2017 Events You Can Cruise To

The World Famous Carnival in Rio de Janiero

Maybe you've dreamed of taking part in Rio de Janeiro's annual Carnival -- or maybe you're a sports fan and want to attend the British Open or Monaco Grand Prix in person. No matter which 2017 events and festivals you hope to attend, you might be surprised to find out you can cruise there.

Cruising to major world events -- from elite sporting competitions and races to cultural festivals, street parties and anniversary celebrations -- marks a popular segment of theme cruising. Lines like Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and P&O Cruises (along with sister brand P&O Cruises Australia), for instance, have designated portions of their cruising portfolio to itineraries focused on big-name 2017 events.

The demand comes largely from veteran cruisers, who've already done many of the routine sightseeing voyages; now, they're seeking out event-themed itineraries that promise to immerse them more creatively and authentically in a destination.

Longer or overnight port stays are ideal for experiencing festivals or sporting events, especially ones that might take place in the evening or a long drive from the cruise port. "When passengers don't have to hurry back to a ship that's leaving at 4 or 5 p.m., they can stay and really make the most of festivities," says Janet Diaz, spokeswoman for Azamara Club Cruises. Yet another benefit to an events cruise is the general onboard social atmosphere. "It puts them onboard with very like-minded people, which is important, especially on a small ship," explains Joe Duckett, vice president of marketing for Windstar Cruises.

Even better, cruising to marquee events can often save you money over putting together a land-based visit on your own. For example, there's potentially huge savings in cruising to the Monaco Grand Prix, since the markup on a cruise fare is likely far less than that of a hotel stay combined with restaurant meals during race weekend in Monte Carlo. Adding to the value of these types of trips, show or race tickets are often included in the cruise fares or sold by the excursion team, sometimes at less of a premium than those offered by land-based ticket-sellers. Packages might include transfers, as well as cool extras tied to the event theme, such as cocktail parties, events-related experts onboard or meet-and-greets with pro athletes and celebrities.

Here's a look at some of the big-name 2017 events that you can attend via a cruise.

Event

Month

Australian Open

January 2017

Carnival

February 2017

Mardi Gras

February 2017

Skagit County Tulip Festival

April 2017

New Orleans Jazz Fest

April 2017

Monaco Grand Prix

May 2017

Cannes Film Festival

May 2017

America's Cup

May 2017

British Open

July 2017

Edinburgh Tattoo

August 2017

New York Fashion Week

September 2017

Melbourne Cup

November 2017

Australian Open

Australian Open

The Event

Tennis-lovers have made the pilgrimage to Melbourne for the Australian Open since its inception in 1905. It launches the "Grand Slam" season with the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open following later in the year. The Australian Open is incredibly popular and tickets can be hard to come by for men's, women's, mixed doubles and junior championship matches. In 2017, matches will be held from January 16 to 29.

The Cruise

P&O Cruises Australia makes it easy to attend a match at the Australian Open: Book Pacific Pearl's "Australian Open Tennis" five-night round trip voyage from Sydney, departing January 19, 2017. Fares include a two-day Australian Open ticket and transfers to and from the grounds. Upgraded tickets for the Rod Laver Arena or Margaret Court Arena are available for an additional charge. Plus, onboard, passengers can hobnob with onetime Australian tennis champs Ken Rosewall and Todd Woodbridge, who will lead talks and participate in photo opps. Look out, too, for tennis-themed onboard events like table tennis championships, trivia, Wii tennis tournaments and live showings of the Australian Open matches on a giant poolside screen.

January 2017 Melbourne Itineraries


Carnival

The Event

During Rio de Janeiro's Carnival, one of the most famous parties in the world, millions take to Rio's streets for five days, wearing colorful costumes and dancing away their doldrums in a collective celebration of life. The festival kicks off February 24, 2017, before a more solemn Lenten period that leads up to Easter.

The Cruises

Several cruise lines offer sailings to the region in time for the event. Celebrity Cruises offers its 14-night "South America & Rio Carnaval" itinerary on Celebrity Infinity. This Buenos Aires round trip voyage (complete with onboard samba lessons) departs February 19, 2017, and includes an overnight in Buenos Aires plus three days of Carnival revelry in Rio. Other ports of call include Sao Paulo, Ilhabela and Buzios in Brazil, and Punta del Este and Montevideo in Uruguay. If a 14-night voyage is a bit too long for you, take a look at MSC Orchestra's nine-night Buenos Aires round trip voyage departing February 21, which will net you two days in Rio plus visits to Punta Del Este, Ilhabela and Buzios.

