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Different Strokes

May 4, 2011 By: Susan Young Travel Agent

Norwegian Epic
NCL’s Norwegian Epic will host a Nickelodeon All Access cruise for families during its Mediterranean sailing starting July 24.

From cooking to whales and history, themed cruises create excitement.

Whether your clients love whales, can’t wait to view ancient ruins, or want to become top chefs, they’ll likely discover oceangoing cruises to indulge their personal passions and hobbies. Here is a sampling of some of the latest themed offerings for 2011 and early 2012.

Ancient Worlds

Variety Cruises will embark on an eight-day Ancient Civilizations of Eastern Mediterranean program in January 2012. The voyages—aboard 49-passenger, three-masted sailing ship, Panorama, which was renovated in 2009—explore Cyprus, Syria, Israel and Egypt.

Guests can embark at either Larnaca, Cyprus, or Port Said, Egypt, for the new cruise. The first cruise from Larnaca sets sail on January 23 and the last on April 2, while the first from Port Said leaves on January 30 and the last on April 9.

Clients may book such optional excursions as a visit to Palmyra, Syria, with its walkable ruins of a magnificent Roman city in the desert. In Limassol, Cyprus, passengers will discover a treasure trove of Byzantine art, while during a port call at Haifa, Israel, guests may visit Nazareth and explore the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Motivational Tales 

On Crystal Cruises’ 12-day Klondike Explorer voyage to Alaska on June 2, NFL pros will quarterback an Inspiring Guest Speaker Series on Crystal Symphony.

Slated to speak to guests are Don Shula, the famed only “perfect season” coach in NFL history, as well as Jim Tunney, a 30-year NFL officiating veteran, also known as the “Dean of NFL Referees.”

Port calls on the San Francisco roundtrip include Victoria and Vancouver, B.C., as well as Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, AK.

Creativity Rocks

If clients love to show their creativity and learn new skills, MSC Cruises has several fun Arts and Crafts cruises this year. These include an 18-night voyage on MSC Poesia sailing September 10, and seven-night cruise on MSC Sinfonia sailing October 15.

Guests participate in workshops, short talks and demonstrations with skilled arts and crafts teachers. They may paint scarves, make a “ship in a bottle,” create marine art, paint Zodiac T-shirts, or learn the art of decoupage.

There are also classes or demonstrations in how to mix drinks, practice good table etiquette, learn Italian, dance the mambo or use digital cameras. Certificates are awarded upon completion of the programs.

Wild About Whales

If whales are a passion, clients may enjoy the Giants of the Deep whale-watching-themed cruisetour itinerary on Hurtigruten’s Nordlys this summer. The program starts in Bergen, Norway, with a one-night pre-cruise stay, followed by an eight-night Norwegian coastal cruise that calls at such ports as Kirkenes, Trondheim and Bodo.

Accompanying guests on this tour is marine biologist Prof. Dr. Boris Culik, who has participated in more than 20 expeditions to the Antarctic, Chile, Mexico and Canada to study penguins, whales and porpoises. 

Titanic Remembered 

A century after Titanic set sail on its maiden and final voyage, another historic cruise will depart New York City on April 10, 2012: Azamara Club Cruises’ eight-night themed charter voyage on the Azamara Journey.

Also comemmorating that event is Fred.Olsen Cruise LinesBalmoral, which will sail on its Titanic Memorial Cruise charter from Southampton, England; its cabins sold out last October. 

Azamara Journey will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, which has a connection with the Titanic disaster. One excursion option is to visit Fairview Lawn Cemetery where many unclaimed victims of the sinking are buried.

Culinary Traditions

Silversea Cruises is operating 10 voyages this year that feature the popular Relais & Châteaux L’École des Chefs interactive cooking school. Among those is a 16-day Silver Wind voyage between Athens and Dubai that begins on November 11.

The program has a special culinary curriculum and events hosted by Silversea culinary trainer David Bilsland. Educated in classic French cooking, Bilsland spent several years of his career as a chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London.

Highlights include specialized workshops that cover everything from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to sauces and baking, cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions.

Designed for Families  

On July 24, Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Nickelodeon All Access Cruise, an exclusive themed cruise with Nickelodeon-themed entertainment for families every day of the week during the western Mediterranean Norwegian Epic sailing from Barcelona.

During this cruise, the ship will call at Livorno (for Florence/Pisa); Civitavecchia (for Rome); and Naples, as well as Palma on Majorca, Spain. Travel agents may call 866-234-5610 to book.

Antiquing Afloat

Clients will learn the value of their vintage treasures on a Dr. Lori cruise; the certified antiques appraiser and celebrity TV speaker will appear on Celebrity Summit’s 14-night Canada and New England cruise on September 25.

Dr. Lori reviews approximately 20,000 objects a year and has a Ph.D. in art history. Appraisal events for passengers will be held in the onboard theater. Each guest who attends may have his or her items appraised personally by Dr. Lori. Captain’s Club members also may participate in private events.

O Sole Mio

Have a client who’s an opera lover? Regent Seven Seas’ 10-night Spotlight on Theater departure from Venice to Monte Carlo on September 29 may be a good choice for those with a passion for this performing art.

Presentations and operatic performances onboard Seven Seas Voyager will relate to the ports of call. Passengers will explore the lives, loves and music of Puccini, Verdi, Bellini and other famous Italian composers.

Want to promote any of these themed cruises and more? One resource is, which allows agents to list their upcoming themed cruise offerings on a searchable site, so consumers seeking a particular theme can find all relevant voyages. 

MSC’s Arts and Crafts
Aboard MSC’s Arts and Crafts cruises, guests can pick up a trick or two in decoupage.


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About the Author

Susan Young
A veteran of 100-plus cruises, Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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By Susan Young | May 4, 2011
Now, cruises are not just about the ships and itineraries but themes, too.