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Experiential Cruises: Find Your Niche

We’ve all heard about foodie cruises with celebrity chefs leading workshops and demonstrations, and of course fine food and wine are a focus on so many cruises – even if you don’t want to immerse yourself in the process. Chef encounters aren’t everyone’s dream though, and some cruise passengers may have felt a little left out in the past.

These days that’s definitely not the case – with an ever-increasing number of speciality and themed cruises, you’re sure to find a cruise that fits you perfectly and connects you with travellers who share your special interest.


Arts and Culture

Some of the more luxurious and exclusive cruises have created bespoke experiences around opera, theatre and the arts.

Queen Mary 2’s ballet cruise, departing on 11 August 2019, is a prime example. Seven days on board with the English National Ballet will of course include performances by one of the foremost touring companies in Europe, as well as the chance to attend rehearsals and even take some classes while crossing the Atlantic. There will no doubt also be opportunities to meet the dancers and gain some unique insights.

If opera is your passion, take a look at Silversea’s October 2020 ‘Enchanted Opera’ voyage which sails from Barcelona to Athens, calling at gorgeous ports such as Trapani, Valletta, Mykonos and Kusadasi along the way. Four soloists from Accademia Teatro alla Scala will be on board for the duration of the cruise, providing unique performances, lectures and interview sessions.

European Waterways also offers incredible opera cruises which include front stalls seats at Arena di Verona and take passengers on an exploration of theatres and historical marvels. The river cruise boat is a small and exclusive one, which carries 20 passengers and 6-10 crew.

There are various art cruises, with some specialising in styles or even specific artists.

For those who love film, there are also film festival cruises. Princess Cruises will be holding its 5th Sydney Film Festival cruise in December 2019 – a film festival at sea, hosted by a renowned film critic. You’ll also find cruise lines sailing to other top film festivals at destinations like Cannes and Toronto.


A good single malt

Wine tasting cruises are always popular, but if you prefer whisky there are plenty of options for you too! You can stay close to the Scottish coastline and visit top distilleries, or enjoy whisky tastings on the Mediterranean or the Baltic.

River cruises once again offer a different way to see the countryside and immerse yourself in the home of Scotch whisky. Hotel barges on Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal can be chartered for up to 12 passengers.


Music to your ears

All tastes in music can find a home on the oceans or rivers – there are musical theatre cruises, 80s and 90s music themes, jazz and blues, and many more. Some ships have created entire cruises around a specific artist or group!

In April 2019, Sir Tim Rice narrated an evening show on the Seabourn Sojourn, looking back at his career and much-loved hits from shows like Aladdin and The Lion King.


Fans and Fanatics

If you thought the above cruises were quite specialised, here are a few more examples that are completely changing all perceptions of cruises!

- Star Trek Cruise

- World Poker Tour 2019 (departs 1 September!)

- Strictly Come Dancing cruises – with the Strictly stars

- Meow Meow Cruise – for feline fans (cats won’t be allowed on board though)

- Golden Girls themed cruise

- Flat Earthers Cruise (The Telegraph noted the irony of this one, as the ship’s navigation system relies on a spherical Earth)

- Bird watching cruises

- Yoga and mind-body-spirit

- Bridge (the card game, not the structure)


There are so many more options, listing them all would take weeks! Whatever your passion, have a look around and it’s very likely you’ll find a cruise that specialises in it. We’d love to hear about any special interest cruises you have been on.