February 2017 Rio de Janeiro Cruises


Mardi Gras

The Event

Besides Rio's Carnival, another way to celebrate the pre-Lent season of excess is to attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans (February 28, 2017). This extravaganza centers on daily parades, where you can collect beads, toys and trinkets thrown from festive floats. Although nighttime reveling in the French Quarter can be raucous, G-rated parades, family picnics and elegant balls are the true traditions of the citywide celebration.

The Cruise

Celebrity is running an 11-night Mardi Gras cruise in 2017 aboard Celebrity Equinox that runs round trip from Fort Lauderdale, with stops in Grand Cayman and Mexico (Cozumel, Costa Maya), as well as three days in New Orleans (February 26, 27 and 28) that are primed for Mardi Gras festivities. Onboard, take in jazz performers and events like a Mardi Gras-themed warm-up party, and in port, sign up for excursions that feature grandstand seating for the colorful parade.

February 2017 New Orleans Cruises


The Skagit County Tulip Festival in Washington.

Skagit County Tulip Festival

The Event

Each year, throughout most (if not all) of April, sprawling fields of tulips -- some of the largest in the country -- bloom in Skagit County, Washington. At the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, the public is welcome to tour the hundreds of acres of fields. There are also meet-and-greets with the growers, and various art shows are scheduled throughout the area.

The Cruise

American Cruise Lines' seven-night river cruises on American Spirit depart from Seattle on April 8, 15 and 22, and also feature scenic cruising of Puget Sound and guided tours in each port. One of the included afternoon bus tours will take passengers to the festival. Plus, the cruise line has arranged for a master gardener to come aboard the ship for a few special lectures.

April 2017 Seattle Cruises


New Orleans Jazz Fest

The Event

Music lovers descend on New Orleans in droves for the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, aka Jazz Fest, held from April 28 through May 7 in 2017. The festival encompasses all types of music, not just jazz. Look out for big-name acts; 2016's headliners included Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and more (2017's lineup will be announced in January). Between tunes, dig into traditional Louisiana cuisine and peruse regional crafts on sale from local artisans.

The Cruises

Set out on an 11-night "Jazz Fest and Caribbean" sailing round trip from Miami aboard Celebrity Equinox. The ship will remain docked in New Orleans for three days (April 28 through 30), right as the music fest starts up. Onboard, expect special jazz programming, too. Alternately, consider embarking on a seven-night Mississippi River cruise round trip from New Orleans on American Cruise Lines' Queen of the Mississippi. The ship departs from the Crescent City on April 29, and the cruise line bundles in a pre-cruise hotel stay in the heart of New Orleans the night before, giving passengers the chance to hit up the festival independently on its opening day. French America Line offers a similar opportunity on its eight-night "Southern Spirit" Mississippi River sailing from New Orleans to Memphis on April 29 aboard the luxe Louisiane. Rates include a pre-cruise one-night stay at a deluxe French Quarter hotel, ideal for festival-going just ahead of the cruise.

April 2017 New Orleans Cruises


Monaco Grand Prix

The Event

Three storied competitions make up auto racing's version of the Triple Crown: the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula One's Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco's race, held from May 25 to 28 in 2017, has been a tradition since 1929. VIP parties, hundred-million-dollar yachts anchored in Monte Carlo's harbor and Gucci- and diamond-draped tourists strutting around Ferrari-choked streets of the principality are all part of the entertainment of race weekend.

The Cruises

Given Formula One's popularity and this spectacular location, it isn't surprising to find that Monaco Grand Prix cruises abound in 2017. Most itineraries spend one or two days in Monte Carlo. To live like a VIP yourself, board Silversea's Silver Spirit for a nine-night voyage from Barcelona to Rome (embarking May 22), including an overnight stay for two full days in Monte Carlo during the height of the Grand Prix. Windstar's Star Breeze and Wind Surf will also be in Monaco on May 27 and May 28; both ships are on seven-night round trip Rome itineraries in the Mediterranean. Look out for Grand Prix-themed offerings like a race day brunch and preferred seating at the trials and races; the Star Breeze sailing even touts a Formula One host onboard the ship. P&O Cruises also has an itinerary scheduled on Oceana that is timed to coincide with the Grand Prix (tickets can be arranged for passengers directly through the cruise line). Its seven-night Mediterranean sailing round trip from Malta brings cruisers to Villefranche, France (just 30 minutes from Monaco), in time for the race on May 28.

