The Best Themed Cruises You’ll Want to Book ASAP
Whether you want to learn more about art, wine, or history, hang with pro wrestlers, or are simply crazy for country crooners, there's a themed cruise out there that will float your boat and allow you to set sail with like-minded vacationers.
For cat lovers
Yes, we know how much you love your kitty. So how much fun would it be to sail away on one of these themed cruises with a bunch of other feline enthusiasts? The Meow Meow Cruise lets you do just that. Departing on a Carnival Cruise ship from Tampa in October 2019, you’ll travel to the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico, over the five-day cruise. Along the way, you can participate in Meow Meow meet and greets, group dinners, even cat-themed trivia. One caveat: No pets allowed. “Unfortunately the little critters cannot join us,” the cruise organizer notes, “but we can send postcards home.”
For those with a need for speed
Back in the 1980s, Windstar Cruises introduced what they claim was the original themed experience, and travelers are still racing to book the Grand Prix package and fill staterooms of the Star Pride during the seven-day sail around Monaco and the Mediterranean. Formula One fans will definitely brake for a visit to the pit; seats at the Grand Prix’s time trials and final rounds; a cocktail reception and dinner with an automotive motif; and talks with a racing expert who serves as host. If you ask nicely, the captain might even let you take the wheel for a few photos once you’re back in open water. Find out the best cruise to book every month of the year.
For those with a permanent case of Saturday Night Fever
Grab your bellbottoms and your dancing shoes and get down for six nights aboard StarVista LIVE’s Ultimate Disco Cruise. Launching from Miami, Florida in February 2020 and heading to Key West and the Bahamas, the Celebrity Infinity will become a floating fiesta of feathered hair and flared collars, featuring a far-out lineup of the genre’s legends including KC and The Sunshine Band, the Commodores, and Sister Sledge. Disco diehards will dig rubbing elbows with them and Dance Fever/cruise host Deney Terrio at nightly concerts, karaoke, Donna Summer and ABBA tributes, live game shows, and costume parties.
For history buffs
Turn back time with a trip put together by American Cruise Lines. Their historic itinerary focuses on the American Revolution as you cruise around Virginia and Maryland via the Chesapeake Bay and travel to Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, Norfolk, Annapolis, and Washington, D.C. While you’re sailing between sites of important battles and George Washington’s home, Revolutionary War experts hold talks, reenactors add an extra layer of theme, and passengers chow down on the region’s famous crab cakes. Looking for something special to do during the holidays? You can book a special Colonial Christmas cruise along the American Revolution route in December 2019. The company also puts on popular journeys with historians and costumed impersonators, spotlighting Lewis & Clark’s explorations along the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest and the Civil War along the mighty Mississippi. Here are some more river cruises around the United States that you’ll love.
Sixthman and former WWE superstar Chris Jericho liked it, so they put a ring on it. A cruise ship, that is. The Norwegian Pearl will host 2020’s edition of the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea: Part Deux as it drifts between Miami and Nassau in the Bahamas. There will be plenty of piledrivers and clotheslines during the Sea of Honor tournament at the outdoor ring, but this testosterone-filled trip goes beyond the mat with performances from musicians like Fozzy, Light the Torch, and the Killer Queens; hobnobbing with wrestling superstars like “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Brandi Rhodes, and Jungle Boy; live podcasts; and a casino. To recover from long nights of trash-talking, fanboys and girls can hit a different kind of mat during three sessions of DDP Yoga with the flexible founder himself, Diamond Dallas Page.
For hoedowns on the high seas
Put country before the party, as well as during and after the party, on a western music-themed odyssey. Unfortunately for fans of musically themed cruises, the raucous Outlaw Country Cruise is already sold out for 2020. But the Country Music Cruise ship will launch in Fort Lauderdale next January, swing by St. Maarten, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, and feature music by The Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Owen, and the Gatlin Brothers. There will also be cooking demonstrations, line dancing lessons, and a special edition of the Grand Ole Opry.
For wine enthusiasts
Whether you’re a casual imbiber or schooled sipper, you won’t get bore-deauxed on AmaWaterways‘ wine-specific river cruises through famed French appellations. Visit historic and elegant chateaus. Taste sweet Sauternes and bold reds in Médoc. Eat your way through market day in Libourne. Bike and hike through sprawling vineyards and postcard-worthy towns like Saint-Émilion and Blaye. Wander the hallowed halls and tech-savvy exhibits of the decanter-shaped wine museum La Cité du Vin. Then, when back on the boat where it’s always wine o’clock, attend presentations by the resident winemaker, usually picked from the grape groves of Napa (which incidentally shares several similar geographical characteristics with these French regions) to put everything you’ve seen and swirled into perspective. More vintages are poured in the lounge to entice cruisers to come to class instead of taking a nap.
People who go crazy about wool will delight in this opportunity to see part of South America, one of the world’s largest producers of natural fibers. During this 22-day cruise that starts in January 2020, you’ll get to tour the yarn markets of Buenos Aires and see sheep on the windswept Patagonia plains, where you can learn from shepherds. While onboard, you can refine your knitting skills and bond with fellow enthusiasts. The final perk? You’ll get to be one of the few people to visit Antartica, where you can see penguins up close.
For those curious about their family tree
While motoring across the pond in the Queen Mary 2, families can do a deep dive into their lineage with the help of Cunard and ancestry.com. A Journey of Genealogy, which will take place in August 2020, marks the second collaboration between the cruise line and the largest online family history resource in the world. Guests will leave from Southampton, England, and arrive in New York City during the seven-night transatlantic crossing. Timed to the 400th anniversary of the historic Mayflower voyage, the cruise will feature experts from Ancestry to help passengers trace their family trees. Listen to lectures and attend Q&As, or mingle in the QM2‘s many galleys and bars.
