Rock cruises, Melbourne Cup cruises, food, wine and yoga -- different kinds of theme cruises give passengers the chance to combine their love of cruising with another passion or personal interest. Whether you enjoy photography, football, whisky or waltzing, there will almost certainly be a theme cruise to suit. With enhanced or specialised programming available onboard, specialty cruises have the added benefits of guest performances, themed events, lectures and hands-on classes. It's easy to strike up a conversation and make new friends when there are so many like-minded travellers onboard. You might even get to hang out with your idols in the bar after their evening show.
While the possibilities are diverse, this comprehensive guide to theme cruises in Australia and further afield gives details of scheduled sailings with enhanced or specialised programming for travellers with a range of different interests.
Below we list what's on offer for 2017 and beyond.
Theme: Rock the Boat
Dates: 16 October 2017
Details: See some of Australia’s rock and roll greats perform during this seven-night New Caledonia cruise on Radiance of the Seas. Artists such as Status Quo, Baby Animals, Jon Stevens, Jack Jones, Angry Anderson and The Radiators will pump out their greatest hits with live music morning, noon and night. Free rock ‘n’ roll dance lessons will also be provided throughout the cruise for everyone, from enthusiastic beginners to expert dance couples.
Theme: Electronic Dance Music Festival
Dates: 4 November 2017
Details: Set sail from Singapore for the world's second largest EDM cruise festival, which is being held on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas. Featuring international and Australian artists including Knife Party, Peking Duk and Mashd N Kutcher, the festival is being hosted by none other than David Hasselhoff, aka 'The Hoff'. Fans can share their love of dance music with some of the world's biggest EDM stars during this three-night cruise.
Theme: Bravo! -- Cruise of the Performing Arts
Dates: 31 October 2017
Details: One of history's greatest opera singers, Jose Carreras, will perform on Radiance of the Seas as part of his farewell world tour in 2017. Bringing together a stellar cast from musical theatre, opera and classical music, Carreras will headline this celebration of the performing arts, which showcases other leading artists and acts such as Australian singers Marina Prior and David Hobson, with TV identity, Ray Martin, onboard as a special guest. Featuring theme nights, autograph signings with the stars and a passenger choir led by noted choral conductor Jonathon Welch, this seven-night round-trip cruise visits the French-flavoured port of Noumea and the idyllic Isle of Pines before returning to Sydney.
Theme: Cruise N Groove: Elvis Presley
Dates: : 6 November 2018
Details: Take your ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ to the South Pacific on this seven-night Elvis-themed cruise featuring some of the world’s best impersonators. Fans can kick up their heels up at ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘Blue Hawaii’ parties and participate in Elvis trivia quizzes, Elvis and Priscilla lookalike contests, cooking events, artist meet and greets and fun photo opportunities. No passenger will be left ‘Crying in the Chapel’ as Vegas-style renewal of vows ceremonies will also be available for those who ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’.
Theme: P&O Australia's "Australian Open Cruise"
Dates: 17 January 2018
Details: Revel in the excitement of the Australian Open and soak up Melbourne’s top cultural sights during this five-night round-trip cruise from Sydney on Pacific Eden. With a two-day pass to the Australian Open, bus transfers to and from the grounds, onboard accommodation, main meals, entertainment and activities, this cruise is a must for tennis lovers. In partnership with Tennis Australia, P&O Australia passengers can upgrade their general admission ticket to Rod Laver Arena or Margaret Court Arena and watch the top seeds play.
Theme: Carnival Cruise Line's "Melbourne Cup Cruise"
Dates: 5 November 2017
Details: You'll be on a winner with this six-night round-trip Melbourne Cup cruise from Sydney onboard Carnival Spirit. With an itinerary packed with racing revelry to get you ready for the 'race that stops the nation', you will enjoy racing-themed onboard entertainment plus three days of racing festivities in Melbourne, including entry to the Emirates Melbourne Cup and admission to Crown Oaks Day. During the cruise passengers will experience a variety of special themed events, seminars and activities, including fashion presentations and panels hosted by racing industry experts. With plenty of expert advice ahead of race day, you'll be well placed to place your bets at the track.
Theme: Lindblad Expeditions' "Big Picture Alaska" Cruise
Dates: June and July 2018
Details: Take advantage of early morning and late evening light, the ‘magic hour’ for photographers, on this expedition journey which includes a mix of small-town life and the wild Alaskan landscape that surrounds it. Passengers on National Geographic's Sea Bird will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding subjects for photographs of the people, wildlife and natural beauty that make Alaska great. Photographic instructors on these voyages are qualified naturalists who can provide insights into the movements of native animals, helping passengers create truly dynamic shots of Alaska’s wildlife.
