21 Themed Cruises that are Interesting, Exciting or just plain Weird

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It used to be that except for the occasional singles cruise most big cruise ships had a pretty similar experience. But not everyone can be fulfilled by ship activities like shuffleboard, napkin folding, and Las Vegas-style reviews. Never fear, there are a great variety of cruises built around different interests. Perhaps one of these would be of interest to you. These cruises range from cruise ships to sailing ships and barges.

Music Cruises 2019-2020

Everybody and their brother are taking their bands on boats this year, from Kenny Rogers to the Moody Blues.

  • Train (the band) Cruise – www.sailacrossthesun.com
  • Rock Legends Cruise VIII (Roger Daltrey, Paul Rogers, Roger Hodgson, Robby Krieger, UFO, Uriah Heep, Jonny Lang, Elvin Bishop, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Mark Farner, Wet Willie, Larkin Poe) – rocklegendscruise.com
  • Megacruise with Megadeth, Anthrax, Queensryche, Testament. Departs Los Angeles, CA – megacruise.com
  • Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise #33 with Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Los Lobos. Departs San Diego, CA – bluescruise.com
  • Kiss Kruise VIII with Kiss, Ace Frehley. Departs Miami, FL – thekisskruise.com
  • Malt Shop Memories with Four Tops, Felix Cavaliere, Darlene Love, Chubby Checker. Departs Fort Lauderdale, FL – hitmakerscruises.com

Scientific American Cruises

Insight Cruises is one of the better vendors for all things geeky and they have been putting on cruises with Scientific American for a few years now. Their 2019 August cruise to Southeast Asia offers lectures like these:

Medicine: Eric Ledet, Ph.D.

  • State of the Art in Medicine — Bones
  • State of the Art in Medicine — Joints
  • State of the Art in Medicine — Spine
  • How Smart Orthopaedic Implants Work

Engineering: Stephen Ressler, Ph.D.

  • Military Engineering in the Medieval Era
  • Fortification Design in the Gunpowder Era
  • The Great Bridges of Bright Horizons 38
  • Design and Construction of the World’s Greatest Cantilever Bridge

Psycology: Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.

  • Stress, Coping, and Health
  • The Biology and Psychology of Depression
  • The Biology of Human Behavior at Our Best and Worst
  • The Biology of Schizophrenia
  • The Biology of Aggression and Violence

Astronomy: Seth Shostak, Ph.D.

  • How the 21st century Will Change Everything
  • Looking for Life Beyond Earth
  • What Would the Real Aliens be Like?
  • Could the Aliens be Here?
  • The Future of Everything

The people are smart, the lecturers are even smarter.

Beer Cruises

Can beer be a theme? You bet it can! Here are 3 different beer cruises:

Brewnique Tours for Belgian & Craft Beer Enthusiasts – www.BonBeer.com

Beercation Cruises for Craft beer enthusiasts. Tours in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands are hosted on private canal boats (passenger barges) with a private chef on board. Groups are capped at a maximum of 25 passengers including the Tour Director and the Beer Guide, to ensure a more personalized experience and allow them to visit some of the smaller breweries and sites.

Maple Leaf Adventures – www.MapleLeafAdventures.com

On this 5-night or 6-night cruise under the sails of the historic tall ship Maple Leaf, you will sample the best micro-brews of British Columbia, Canada, and visit beer breweries that range in size from a luxe brewpub to a bucolic Gulf Islands
brewery housed, suitably, in a barn-like building. Includes tastings, history lessons, and pairing meals with leaders in the industry that are not accessible to the general public. $2385 per person all-inclusive except air.

Schooner Mary Day – www.schoonermaryday.com

For beer connoisseurs, how about a June 15-21 “Craft of Ale” Sail aboard the Schooner Mary Day out of Maine. Guests can even try their hand a brewing a batch of nut brown ale underway. Trip departs from Camden, Maine, and includes all meals, accommodations, and activities for $975.

Wine Cruise

Wine lovers can also take to the sea this year.

Schooner Steven Taber – Www.stephentaber.com

For wine lovers, how about sipping vintage wine aboard a vintage Maine windjammer that¹s 143 years old? The schooner Stephen Taber will offer 7 wine-tasting cruises this year, lead by co-owner Jane Barnes, who has been sniffing, sipping, and enjoying wines with top industry leaders since 1992. She is passionate about the history, culture, and enjoyment of wine and loves to share her knowledge and experience with others in a relaxed, fun setting… Jane’s husband, Captain Noah, takes great joy in sharing his love of sailing and the stunning Maine coast.

