Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Spotlight on Chocolate
Description: Yes, chocoholics, this is a cruise for you. Chocolate experts are onboard, and there are a plethora of chocolate-eating activities. Pastry chefs offer cooking demos, and wine experts advise on what to drink with white chocolate as opposed to dark.
Why We Love It: It’s a chocolate lover’s dream. And some of the lectures actually focus on the healthy and restorative qualities of chocolate—no guilt here. You can interact with chocolate experts (including a noted chocolatier, but no names yet) and learn more about the product. Don’t miss the special chocolate tea held one afternoon.
Details: November 30–December 11, 2009, on Seven Seas Navigator, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, visiting the Bahamas, Grand Turk, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Bart’s, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Antigua. Fare: $3,795 to $11,495 per person. (Annual cruise.)
Description: Fans of the legendary British band combine fun in the sun with a concert experience featuring the band Think Floyd USA: The American Pink Floyd Show, a four-year-old cover band. They’ll perform a retrospective of Pink Floyd’s classics accompanied by an elaborate light show and music. The real band’s singer and guitarist, David Gilmour, has even heaped praise on this group.
Why We Love It: You won’t see a giant floating pig (which would be hard to pull off on a ship), but you will hear all the classics and a full performance of Dark Side of the Moon. Pink Floyd trivia contests, Pink Floyd–themed parties, and special guests (names not yet announced) will remind you why you came onboard.
Details: May 1–4, 2009, Carnival Imagination, round-trip from Miami, with a port call in Nassau. Fare: $389 to $889 per person. (First-ever cruise.)
Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines
Clothing-Optional Homecoming Cruise
Description: Sunbathe naked at the pool. Hit the slots sans clothes in the casino. Let it all hang out at the disco. Leading clothing-optional vacation firm Bare Necessities hosts this clothing-optional cruise (one of several the firm offers throughout the year).
Why We Love It: You have to wear clothes in port but once the ship hits international waters, all areas are nude except the main dining rooms and fancy steak house. Plus there’s a full schedule of workshops such as Sensual Awakening, the women’s-only Release the Goddess, and Draw the Nude art sessions. Couples can book a massage for the reduced rate of $90. Don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen.
Details: February 8–15, 2009, on Carnival Legend, round-trip from Tampa, visiting Key West, Montego Bay, and Cozumel. Some fares sold out; remaining fares from $2,099 to $2,259 (regular fare from $899) per person. (Three cruises scheduled for 2009.)
Courtesy of Crystal Cruises
Description: Yes fashionistas, pack your Prada and Manolo Blahniks. Experts will be onboard this China/Japan cruise offering a history of Asian fashion and providing shopping tips. Hear from Hong Kong–based shopping specialist Carole Klein, among others.
Why We Love It: Onboard activities include lectures, fashion-themed dinners, and even a showing of movies that feature fashion. And there’s a jewelry trunk show of creations by London-based jeweler Gerry Summers, who draws influences from ancient cultures. Onshore, you can explore the markets and fancy shopping malls guided by professional shoppers. Style is a focus, too—in Hong Kong, cruisers learn about such things as purchasing home furnishings made from traditional silk jacquards and velvets.
Courtesy of Insight Cruises
Evolution Emanation Cruise
Description: Calling all geeks: don’t turn off your brains for this cruise. You’ll have access to 20 seminars on topics such as The History of Life on Earth, The Evolution of the Genetic Code, and The Mathematics of the Mind: Exploring the Formal Foundations of Human Thought. The cruise is cosponsored by Scientific American magazine.
Why We Love It: Classes are offered on four days while the ship is at sea, providing free time for shore excursions. You could be lounging in the sun, but why do that when you can hear from Ph.D.s on things like the amino acid “alphabet?”
Details: February 27–March 9, 2009, on Holland America’s Zuiderdam, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, visiting the Bahamas, Aruba, Curaçao, and Costa Rica, and cruising the Panama Canal. Conference fee is $1,275 plus the regular cruise fare of $1,529 to $5,219 per person. (First-ever cruise on this topic, but Scientific American regularly hosts other themed cruises.)
Courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek Cruise
Description: Prepare to be slain. Or boldly go where no cruise has gone before. Or both. This cruise offers side-by-side Slayer Cruise and SeaTrek fan conventions—a week of immersion including stars from the cult TV shows.
Why We Love It: You get not only signed photos of all the celebrity guests but also a group photo of you and the stars. Your badge gets you into both conventions. Don’t miss the star-studded karaoke night and hysterical improv session. Book early and you may even dine with a cast member—Robert Picardo (The Doctor) and Ethan Phillips (Neelix) from Star Trek: Voyager and Amber Benson (Tara) from Buffy have appeared on past cruises.
Courtesy of Float2Paradise Cruises
Psychic Medium Cruise
Description: We’re getting a reading. It must be, yes, we’re seeing your future and it involves a cruise. The Psychic Medium Cruise is hosted by two internationally recognized psychic mediums—Joanne Gerber and Rita Berkowitz. Gerber is a medium and spiritual teacher based in Boston. Berkowitz, a spiritual artist and clairvoyant, is based in Hanover, MA.
Why We Love It: The cruise features two shows with the psychics, lectures, and group readings. Private readings are available for an additional fee. Activities include a Mingle with the Mediums cocktail party. This is a chance to join other believers.
Details: June 28–July 5, 2009, on Carnival Valor, round-trip from Miami, visiting Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan (Honduras). Fares: $999 to $1,299 per person. (First cruise for these seers, but there are several psychic sailings every year.)
Courtesy of CICENTER.com
Description: Real-life James Bonds share true stories and secrets on this cruise. Get your daily fix at lectures by intelligence experts on subjects including clandestine equipment—gosh, we hope they display shoe phones.
Why We Love It: Lecturers and social hours feature former spies from the CIA, KGB, and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Security Service. And shore excursions carry on the theme: in Istanbul, visit the home and office of Kim Philby, the British Secret Intelligence Service officer and local station commander during WWII who was also a double agent. We’d tell you more, but then we’d have to kill you.
Details: July 8–18, 2009, on Oceania Nautica, Black Sea itinerary from Istanbul to Athens, includes port calls in Russia and Ukraine. Fare: $4,780 to $7,580 per person, including international airfare. (One-off cruise.)