When speaking of cruises, perhaps comedian Carol Leifer said it best when she said, “…And you thought you hated people on land.” She may have a point. When you’re on a ship you’re surrounded by people who think the greatest pleasure in life is a buffet and you can’t leave. Sure, there’s casinos, “Broadway Caliber Shows,” night clubs and, if you’re really lucky, rampant outbreaks of dysentery. To a lot of people under forty, cruises are something for your parents and grandparents.
Not surprisingly, cruise lines see this as a problem. Having your customers die out is not the best business plan. That’s why they came up with the idea of the theme cruise. A theme cruise is exactly that. The beginning ones were kind of generic like a 50’s themed cruise or a week out at sea with the baseball stars of your youth. Personally, I never saw the appeal of being stuck in a confined space with a sloppy drunk Mickey Mantle but different strokes. From there the whole theme cruise really took off.
Today there’s cruises where you can learn ballroom dancing, wine tasting and my personal favorite, conservative politics. There’s theme cruises for everything except the Titanic which, to me, seems like such a natural. The following are ten theme cruises that if I had to choose between attending or drowning, I’d say sharks, get ready for some food.
10. Paula Deen and Friends
Paula Deen may have had a couple of rough years with the whole racist comments, knowing she had diabetes but still pushing really unhealthy food and being a paid spokesman for a diabetic drug misunderstanding thing but you’d never know it if you attended one of her cruises.
There’s plenty of cooking demonstrations, a slot tournament, charity auctions, Paula Deen Cruise totebags, “The Newly Wed Game” with Paula and her husband (the brochure says it’s hilarious) and plenty of white people. There also seems to be not that much Paula Deen which I consider a good thing but people who shelled out $3,000 probably do not. If you’re in your forties and want to feel young, this is the cruise for you because the average age is sixty six.
9. Clothing Optional Homecoming Cruise
Just pray that this cruise doesn’t merge with the Paula Deen one. Everything is done in the nude including sunbathing, playing the slots, meals and limbo contests. Everything is nude except when you get into port because this is a classy cruise. I just feel bad for the poor schlub that has to clean the hot tubs. The brochure advises to bring plenty of sun block which makes sense because I can’t think of anyplace where I’d like least to get a sunburn.
One plus is that if you become friends with couples and you make plans to see them at home you can honestly say, this is the first time I’ve seen you with your clothes on. Oh, hilarity.
8. Great Gig In The Sky – Pink Floyd Themed Cruise
I find this one particularly sad because no, Pink Floyd doesn’t perform on this cruise. They’re not even on the cruise. You’re shelling your hard earned money to hear ThinkFloyd USA, a Pink Floyd cover band. But not just any Pink Floyd cover band. This one is approved by Dave Gilmour. There’s also trivia contests, elaborate light shows, theme parties and a full performance of “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Sadly, the only giant pig you’re likely to see is at the buffet but don’t forget to sign up for the “Us and Them” scavenger hunt. This is the kind of humor that kills on that cruise.
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek Cruise
I’m kind of surprised that they combined because both shows have large followings but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for your favorite shut-in. On the cruise you get to hobnob with celebrities like Denise Crosby, Garrett Wang and Emma Caulfield. What, you think Sarah Michelle Gellar would have anything to do with this? If they were smart, they’d hire Melissa Joan Hart to pretend to be Sarah Michelle Gellar.
There’s plenty of time for autographs, photos, costume contests and q & a’s like, “How did you get stuck doing this?” You also get to see blooper reels from both shows, just like the kind you see on DVDs. At night, watch the staff dress up as vampires and klingons.
6. Psychic Medium Cruise
If the promoters of this cruise were smart, they’d charge an exorbitant fee but tell passengers that they will come into a great sum of money after the trip. Sometimes I feel like I have to think up everything.
Seriously, how gullible do you have to be to fall for this one? Usually at a psychic show, the psychic has their assistants mingle with the audience in the lobby to get information to perpetuate the scam. That way, when the psychic asks if anyone in the audience has recently lost someone close to them with the letters a,e,i,o,u in their name, they know hands will shoot up. It’s got to be a lot easier to do this when the marks are trapped on a ship talking about why they came. My prediction is you will feel ripped off very, very soon.
5. Saw At Sea
Yup, a cruise devoted to the slasher movie “Saw.” What better way to enjoy your vacation then combining the fun of being on the ocean with the heart stopping terror of “the Jigsaw Killer?” Just like in the films, he traps his victims and forces them to endure tests but instead of playing for your life, you’re playing for a special limited edition “Saw Cruise” polo shirt.
The brochure advertises that Costas Mandylor will be on board as well as Dan Yeager who wasn’t actually in the “Saw” movies but was Leatherface in “Texas Chainsaw 3D.” Plus there’s mini-golf, individual photos with celebrities and volleyball tournaments. Again, it’s a shame we couldn’t combine this one with the Paula Deen cruise where the murderer would’ve been cholesterol instead of John Kramer.
4. Young Americans Foundation Cruise
Nothing says vacation more then conservative politics. Just think, ten fun filled days in the ocean with Ed Meese, Tim Pawlenty and former United States senator from the great state of Arizona, John Kyl. Just imagine the conversations couples must have on this one. “Honey, do you want to explore Puerto Vallarta?” ‘Sorry sweetie, but I really want to stay on the ship so I can listen to noted climate change denier and right wing nut job, Allen West.” Talk about your Sophie’s choices.
3. Mark Twain Tribute Cruise
Cruise up and down the Mississippi River with beloved American author, Mark Twain. You get to visit fun places like Hannibal, Missouri and see Twain’s childhood home. Dubuque and Davenport, Iowa are also fun stops along the way.
Of course there’s Mark Twain impersonator’s aplenty and readings from his books. There’s also a costume party where you come dressed as your favorite character from Mr. Twain’s books.
2. Radio Spirits of Old Time Radio with Greg Bell of Sirius XM
What do you get when you combine an all you can eat salad bar with old time radio? You get the “Radio Spirits of Old Time Radio With Greg Bell of Sirius XM” cruise. It is quite the mouthful.
Basically, the “entertainment” consists of host, Greg Bell, regaling the audience with anecdotes from old time radio like the time when Bill Conrad, who was the voice for Marshall Matt Dillon on the radio show “Gunsmoke,” auditioned to play the same part on TV. Conrad was short and pudgy and during the audition, he sat down in a barrel chair and when he stood up, the chair stuck. Needless to say, James Arness and not Bill Conrad got the part. Don’t get mad. It’s not my story.
There’s also recreations of old time radio shows involving you and your cruise mates with real professional sound effects. Somali pirates, where are we when we need you?
1. The Kiss Kruise
This one’s for people who want to gamble all night and play shuffleboard every day. Okay, maybe not. What you get is several Kiss concerts including one in full make-up and costumes and an acoustic show. Plenty of q & a with the band, personal photos of you and Kiss and a belly flop contest judged by Paul Stanley. There’s costume contests and several other bands are on board for those special moments that will have you’wanting to jump in shark infested waters to escape.
Here’s what your all inclusive price doesn’t include: alcohol, soft drinks, the spa, restaurant cover charges, gratuities and bowling. As far as I can tell, oxygen is free. They must be doing something right because they’ve already done four of these suckers and number five is on the way. No word yet if Peter Criss and Ace Frehley have ever successfully stowed away.