Imagine sailing with your favorite television performer, Michelin-star chef or athlete. It might sound far-fetched, but cruises that let fans get up close and personal with celebrities (dubbed theme or fan cruises) are actually quite common.
A number of cruise lines have teamed up with big names to offer special sailings for devotees. Celebrity Cruises annually hosts contestants from Bravo TV's "Top Chef," while Princess Cruises huddled Seattle Seahawks fans for a 2015 cruise with current and former players. But brand partnerships aren't the only "backstage passes."
Charter companies also offer their fair share of options. These theme cruises have run the gamut from TV show tributes like AMC's "The Walking Dead" and HGTV's "Property Brothers," to concerts at sea, with specific bands such as the Backstreet Boys or a series of artists (New England Patriots' tight end Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski hosted Flo Rida, Waka Flocka Flame and "party music" icons on his first-ever theme cruise in 2016).
If you want to mix up your usual vacation routine, unleash your inner fan child or simply take your passion to the high seas, here are six cruises with celebrities you don't want to miss.
Editor's Note: Some of the following cruises might sell out. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck. Check to see if your desired cruise offers a waitlist; a new spot opens each time there's a cancellation. And keep an eye out for future cruises.
Fans of AMC's "The Walking Dead" have another chance to meet their favorite zombie apocalypse survivors. The second annual Walker Stalker Cruise kicks off February 2017 onboard Norwegian Pearl. In addition to appearances by Norman Reedus (Daryl), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan -- okay, maybe he's not your favorite), Chandler Riggs (Carl) and other stars, expect lots of gore and impromptu selfies -- as long as you can outrun the "walkers." Other highlights include Q&As, concerts, autograph sessions and a stop at the cruise line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay.
Miami-born rapper and Latino heartthrob, Pitbull, has a new reason for fans to yell, "Dale!" Mr. Worldwide will headline his first-ever After Dark Party cruise in March 2017, and it's exactly what you'd expect: lots of music, high energy and booty-shaking. The cruise, which takes place on Norwegian Pearl, will include two Pitbull concerts, a private beach party on Norwegian's own Great Stirrup Cay, a Q&A session with Pitbull and dance boot camp hosted by Pitbull's backup dancers.
Hosted by Sulu himself, the Star Trek cruise will boldly go where no man has gone before. Fans on one of two back-to-back Caribbean cruises in January 2018 will join a stellar lineup -- including George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), Brent Spiner (Lieutenant Commander Data), Levar Burton (Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge), Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) and Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) -- for a series of celebrity-hosted comedy shows, meet-and-greets, competitions and other themed events. Certain areas of Norwegian Pearl will also get a temporary futuristic makeover. Considering the Star Trek cruise? Here's what you need to know.
Take the convention fun to sea! On the Comic Con cruise, you can geek out with your favorite stars under the Caribbean sun. Join celebrities from comic-turned-movie "Guardians of the Galaxy," AMC's "The Walking Dead" and Netflix's "Stranger Things," as well as renowned comics, writers and artists. The cruise, hosted on Brilliance of the Seas in January 2017, will treat fans to panels and presentations from the cast members and creators, meet-and-mingle cocktail parties, dinner and a movie with Frank Miller, autographs and photo opportunities. Don't forget to pack your cape: the best cosplay wins a $1,500 grand prize.
Mainstream punk rock fans, rejoice. The first-ever Warped Tour cruise is slated for the 2017 Halloween weekend -- and "Emo Nights" are only the beginning of what's in store. Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, The Starting Line and other bands will take over Norwegian Pearl for a series of concerts, Q&As, autograph sessions and other themed activities. An exclusive Warped team-hosted shore excursion in Cozumel also is in the works.
French celebrity chef Jacques Pepin is not only Oceania Cruises' executive culinary director, but also has starred on a number of TV shows, including "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home" with Julia Child. In June 2017, he'll be onboard Oceania's Marina to host lectures, meet-and-greets, book signings, cooking demos and more while the ship makes its way from London to Copenhagen. Passengers also will be treated to specially designed menus.
Belinda Carlisle, Colin Hay (Men at Work) and Men Without Hats are only a few of the performers headlining the '80s Cruise on Celebrity Summit. Rocking big hair and neon spandex, '80s-lovers can enjoy concerts day and night as well as myriad themed activities such as costume parties, "Let's Get Physical" aerobics and Q&A sessions with the artists. Although no official meet-and-greet has been announced, the charter company hints there's a good chance you might run into one of your teenage celebrity crushes onboard. The cruise sets sail February 2017 and includes stops in Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios.
If these aren't the stars you're hoping to meet at sea, check out Cruise Critic's Theme Cruise section to see if your favorite celebrity is cruising anytime soon.