You’ve probably got that skeptic in your life. You know, the guy who rolls his eyes when you mention your upcoming cruise vacation, or your pal who says she just “couldn’t imagine” spending all that time “trapped on a boat.”
Mention that the cruise offers the opportunity to hang out with a legend of rock or sports star, and your buddy might quickly change his tune.
Theme cruises have a way of bringing first-timers to sea, Joyce Landry, co-founder and CEO of Landry & Kling, Events at Sea, said.
Perhaps that’s because few opportunities can bring you so close to celebrities or allow you to fully immerse yourself in the things about which you’re so passionate. Where else can you share that fervor with several thousand people?
Despite its reputation, theme cruising isn’t just for the Comic-Con set (fear not, fans, there’s plenty for you, too).
These sailing events have evolved and feature a range of themes, one of two of which surely might tickle your fancy.
(Booking for all cruises mentioned is still available as of publication)
Love rock? You can party with other like-minded fans while seeing your favorite legends on stage, including Foreigner, Kansas or 38 Special onboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas for the second annual Rock Legends Cruise II January 10-14, 2013.
Dig wine? AmaWaterways has come up with a handful of river cruises throughout 2013 that will take you on a tour through some of Europe’s top wine spots, including ports in France and Germany. Itineraries include activities such as a visit to the Wine Museum (who knew?) in Paris or onboard wine lectures, as well as numerous tastings in ports.
Dying to dine? Top Chef: The Cruise will take place April 11-15, 2013, onboard Celebrity Constellation. The event is hosted by chefs/TV personalities Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and it will feature many of the chefs from Bravo’s hit TV series.
Crazy about sports? Even ESPN is getting into the game. The network dubs itself the “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” but can it capture the cruising market, too? It’s banking on it.
Starting in 2013, ESPN International is launching several sports-themed events at sea. To kick things off, the ubiquitous sports and entertainment champ is throwing its hat into the football — and futball — arena with two themed Caribbean cruises that set sail February 2, the day before that great American holiday: Super Bowl Sunday.
To capture the international market, though, ESPNatSea is bringing aboard a guest list that combines the U.S. passion for the NFL and the international thirst for soccer. Featured guests include former NFL players Mark Duper and Mark Clayton, former U.S. women’s national soccer team captain Julie Foudy and ESPN soccer commentator Tommy Smyth.
Jewel of the Seas will sail a five-night ESPNatSea itinerary February 2-7 out of Tampa; Oasis of the Seas will sail a seven-night itinerary February 2-9 out of Fort Lauderdale.
While theme cruises are a great way to break in first-time cruisers, Landry said they also draw repeat business. Once someone has booked one theme cruise, they’re likely to come back next year to do it again.
Count Cruise Critic member vickiw0318 as a repeat customer.
“DH and I went last year and are back again for this one too,” she wrote of the Rock Legends sailing on the Meet & Mingle board.
Have you done a theme cruise? Would you like to? Tell us about it in the comments section.
Find out what theme cruises are on the horizon for 2013.
Meet other theme cruise enthusiasts on our message boards.
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