Alternately, if you have loads of time, board U.K.-based Fred. Olsen's Black Watch for a 16-night Southampton, England, round trip voyage that will call on neighboring Nice for two days -- on May 27 and May 28 -- for the Grand Prix. Other ports of call include Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes and Spain's Cartagena and Malaga.

SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream I runs a five-night cruise round trip from Nice, overnighting on May 28 -- the culmination of the Grand Pix -- in Monaco, with an optional ticket package available for that race. Star Clippers' Royal Clipper, meanwhile, offers two departures that feature Grand Prix festivities: For the race trials, board the May 20 round trip cruise from Cannes and tour the French Riviera, Corsica and Monaco. Alternately, you can book Royal Clipper's May 27 round trip Cannes sailing for the Grand Prix Final, with stops in Portofino and Sardinia, Italy, as well as Corsica, Porquerolles and Sanary-sur-Mer in France. Bonus: The May 20 departure winds down in Cannes on May 27, the same day that the next sailing starts up -- perfect timing to catch the Cannes Film Festival (see more Cannes Film Festival sailings below).

May 2017 Monaco Cruises


Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

The Event

Few film festivals embody the glamor and sophistication of the silver screen scene, with its many international stars and starlets, like the French Riviera's ode to cinema: the Cannes Film Festival. The event has been held annually since 1946 and is running from May 17 through 28 in 2017. Visitors to Cannes during the festival period can try to catch a glimpse of the star-studded events that unfold along the red carpet of the Palais des Festivals, or check out the imprints of some 150 stars' hands at the Allee des Etoiles (Walk of the Stars).

The Cruises

For double-dipping on glitzy French Riviera goings-on, several of the above-mentioned Monaco Grand Prix sailings also call in Cannes right in time for the fabulous film fest, though note you'll likely have to make independent arrangements for any festival tickets or events, which aren't typically part of the cruise lines' excursions offerings. Silversea's Silver Spirit includes an overnight stay for two full days in Cannes during the film fest (May 24 through 25). Windstar's Grand Prix-inclusive itinerary on Star Breeze also calls on Cannes for a day (May 24) during the festival; Star Breeze's seven-night sailing just prior to this one, from Barcelona to Rome (embarking May 16), also gets cruisers into Cannes for the film festival on May 20. Ditto for Fred. Olsen's Black Watch sailing, which pulls into Cannes for a late-night call on May 26.Likewise, SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream I hits both events on its five-night sailing round trip from Nice, with a late-night port call in Cannes scheduled on May 27.

May 2017 Cannes Cruises


America's Cup

The Event

For those that love all things sailing, the prestigious America's Cup regatta -- yachting's biggest prize since 1851 -- is an event that's not to be missed. See sailing superstars in action, as match races pair up some of the planet's most skillful sailors and most sophisticated yacht designs to determine the winner of the year's coveted trophy. In 2017, the event unfolds in Bermuda, spanning a month from May 26 to June 27.

The Cruises

A couple of lines are running America's Cup cruises through Bermuda in time for the yacht races. Sign up for Celebrity's "Sailing's Biggest Regatta" nine-night cruise out of New York City aboard Celebrity Summit, which will get you docked in King's Wharf, Bermuda, for four whole days (June 22 through 25) of race-primed fun. Norwegian is another good bet, with a seven-night round trip itinerary out of Boston on Norwegian Dawn, which docks in Bermuda for three days. Several weekly departures in May and June overlap with the Cup's scheduled races.

May 2017 Bermuda Cruises


The British Open

The Event

Attending the British Open is a rite of passage for many golf fans. It's the oldest of four major golf championships and a most coveted ticket, following The Masters and the U.S. Open and leading up to the PGA Championship. The contest celebrates its 146th anniversary in 2017 (July 16 through 23) at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.

