Several people watch a master baker demonstrate making pastries; participate in a chocolate, cheese and wine tasting, and enjoy a food-and-wine pairing gourmet dinner.
Golfers play at some of the most famous courses around the world, then attend a tournament that brings together the top professionals.
Music fans of tunes that were popular during the 1970s swing and sway to them, then have an opportunity to meet and mingle with singers and members of the bands that made them hits.
These people are enjoying some of their favorite pastimes while taking an ocean or river cruise. In addition to traditional vacations at sea, and along major rivers around the world, there are sailings that focus upon a surprising variety of interests.
Whatever, hobby, pursuit or pastime you enjoy, there may be a voyage that will let you combine it with the pleasures of cruising. From food to the latest fashions, music to mystery the offerings are as varied as the destinations which are included on ship itineraries.
An Internet search for cruises that interest you may turn up one or more alternatives.
With cruise lines gradually beginning to return to normal services, you might wish to check what sailings are being offered, and what Coronavirus protocols they have in place.
Gourmet Food in a Grand Setting
Food aficionados long have looked to Avalon Waterways to meet their longing for haute cuisine. And what could be more “Haute” than combining a voyage through the lush landscapes of Burgundy and Provence, France with gourmet meals? These food and wine trips merge cuisine and culture to offer a memorable experience.
For golfers from duffers to low handicap players, Azamara Club Cruises is a good place to check. It has a well-deserved reputation for tours to some of the best known and most beautiful courses around the world. The packages include everything from experienced caddies to convenient transportation to the links. Another plus is on-board opportunities to compare experiences and tips with other golf aficionados.
Golf swings will be supplanted by swing and sway at a 70’s Rock & Romance Cruise that is scheduled to connect Miami with the Caribbean islands of St. Maarten and St. Thomas next February. The long list of performers includes the popular “Guess Who” band and singer-song writer-actress Melissa Manchester, plus a long list of others.
On-board activities will range from a disco party and costume ball to question-and-answer sessions with the musicians.
Dance With the Stars at Sea
Where there’s music there often is dancing and that’s true on Holland America’s “Dancing with the Stars” voyages. Champions from that popular TV series join passengers in competing for the colorfully named Mirrorball Trophy. Those who feel they’re not quite ready to don dancing shoes with experts may join a complimentary onboard class to learn the same routines that have been performed on the hit show.
Different kinds of hands-on workshops are part of Transatlantic Fashion Week which since 2016 has been a feature of Cunard Line’s voyage calendar. Designers, milliners, models and others present a series of talks, Q&A sessions, catwalk shows and events aboard the Queen Mary 2 that celebrate style against the backdrop of an iconic ocean liner.
Those to whom high fashion is inscrutable may prefer a cruise where the focus is on not knowing where you’ll be going. People who book a Fred Olsen mystery trip have no idea where the itinerary will take them, although of course, the ship’s captain knows. Sometimes passengers have the option of voting which of two possible destinations they prefer to visit.
And the List Goes On
If you think this completes the eclectic list of unusual cruises, think again. The likes of Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet join passengers on Avalon Waterways Art and Impressionist river sailings in terms of places they depicted in their works. Sailing through the French countryside brings alive artists with visits to their homes and the scenes they made famous in their paintings. Fans of Monet are likely to recognize his house and the lush gardens that surround it.
History and heritage are among themes explored during other Avalon sailings. World War II in Europe is the focus of cruises led by a knowledgeable expert in the amphibious landing on the beaches of Normandy and stories of the Allied forces that drove the Germans out of France and other occupied countries.
Some of Avalon’s Danube River cruises explore Jewish heritage and related sites. Among highlights are a visit to the world’s second-largest synagogue in Budapest and Prague’s Jewish Museum and cemetery.
The themes of other special interest cruises range from birdwatching with Ocean Wide Expeditions, beer on Crystal Cruises, literature on Cunard Cruises to crafts such as knitting and needlepoint on Craft Cruises.
Along with the subjects they emphasize, theme cruises differ in other ways as well. Some take over an entire ship while others have a group join a regular itinerary. In addition to the opportunity to enjoy a favorite pastime, benefits include meeting and mingling with people who share an interest and input from experts in the topic or activity.
At this time of restrictions on the cruise industry, it’s necessary to check if, and when, a theme cruise in which you may be interested will sail. Check out websites of individual cruise lines or log onto Sixth Man, which is a clearinghouse for some special interest shipboard experiences.
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