In this world where generic is considered passé and niche is all the rage, many industries are making that leap to anything and everything themed. Name it, there’s a theme for it: Broadway-themed weddings, Disney Princess-inspired birthday parties, and even those Hello Kitty-themed airplanes of Eva Air.
Cruises have jumped on the bandwagon and many liners now offer themed cruises, some in sync with the trip’s itinerary and others just plain out of this world. One thing’s for sure: these themes cater to only specific markets, so tourists will be happy to know that they will be in the company of co-travelers who share the same passions and interest as themselves. Here’s a run-down of the most amusingly unique cruises out there.
12 Ice Bar
An ice bar on a cruise around the cold Norwegian seas is such a cliché. But the concept is cutely campy just the same. Called the Svedka Ice Bar, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic treats its guests to some hard drinks and ambient music in a -17 degree atmosphere. The furniture is made of blocks of ice, but no worries. Guests are handed thick parkas and gloves at the door to protect them from the chill of the ice bar.
11 Bon Appetit Culinary Center
Foodies and cooking enthusiasts will enjoy the Bon Appetit Culinary Center aboard a couple of the Oceania Cruises’ ships. The centers contain 12 cooking stations that can accommodate a maximum of two students each. The chef instructors roam around, ready to impart their expert knowledge to anyone and everyone who wants to whip up dishes, from the simple to the fancy.
10 Grass on the high seas
Grass on the sea is unheard of. But grass on a cruise ship? There’s such a thing! Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-class ships have half an acre of real grass growing on their decks. In the grass, the passengers can partake of picnics, golf-putting or maybe a friendly game of croquet. Some of the ships even offer cabanas for rent, as well as hammocks and lounge chairs.
9 The chocaholic cruise
Back in 2008, the first ever cruise for chocolate lovers was introduced to the market. Six celebrity dessert chefs went onboard to give baking classes for delectable chocolate dishes like chocolate cakes, truffles, and healthy chocolate treats. Aside from whipping up mouth-watering treats, there were also chocolate tastings and chocolate-themed parties aboard the cruise.
8 Dare to be bare
For those who have no qualms about shedding their clothing in front of other people while on vacation, Bare Necessities Tour and Travel offers nude cruises. Yes, the passengers have the option to walk around the ship in their birthday suits. They can partake of various activities, such as yoga, scuba diving, and even land trips to private islands. Everything is permitted in the nude—except that is, while eating meals at the ship’s restaurants, for hygiene purposes!
7 Shakespeare at sea
Yes, there was a cruise for lovers of the Bard. Geek Cruises tied up with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and came up with a Shakespeare-themed cruise going around Aruba and the Panama Canal. Performers from the festival came aboard to treat guests to spectacular theatrical shows on the works of the English playwright. Aside from the live shows, lectures were also given by Shakespearean experts along with showings of the films, King Lear and Hamlet to aid the discussion guides.
6 Check mate!
Geek Cruises truly lives up to its goal to bring geeky-themed travel packages to its passengers. The company offered 75 chess enthusiasts a seven-day Caribbean journey with three chess grandmasters onboard to give lessons and lectures on developing chess strategies. After learning the moves, exhibitions and speed chess games were offered, culminating with a tournament attended and oversaw by the grandmasters.
5 A creepy cruise
Who enjoys the thrills of putting oneself in the throes of the haunted and supernatural? This cruise along the River Thames is for you. The Thames has seen many a historical event and English mystery novelist Richard Jones leads this one-week journey for eight exclusive guests. The cruise follows the travails of the infamous Jack the Ripper and notoriously haunted places like Hampton Court, which is said to house the ghost of one of Henry VIII’s many wives.
4 Knitting onboard
Nope, knitting isn’t just done at home in a rocking chair anymore while wrapped in a shawl. Knitting is now available on the high seas, with a Norwegian Cruise Line ship offering a knitting-themed cruise to 100 enthusiasts. Passengers can travel to Belize and Honduras while getting lessons from five knitting experts, who hold a two-day workshop aboard the ship. Every day, passengers are encouraged to make a new garment, from scarves to hats to gloves. Talk about instant souvenirs!
3 Surf’s up!
If you thought that surfing can only be done on the beach or in an indoor pool with simulated waves, think again. Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship has a FlowRider surf simulator which makes waves while the ship cruises along its itinerary. Passengers can practice as much as they want onboard so that when the ship docks in one of the designated ports, they can try actual surfing on the port’s shores.
2 Cruising below
If you want to take the cruise experience to the next level, try it a level below—through a submarine. Atlantis Submarines offers an extreme underwater experience in Waikiki, Hawaii in the world’s most massive recreational submarine, the Atlantis XIV. Passengers will descend 100-feet below the surface to look at the breathtaking marine life up close, but in the safety and confines of the air-tight vessel.
1 Ahoy, dog lovers!
With the number of pet enthusiasts in North America, it’s no wonder they didn’t think of a dog-themed cruise sooner! Luxury cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas, offers dog lovers this one-of-a-kind cruise experience with fellow dog enthusiasts as the ship cruises around the Pacific Islands. Some of the activities onboard include seminars on dog training, canine characteristics and behavior, and how to breed dogs. But ironically, no dogs are allowed aboard the ship!