Theme cruises offer bounty of benefits

 
LA Times | Travel
 

Theme cruises -- showcasing everything from baseball to Big Bands -- typically offer talks, question & answer and autograph sessions with experts and celebrities, as well as topic-related activities and entertainment, thus adding both interesting pastimes and value to your voyage. Also, if you...

By Georgina Cruz // 02.03.09
 

Theme cruises -- showcasing everything from baseball to Big Bands -- typically offer talks, question & answer and autograph sessions with experts and celebrities, as well as topic-related activities and entertainment, thus adding both interesting pastimes and value to your voyage.

Also, if you'd love to sail but your significant other is lukewarm toward the idea , a theme cruise highlighting a topic of interest may entice him or her to sail with you. Here are some themed sailings on tap for 2009:

Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity offers wine-themed voyages with wine-related activities onboard and a variety of optional wine or food-and-wine shore excursions at the ports of call. One such wine-themed voyage is the Millennium's 12-night Pacific Northwest cruise from Vancouver to San Diego on Sept. 28 (rates start at $899). Visit www.celebritycruises.com.

Crystal Cruises –This line offers annual Wine & Food Experiences of Discovery cruises, that this year have been expanded to include cocktails and mixology curriculum. More than two dozens of experts in the fields of wine, food and cocktails will be onboard including Hawaiian restaurateur Sam20Choy, Master Sommelier Robert Bath and Tim Hollingsworth of The French Laundry. Highlights include new mixology demonstrations, new pastry classes, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and optional shore excursions focusing on wine and culinary specialties.

The wine and food cruises will be available on select Panama Canal, Asia, Northern and Western Europe and Caribbean voyages aboard the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony during 2009. One such voyage is Spices of the East, aboard the Crystal Symphony from Singapore to Dubai on May 1-17 (fares from $5,920).

Crystal has also announced a Big Band cruise with the Glenn Miller Orchestra from Miami to Lisbon on May 23. The voyage will offer daily live performances, evening dancing, swing dance lessons, music-themed lectures, trivia, and extra hosts to dance with unescorted ladies. Fares start at $3,540 per person, double. Marking a record 15th year voted "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" by readers of Conde Nast, travelers can take advantage of bonus savings up=2 0to $1,500 per couple, depending on stateroom selected. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.

Norwegian Cruise Line – NCL features several themed sailings each year and 2009 is no exception. Among the cruises is an Eastern Caribbean concert cruise: Cayamo: A Journey Through Song onboard the Norwegian Dawn Feb. 28-March 7. The sailing, from Miami, features such bands as Indigo Girls, Lyle Lovett, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, Shawn Colvin, Brandi Carlile and other performers. Fares start at $1,179. Visit www.cayamo.com or call 866-531-9605.

Silversea Cruises – Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea Cruises has announced a collection of 11 Wine Series voyages during 2009. Each of these sailings features tastings and lectures by vineyard owners, winemakers and wine professionals including California's Justin and Wente wineries, Italy's Castello Banfi and Chile's Santa Alicia winery. Optional shore excursions will take guests to some of the world's foremost wine-producing regions. One of the Wine Series voyages is on board the Silver Wind on July 6 from Lisbon to Monte Carlo. Onboard this 12-day sailing will be designer Salvatore Ferragamo, the owner and managing director of Il Borro estate, a winery in Tuscany, Italy. Rates start at $5,797.

Prefer golf? Silversea features 13 select golf-theme voyages with PGA-classed golf professionals who offer instruction and host excursions aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper in 2009. The Silver Links cruises offer optional golfing excursions in multiple ports (championship courses in 30 countries throughout the South Pacific, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Mexico).

Aboard ship, the golf pro organizes personalized instruction, group clinics, demonstrations, swing analysis and putting contests. Some group activities are complimentary; private swing analysis starts at $30 and private lessons also have a fee. One of the Silver Links voyages departs on Dec. 2 from Fort Lauderdale aboard the Silver Shadow. A nine-day Caribbean voyage, it offers opportunities to play golf at Casa de Campo's Teeth of the Dog (La Romana), at St. Lucia's Golf and Country Club and at Bardados' Sandy Lane Country Club in Bridgetown. Rates start at $3,657. Visit www.silversea.com.