Most cruise ships will put on celebrations for Christmas and Hanukkah and bring on clergy for major holidays and world cruises; some will even carve out time in the weekly schedule for passenger-led worship services. But if you'd like to vacation with likeminded believers or add religious learning, culture or heritage to standard vacation activities, you'll need a faith-based theme cruise. Here's what you can expect to find when it comes to chartered sailings for Jews and Christians.
The most general Christian cruises bring spiritual leaders onboard to lead study and worship sessions and might visit holy sites in Europe and the Middle East. Several theme cruises are more specifically focused on Christian pop music, worship music and gospel with study sessions or lectures scheduled around the concerts. And if you're looking to find a special someone who shares your beliefs, Christian singles cruises bring together likeminded travelers for socializing and personal enrichment.
Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have their own cruises. Like the broader Christian cruises, these might offer visits to religiously significant destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Central America, as well as guest speakers, scripture study and social opportunities with fellow believers.
Jewish cruises take a slightly different approach from their Christian counterparts but share similarities. Many are kosher cruises, so those who follow Jewish dietary restrictions can enjoy a wide variety of food choices while vacationing, or Passover cruises, on which the cruise organizers take care of all the cleaning and cooking needs associated with that holiday.
For Jewish travelers who aren't that observant, there are many Jewish heritage cruises, often on European rivers that flow through Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as cruises to Israel and Egypt. Jewish singles cruises bring together solos looking for love or friendship.