listed Ryoanji with likeminded botany fanatics. The itinerary sails 10-nights on the MS Caledonian Sky and one overnight in Tokyo.
Crochet cruises are sailing out of Sydney to New Zealand on the Celebrity Solstice in October 2019 as well as February 2021. The 12-night sailing is for crafters of all levels. It is packed with crochet workshops where you learn to start projects, advanced crafters can also just rock up to the lounge to join a crochet session with other cruisers. These cruises also sail itineraries around the world.
Ponant in collaboration with National Geographic have offered a selection of 30 cruises that bring you to all corners of the world.
Their ‘Magnificent Volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands’ will allow you to get up close to the most active volcanoes in the world as well as the wildlife and fauna in the area. On board will also be a National Geographic Photographer and an expert specialised in the destination.
Viking Ocean Cruises also has six departures each year which visit Scandinavia in winter in search of Northern Lights. The 13-day sailings depart from January to March where you get the best chance to catch a glimpse of the glowing lights.
The rising interest in wellness is not slowing down. Lines like Oceania and Regent Seven Seas have launched a plant-based menu. While Seabourn Cruises and Holland America Line have entire wellness themed sailings. Seabourn Cruises has Wellness Cruises sailing Arabia in 2019 and Australia, New Zealand in 2020, led by Dr Weil and other experts in Integrative Medicine.
Meanwhile, Holland America Line has teamed up with American TV icon Oprah Winfrey to bring cruisers a sailing that is meant to energise and inspire. The cruise has wellness specialists like transformational speakers, life coaches, meditation and nutrition experts on board. These experts will be leading activities that will teach you how to improve your wellness.
If you agree that laughter is the best medicine, P&O Cruises’ comedy cruises are a classic. ‘The Big Laugh’ short breaks depart from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland and range from two to four nights of rib-tickling fun.
There are also many event cruises that you can get on, where you sail right up to the event. Imagine a whole ship of sailors looking forward to the same event. Both P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines offers sailings for the Lexus Melbourne Cup which takes place in November. P&O Cruises also hosts cruises to other sport events like the Australian Open Tennis as well as a Dark Mofo cruise every year. The six-night sailing on the Pacific Explorer takes you Hobart’s Winter Feast, featuring international music shows and major exhibitions at the Museum of Old and New Art.
Cunard also has a ‘Transatlantic Space Week’ sailing that coincides with the International World Space Week. The nine-night sailing on Queen Mary 2 departs Southampton and arrives in New York, featuring several space-themed experiences and talks from space explorers and astronomers on board.