The Cruise

If you're looking for a British Open cruise in 2017, one option is Celebrity's 12-night "British Isles & The Open" voyage aboard Celebrity Silhouette that departs Amsterdam on July 18. Sign up for rounds of golf, as well as excursions to the Open, which is accessible via a 20-minute drive from the port at Liverpool, England. (The line hosts a guided and chauffeured excursion to the event.) There will also be onboard golf clinics, and in years past, the line has brought aboard guest golf pros (details for 2017 are TBA). For those only mildly interested in golf, the tournament will be broadcast on the ship, too. Another good choice is Azamara's 13-night British Open voyage, sailing from Southampton, England, to Leith, Scotland, on Azamara Journey, with stops along the way at several ports in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The golf-themed voyage, organized by the line's golf travel partner PerryGolf, will get passengers tickets to the final round at the Open as well as six rounds of golf en route.

July 2017 Liverpool Cruises


Highland Dances at Edinburgh Tattoo.

Edinburgh Tattoo

The Event

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (August 4 to 26, 2017) takes place at historic Edinburgh Castle and is one of Scotland's most significant cultural events. More than 1,200 performers come from around the globe to present music, dance, military pageantry and more. The nightly event is capped off with a regal fireworks display. Among the 2017 performers are the famed Massed Pipes and Drums, as well as the Massed Bands of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.

The Cruises

Celebrity Cruises comes to the table this year with a 12-night "British Isles Cruise." This round trip voyage out of Amsterdam features two days in Edinburgh for the festival. Once there, cruisers opting for one of Celebrity's shore excursions can get Front Stand (or Side Stand) seating for the exciting ceremonial performance that includes military bands, pipe and drum corps and traditional dancers. The sailing continues on to Liverpool, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Dublin and Cork, Ireland; and Brussels, Belgium.

Another good option is Crystal Cruises' 12-night voyage from Antwerp, Belgium, to Honfleur, France, on Crystal Symphony, which docks for two nights (August 5 through 7) in Edinburgh in time for the festivities. Holland America also runs a 14-night "Northern Isles" sailing round trip from Amsterdam on Koningsdam; the ship stays for two days in Edinburgh during Tattoo time, on August 8 and 9.

August 2017 Edinburgh Cruises


New York Fashion Week

The Event

Don your finest duds and make way to what's the fashion epicenter of the world during New York Fashion Week, a biannual model- and media-packed event held in Manhattan each February and September. See the beautiful people strut their stuff as the biggest names in fashion unveil their freshest collections in one of the most important fashion shows in the world, rivaling only those held in Paris, London and Milan.

The Cruise

Cunard Line's art deco-inspired Queen Mary 2 oozes style and good taste -- a fitting venue for its Fashion Week-themed "Transatlantic Crossing Fashion Week " sailing, scheduled to coincide with the September event. Sail on a nine-night voyage from Hamburg, with a stopover in Southampton, U.K., before crossing the Atlantic to New York. En route, the itinerary focuses on all things fashion and glamour, hosting a slate of special catwalk fashion shows and exhibitions, plus guest lectures, workshops and hosted dinners with the likes of fashion journalist and style commentator Colin McDowell and fashion designer Julien Macdonald. The ship pulls into port on September 7, just in time for New York Fashion Week's kickoff on the same day. (The show runs through September 15.)

September 2017 NYC Cruises


Melbourne Cup

The Event

The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia's major thoroughbred horse races, called "the race that stops a nation." Cup Day (November 7, 2017) is a public holiday in the state of Victoria, where the race is held, and it's celebrated by many Australians nationwide. Racing fans looking for a more social experience can book special dining and entertainment packages. There's even a "fashions on the field" contest in which the best-dressed women on the course can win cash prizes.

The Cruise

Three ships in P&O Australia's fleet -- Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Explorer -- will offer Melbourne Cup cruises in 2017. Pacific Jewel and Pacific Explorer are both departing round trip from Sydney on November 4 for six-night sailings that dock in Melbourne during the race and include transfers and tickets to the event. Pacific Dawn offers the same inclusions and departure date, but it embarks from Brisbane for a seven-night round trip sailing. Carnival's Carnival Spirit departs Sydney for a six-night round trip sailing on November 5, three days of which it will dock in Melbourne, including the main race day on November 7.

November 2017 Melbourne Cruises

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