For those who can take a joke
Next February’s Impractical Jokers Cruise from Tampa to the Bahamas promises to revolutionize your life and change the way you look at everything. Just kidding. That’s a lot to ask from themed cruises. The only thing you should expect from this comedy cruise helmed by the stars of truTV’s Impractical Jokers is laughter and lots of it. The Tenderloins (Sal, Joe, Q, and Murr) will stock the Norwegian Pearl with top-notch talent whose sole goal is to tickle funny bones at endless comedy sets, meet-and-greets, improv performances, and even in line at the buffet or on the shuffleboard court. Check out more all-inclusive cruises that will give you the best vacation ever.
For serious foodies
Culinary-centric programming shows up on almost every major carrier, but a few go above and beyond when it comes to gourmet getaways. Windstar serves up eight food-filled voyages in a variety of regions yearly, in conjunction with the James Beard Foundation, that include market tours with a guest chef and beverage expert, wine-paired meals, cooking demos, menus that highlight local delicacies, and shore excursions that are cuisine-oriented. Holland America teamed up with America’s Test Kitchen to provide caloric content on cruises for foodies. Cast members from the beloved cooking series put on live shows, host hands-on lessons and Q&As, sign their books, give a multi-media presentation on recipe development, and test their kitchen knowledge at trivia.
For aspiring painters
Ever wanted to travel to beautiful landscapes and paint your own watercolors? Then try Uniworld’s Floating Art Workshops in Europe. While you travel around the Rhine (Frankfurt to Cologne), or Paris, artist Larry Aaron, whose work has been shown in galleries in New York and at Art Basel, will teach you how to draw a charcoal portrait and paint a watercolor in a small class setting.
For dance floor divas and dudes
Next January, get your life back on track with the Soul Train Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. The Jacksons, the Isley Brothers, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle, and other R&B favorites will make passengers feel the rhythm of the tropical nights. Dust off your moves and boogie down alongside original Soul Train dancers. Go behind the music at Q&As and cocktail receptions. Raise the roof during Gospel Hour, snicker satisfyingly at the comedy club, and pay respects at the Barry White tribute. You might experience some positive side effects by choosing a music-themed cruise. Learn the secrets cruise lines won’t tell you.
Always wanted a front-row seat at Fashion Week? You can check out the latest designs during Transatlantic Fashion Week 2020. Going into its fifth year, the transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 will host American designers James Badgley and James Mischka, who have dressed celebs from Oprah to Taylor Swift. In a first, their line Badgley Mischka will launch the latest collection onboard the ship. This themed cruise will also include hosted dinners and catwalk shows featuring work from emerging designers. You’ll sail from Southampton in England to New York City. Be sure to pack your fanciest outfits, as there will be plenty of opportunities to dress up.
For the art smart
Learn about the Land Down Under and its Indigenous art scene through a small-ship expedition to Australia’s remote northern coast with Coral Expeditions. Departing from Cairns next September, the voyage visits Cape York and Arnhem Land art communities like Yirrkala, Maningrida, Elcho Island, and Badu Island with artist-in-residence Brian Robinson. The Torres Strait artist will educate guests about the communities, art techniques, songlines, and stories that shaped the country and will host workshops on traditional carving, printmaking, sketching, and weaving. He will be joined by a naturalist who will provide more context on how the region’s flora, fauna, geology, and management issues have affected Aboriginal art, culture, and history. The company also offers a trip that explores Australian cuisine on the same route, as well as itineraries that center around bushwalking in Tasmania and the Sydney to Hobart Race for sailing hobbyists.
For hero worshippers and friends of Mickey
Given what they do with movies and theme parks, you can trust the Disney Cruise Line to deliver fun for the whole family (if you dare celebrate a holiday while on holiday) with Halloween on the High Seas. Costume up for the Mouse-querade party. Brave hearts can join a mysterious sea captain for scary stories under the stars or groove along with a ghost band. Jack Skellington and Sally visit the Nightmare Before Christmas scream-along screening and the rest of your favorite characters will join you for servings of spooky juice and spider cakes. Select 2019 voyages will also cater to superhero and Star Wars lovers big and small. The Avengers, from Black Panther to the Winter Soldier, reign supreme during Disney Magic‘s Marvel Day, which leaves from Miami, while new Jedis are trained during Star Wars Day on certain Disney Fantasy sailings from Port Canaveral. Both have action-packed deck shows and out-of-this-world character interactions.
For outer space enthusiasts
For the inside scoop on what’s going on in distant galaxies, you’ll appreciate World Space Week cruises. You’ll set sail on the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton, England, to New York City. Trips are scheduled for September 2019 and October 2020. The transatlantic voyages will feature talks by Dr. Dan Wilkins, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and German astronaut and physicist Ulrich Walter. They’ll explain what you’re seeing in the night sky. You’ll also get to partake in space-themed experiences in the ship’s planetarium.
Finally, if clothing-optional vacationing is more your thing, we’ve got a cruise for you. As of next year, the Big Nude Boat will have been “bare cruising” for three decades. You can help celebrate on a cruise in February 2020. The Carnival Freedom leaves from Tampa, stops in Key West, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which is known for its spectacular coral reefs, the still wild island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras, and Cozumel before returning to Tampa, where, presumably, you’ll have to put some clothes on.