Crafters Cruises

Craft making on cruises goes way past napkin folding. Check out a great list of crafter cruises at www.craftcruises.com like:

Embark on an Alaskan journey when the days are long and warm, the glaciers are calving and the wildflowers are in full bloom. Join Tanis Gray on this cruise sailing round trip from Vancouver, British Columbia.

History Buffs Cruise

2014 is the 100th Anniversary of the start of WWI we there are some theme cruises for history buffs.

European Waterways – europeanwaterways.com

European Waterways is a luxury hotel barging cruising company offering intimate voyages on the inland waterways and canals of Europe. Recently, the company announced that they would be adding a World War 1 themed cruise through Belgium and Northern France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war, which will take place from May 18 to May 25, 2014.

As part of the itinerary, guests will cruise along the historic River Lys to Ypres and explore the actual battlefields where German and Allied forces fought so fiercely. Also on the itinerary is a tour of the site where 23,000 men were killed in battle on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and a cruise along the Canal du Nord, itself the scene of a fierce battle where the Allied Forces fought the Germans during the Hundred Days Offensive.

Additional stops include the site where Lt. John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” a beautiful poem inspired by the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. Travelers will also visit the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres to attend the very moving ceremony that takes place every day at 8:00 P.M., the sounding of the Last Post by the buglers of the volunteer Fire Brigade. There will also be a visit to the Forest of Compiègne, most notable as the site of the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, an agreement that brought an end to World War One.

Birdwatching Cruises

Schooner Lewis R. French –  www.schoonerfrench.com

For nature lovers, Captain Wells of the Lewis R. French out of Maine is offering a guided birding cruise from August 3-6 for $990 per person. Guests can tick off some of those elusive pelagics on this special 6-day cruise that includes some time sailing offshore.

Theater Cruise

Judy Perl Worldwide Travel – www.judyperltravel.com

Playbill (on Broadway) is offering its new Broadway on the High Seas cruise in March to Tahiti and French Polynesia. The cruise features Broadway stars as guests and performers, joining in with guests at dinner, for conversation, and more.

Tony winner Lillias White (Fela!, The Life, Once On This Island) and Grammy-winning comedian and playwright Lewis Black (Running On Empty, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart) join Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lea Salonga, Sutton Foster, Christine Ebersole and Will Swenson for Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas 4 cruise to French Polynesia. Playbill’s own Seth Rudetsky will return for his fourth year as music director, performer, and host.

The fourth Broadway on the High Seas cruise-onboard the privately chartered, 150-cabin, five-star luxury liner m/s Paul Gauguin-will visit Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and the surrounding French Polynesian Islands from March 20-29, 2014.

Priced beginning at $7547 per person, based on double occupancy, plus $99 port/handling charge, packages include round-trip air from Los Angeles, gratuities, open bar, complimentary water sports, hotel packages and an entertainment itinerary packed with concerts, interviews, Broadway trivia, cocktail parties and late-night gatherings with participating artists.

Poker Cruise

Ante Up Poker Cruises – www.anteupmagazine.com

Ante Up Poker Cruises are poker-themed cruises that run five times a year aboard regularly scheduled Royal Caribbean and NCL sailings. The conference center is filled with poker tables, poker chips to create a floating poker room with cash games, tournaments, free classes, cocktail parties, and more.

Other Cruises

Star Trek Cruise VI – Cruise with other Trekkies – startrekthecruise.com

Astronomy cruise – In September 2020, Queen Mary 2 will set sail again to celebrate international World Space Week on a special space-themed transatlantic crossing. From Southampton, you’ll arrive in New York the day World Space Week begins where there will be a host of Space Week events to attend post-cruise. – www.cunard.com

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

5 Responses to “21 Themed Cruises that are Interesting, Exciting or just plain Weird”

Emily Morris


You may want to add the curling cruise in the Caribbean. (You know, the Winter Olympic sport involving ice and sweeping.) http://waterspiel.net/index.html



Curling! At sea! Brilliant!

Lucy@Sweden Road Trip


Interesting post! Personally I’d like to combine a history and beer cruise, think I’d have a great time on one of those



Any cruises that address education as a field – best practices in creating performance based training, workshops, etc.?



I see some, like http://thezencruise.com/teacher-trainingceus/ I would google “_____ teacher training on a cruise”

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