Themed and Specialty Cruises 2011

Cruises, which center trips around interests (hobbies, music, wine) or target markets (gays, singles, kids) present a lot of unique opportunities. Whether the cruise is created and run by the cruise line itself or by outside affinity groups that reserve a ship or portions of it, there have never been more choices, say operators.

"Themed cruises provide an added amenity – either in the atmosphere, in the social interaction or in the activities," says Greg Nacco, vice president of luxury cruise agency Cruise Specialists, which books theme cruises throughout the world. Its sister company,, focuses on singles cruises.

Themed sailings also offer a good opportunity for getting to know folks with similar interests. "There's a common element that creates a comfortable territory for social engagement," said Nacco."

Following are a few examples of some upcoming themed cruises.

Special Needs

New Year's Eve Autism Cruise: This 5-night sailing from Ft. Lauderdale on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas includes disability accommodations and activities, like bingo, dancing and scavenger hunts, geared towards adults and teenagers with special needs. Sail date: December 29, 2011.

For information about other special-needs cruises, go to and

Clothing-Optional Cruises

Midsummer's Eve Cruise: Operated by Bare Necessities Tours & Travel, this 14-night cruise aboard The Royal Clipper sails from Rome. Onboard activities include relationship workshops, yoga instruction, and a summer solstice celebration -- all in the nude. Sail date: June 9, 2012.


Solar Eclipse Down Under: Princess Cruises' Dawn Princess will set sail to view the 2012 solar eclipse in Australia. The 11-night cruise departs from Sydney. Viewing of the solar eclipse takes place toward the end of the voyage. Sail date: November 6, 2012.


Baseball Greats Eastern Mediterranean Cruise: MSC Cruises runs several baseball- themed sailings. Former top players offer Q&A and story-telling sessions, pitching and hitting strategy clinics and a passenger pitching contest. Sail date: December 6, 2011.

China, Vietnam and Thailand Golf Cruise: This 14-day trip includes play at the world's largest golf resort, Mission Hills in Shenzhen, as well as Bangkok's Thai Country Club and the Montgomerie Course in Danang, Vietnam.

Hawaii Bridge Tournament Cruise: This card-playing cruise organized by Cruise Specialists aboard Holland America's Zaandam includes 10 days of bridge instruction and play, with a chance for $10,000 in cash prizes. A 17-day cruise departs from Vancouver. Sail date: September 25, 2011.


Burgundy & Provence Wine River Cruise: This 8-day cruise from Arles to Chalon-sur-Saône on Avalon Waterways'Avalon Scenery features lectures and tastings on the region's wines. Sail date: October 31, 2011.

Food Network at Sea: Celebrity Cruises' Silhouette is an 11-day Mediterranean cruise hosted by chef Anne Burrell, of the Food Network's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. The itinerary includes hands-on cooking classes, culinary demonstrations and turndown gifts. Sail date: October 22, 2011.

Relais & Châteaux L'Ecole des Chefs Culinary Arts: Silversea is a cooking school at sea on select Caribbean, European and Middle East sailings this year. Each cruise is hosted by a Relaix & Châteaux Grand Chef and features cooking demonstrations and classes, in-port food market tours and cooking competitions. Sail date: December 4, 2011.

Tech Geeks

MacMania Rhine River Cruise: Designed for techies, this weeklong European river cruise sails along the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, aboard AmaWaterway' AmaLegro. The itinerary includes daily classes on using iPads and Mac-related hardware and software. In port, insiders' tours include a visit to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Hiedelberg. Sail date: April 12, 2012.

Wellness Cruises

Holland America Wake Up For Life: This wellness-focused Alaska cruise features workshops and daily morning meditations. It sails from Seattle through Alaska's Inside Passage. Sail date: July 23, 2011.

Biggest Loser Experience: Tying into the reality TV show, this Caribbean cruise features exercise classes, health-and-wellness seminars, keynote speeches from doctors, former Biggest Loser contestants and the show's host, trainer Bob Harper. Sail date: November 12, 2011.


Gay & Lesbian

Atlantis Events' Gay Cruise: The 7-night gay cruise aboard the biggest ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, sails from Ft. Lauderdale. Sail date: January. 29, 2012.

Olivia's Western Caribbean Lesbian Cruise: A winter cruise through the Western Caribbean chartered on Holland America's Ryndham departs from Tampa. Entertainment includes stand-up comic Julie Goldman and DJ Susan Levine. Sail date: January 29, 2012.


Jazz Cruise 2012: About 2 dozen musicians will perform on Holland America's Westerdam for this 7-night Caribbean cruise. Sail date: January 29, 2012.


Singles Cruise from New York: The 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise sails aboard the Carnival Miracle and includes complimentary pool parties, costume nights, cabin crawls and karaoke parties. Sail date: September 19, 2011.

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