No matter what you enjoy doing, odds are good that there’s a cruise for you.
For some, the notion of theme cruises still conjures up images of forced fun and games with a ridiculous premise. Thankfully, special interest cruising has evolved to the next level. So whether you prefer running at every port or discussing current events with journalists, you’re bound to find the ideal cruise match.
Festival of Flowers
Until now, it seemed as though every major interest group was covered by the cruise industry, except one: flower fans. Enter the Festival of Flowers Cruise, a two-week long excursion aboard Cunard’s grand Queen Victoria ocean liner. The first-of-its kind cruise will set sail from Southampton, England, to six floral ports of call such as Madeira, a small island off the coast of Portugal that’s home to an incredibly beautiful botanical garden. While at sea, passengers can attend talks by the likes of Jenny Tobin, a renowned florist who not only provides arrangements for the British royal family, but regularly works on major films such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Tobin will also hold floral arrangement classes, which is sure to elevate your flower game.
The New York Times Insights Cruise
This cruise definitely falls under the category of trips that are more about the journey than the destination. There are no ports of call on this transatlantic sailing other than the departure point in Brooklyn and the final destination in Southampton, England. Instead, the focus is on learning, with five journalists from The New York Times lecturing on topics that encompass politics, healthcare and media. And since this is an NYC-centric cruise, it should come as no surprise that “Everything Brooklyn” is an actual lecture topic. In between lectures, passengers can also pick expert minds at cocktail parties and meals. Then there’s the luxurious Queen Mary 2 on which to while away the hours, from the 10,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch Spa to the only planetarium on a cruise ship (pictured). Speaking of planetariums, Cunard also offers theme cruises around space, complete with experts from astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman to the commercial director of Virgin Galactic.
Holland America, the Caribbean, and MasterChef winners: No wonder this foodie cruise is back for a third time. This year’s featured home chefs include season 7 All Star Tanorria Askew, season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale and more. Besides participating in cooking demos and tasting winning dishes from the show, you can also learn about what juicy details happened behind the scenes. Some lucky cruisers can even take their skills to the next level by competing in a re-creation of the Mystery Box Challenge — (hopefully) minus the stress and drama. Win or lose, everyone can recap their experiences at mealtimes while enjoying MasterChef menus devised by the All Star participants.
Star Trek: The Cruise II
Back by popular demand after the first one sold out, Star Trek fans will be in all their glory on this Norwegian Jade cruise hosted by actor George Takei, who played the original Sulu. He’ll be joined by about 20 other fan favorites from the various series, including LeVar Burton, Nana Visitor and Jonathan Frakes. Don’t fret about this being like a convention on a cruise ship; here Trekkies can embark on a Klingon Pub Crawl with Chancellor Gowron, partake in makeup sessions to emulate Bajorans, Ferengi and more, and even attend screenings of classic episodes while your favorite actors comment on them. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we failed to mention you can renew your vows Trekkie style and/or compete in a Commander Riker chair mounting contest — to be judged by Commander Riker himself. Two sailings out of Miami are set for January 2018, and will dock in Honduras, Belize and Mexico.
Rock Legends Cruise VI
Now in its sixth year, there’s a reason why Rock Legends often sells out quickly. Past musical legends have included Pat Benatar, ZZ Top and Foreigner, and this year’s sailing continues the momentum with long-time Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar, Bad Company and Quiet Riot. Besides rocking out at multiple venues on Royal Caribbean, there are also opportunities to bid on autographed rock ‘n roll memorabilia and meet the bands. A lesser known, but no less fascinating, aspect is that the Rock Legends cruises are organized by the Native American Heritage Association as a way to raise money for Native Americans living on reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming.
Great Alaskan Running Cruise
If running an entire marathon, especially while on vacation, sounds a bit daunting, this cruise offers runs in manageable chunks along with a healthy dose of fun. Make the most of it by prepping with running coaches Jenny Hadfield and John “The Penguin” Bingham, who will also be onboard. Highlights include running (or walking) a 5K in Anchorage, where you might spot moose or beluga whale, and another 5K in Juneau with the Mendenhall Glacier as a backdrop. There will also be opportunities to run Amazing Race style through Skagway, a key player in Alaska’s gold rush. The week-long adventure concludes with a leisurely run through the Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan, capped off with craft beer around a campfire. Spend the final day at sea recuperating in the spa. Perhaps the best part of this much running, besides receiving a medal at the end, is partaking in the all-you-can-eat buffet guilt-free.