Theme: Aurora Expeditions’ "Polar Photography Masterclass Cruise"
Date: 25 November 2017
Details: Take your photography to the next level on this exclusive 19-night expedition cruise on Polar Pioneer led by award-winning National Geographic photographer Chris Bray. An extensive program of lectures, workshops, masterclasses and one-on-one sessions with Bray, plus assistance with equipment, creative approach and post-production techniques will help you capture that perfect shot. Whether you’re a professional photographer or simply enjoy taking stunning holiday snaps, this adventure is a photographer’s dream.
Fitness & Wellbeing Cruises
Theme: Marathon Expeditions' "Running Cruises"
Dates: 21 October 2017
Details: Run, walk or hike your way through France's picturesque Rhone and Saone Rivers on a running-themed cruise through the South of France. From Arles to Lyon, AmaDagio will call at Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne and Beaujolais. Runners will have a chance to hike the Alps, enjoy a picnic lunch and Van Gogh Tour, cycle along the ViaRhona route and run or walk along the Tour de France, among other activities.
Theme: Avalon Waterways' "Active Discovery River Cruise"
Dates: July to October 2017
Details: Get active on this eight-night cruise along the Danube with an itinerary designed for cruise-lovers who like to keep fit and have fun. As the ship travels from Linz to Budapest, passengers can hike along an old smugglers' route, bike to an ancient border defence near Mauthausen, paddle a canoe, take a jogging tour around Vienna, or attend a medieval knights' tournament in Visegrad. This theme cruise is ideal for younger passengers and those in search of a slightly different river cruise experience.
Theme: Silversea Expeditions' "Wellness Expedition Voyages"
Dates: 25 October 2017
Details: Nourish your mind, body and soul on this "Wellness Expedition Voyage" on Silver Discoverer, a journey from Port Vila to Cairns that improves passengers' wellbeing while they explore remote islands in the Solomons and Papua New Guinea. Silversea has partnered with Technogym, a leading company in the field of wellness and fitness, to create a program that includes stretching, yoga, aqua aerobics and Pilates classes. As this journey is a specialist diving expedition, passengers can also keep fit under the sea with complimentary diving and snorkelling activities throughout the cruise. Passengers receive one free spa massage treatment and can attend daily lectures and cooking demonstrations, dine on healthy menus and sign up for private nutritional consultations.
Theme: APT's & Touring "Cycling Cruise"
Dates: September 2017
Details: With bike hire, expert guides and onroad support vehicles included, there is no better way to see Europe and banish the effects of the buffet at the same time. Various route options cater to all fitness levels and riding abilities, from an easy peddle along the river to a four-hour 65km cycle trip to Rothenburg, followed by a transfer back to the ship. Cycle along the Dordogne's meandering banks, stopping at charming towns such as Castillon la Bataille, or ramble along the Route des Vins into the delightful vineyards of Bergerac, famous for its dessert wine. If you get tired (or indulge in too much wine), you can return to the ship in the support vehicle.
Beer, Wine & Food
Theme: Silversea’s "Culinary Arts, Gourmet and Wine Cruise"
Dates: 6 December 2017
Details: Silversea has added three of its most sought after foodie cruise offerings -- Culinary Arts, Wine Series and Gourmet and Wine -- to one delicious 12-night voyage from Bridgetown, Barbardos to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Indulge your appetite during grand gourmet dinners and attend myriad events including chef demonstrations, vintner lectures, intimate tastings, and food and wine pairings during lunch and dinner. The onboard L'École des Chefs cooking school also serves up a curriculum of tantalising events, designed by Relais & Châteaux.
Theme: Crystal Cruises' "Wine & Food Festival"
Dates: 3 March 2018
Details: Enjoy a delectable taste of New Zealand with this Wine & Food Festival cruise featuring visits to New Zealand's famous wineries, presentations from celebrity chefs, and the chance to try local specialties throughout the journey. Passengers can also discover the customs and culture of New Zealand, Fiji and Tahiti during a series of themed presentations.
Theme: P&O Australia’s "Food & Wine Sea Break"
Date: 7 October 2017
Details: Join fellow foodies on Pacific Dawn for three nights of eating, drinking and making merry on a cruise-to-nowhere from Brisbane. Local food and wine personalities will educate and entertain during culinary demonstrations, cocktail making classes, and panel discussions with industry experts.