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Imagine boarding a cruise ship to find hundreds – or even thousands – of your shipmates share the very same passions and interests that you do. You’re thinking of a themed cruise.
Like a traditional cruise, a themed cruise delivers everything you’d expect of a shipboard vacation, like sundrenched ports, sparkling blue waters and superb dining amid lush surroundings, but instead of a daily program filled with trivia, bingo, dance lessons and pickleball tournaments, you’ll find myriad activities geared specifically to the sailing’s theme – and plenty of like-minded people to share them with.
Below, you’ll find some of the top themed cruises for 2024 and 2025. Be sure to book soon, as these voyages can sell out quickly.
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In its 16th year, Cayamo celebrates music of all genres. The 2024 voyage brings Lyle Lovett, Billy Bragg and Shawn Colvin together with more than two dozen acts aboard Norwegian Pearl. This themed cruise sails from Miami to the Dominican Republic and Aruba while offering songwriting sessions, open jams, autograph opportunities and more. In addition to full concerts, cruisers can count on memorable collaborations and onboard performances crafted specifically for this weeklong musical celebration. Though this music-themed cruise is currently full, interested travelers can join the waitlist on Cayamo’s website.
The Great White Way relocates from the Big Apple to Miami, with stops in Key West, Florida, and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, during this musical salute to Broadway. Join actors – including Norm Lewis, Christian Borle and Kerry Butler – as well as composers, choreographers, journalists and critics for five nights of performances, workshops and panel discussions aboard Norwegian Pearl.
Hop aboard Celebrity Summit for a celebration of the stars and music of the 1960s, hosted by Peter & Gordon’s Peter Asher. The Rascals, Tommy James & the Shondells, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, John Lodge of the Moody Blues, John Kay of Steppenwolf, The Box Tops and The Grassroots are just part of the stellar lineup of classic rockers sailing from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix on the seventh annual Flower Power Cruise. Visit the Flower Power Cruise website to join the waitlist.
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues hosts this five-night celebration of classic rock aboard Norwegian Pearl, filled with full concerts, late-night jams, Q&A sessions with the artists, photo ops, meet-and-greets and themed nights. The Zombies, Alan Parsons, Al Stewart, Little River Band and more join Hayward as Norwegian Pearl sails from Miami to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and Nassau, Bahamas. VIP packages that include priority concert seating, a goody bag filled with themed merchandise and access to a special artist cocktail party are available.
In 1986, Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle teamed up to record what would become a No. 1 smash hit: “On My Own,” written and produced by Burt Bachrach and his then-wife Carole Bayer Sager. Now, McDonald and LaBelle reunite – this time, at sea – for a three-night event filled with musical performances. Hosted by Grammy Award winner Marcus Miller, this soulful voyage also features comedians George Wallace and Alonzo Bodden along with a cast of award-winning musicians and vocalists to keep the party going. This cruise sails from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, aboard Norwegian Pearl.
(Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)
It’s a spooky time aboard four of Disney Cruise Line’s ships – Disney Magic, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wish – during its Halloween sailings. Dress up and join Disney characters for Halloween parties, themed food and beverages, eerie arts and crafts, creepy decor and other special events. Featured Halloween itineraries for 2024 sail to destinations in the eastern and western Caribbean, as well as the Bahamas.
Hallmark Channel stars bring Christmas magic to life on this festive celebration at sea aboard the Norwegian Gem. Sailing from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, the cruise includes Christmas cookie decorating, ugly sweater contests and Christmas “carol-oke” among its planned activities. Each voyage culminates in the world premiere of a new Hallmark Channel “Countdown to Christmas” movie. Head to the Hallmark Christmas Cruise website to join the waitlist.
Get in the holiday spirit with Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime sailings, available on Disney Magic, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wish. Join in for a jolly fusion of shipboard decor and holiday-themed entertainment, including Christmas tree lightings, meet-and-greets with Santa Claus, a holiday deck show and more. Very Merrytime’s 2024 itineraries explore ports throughout the Bahamas and the western Caribbean.
Board Royal Caribbean International for the best cruise experience in the galaxy on Mariner of the Seas. Sailing to Curacao and Aruba from Port Canaveral, you’ll join Star Trek actors Walter Koenig, Levar Burton, Garrett Wang and nearly two dozen others as you’re beamed into themed shows, events, parties and actor-hosted shore adventures. Each night of the cruise celebrates a different dimension of the Star Trek experience and, since the cruise’s debut in 2017, guests have knocked it out of the park with show-stopping costumes.
(Courtesy of Cunard Line)
Cross the Atlantic surrounded by authors, poets, journalists, critics, historians and book lovers aboard the legendary Queen Mary 2 as she sails from Southampton, England, to New York City. With discussions, master classes, book signings and special events, this ocean-going book festival, coordinated by The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, features authors Mark Billingham, Denise Mina and Chris Brookmyre, with more guest speakers and participants still to be announced. This special program is open to all guests sailing this particular Cunard Line crossing and need not be booked through an outside themed cruise organizer.
A thrilling new entry into the themed cruise universe, San Diego Comic-Con and Entertainment Cruise Productions team up for Comic-Con: The Cruise. Participants will interact with Comic-Con icons – including the comic book world’s leading actors, creators, authors and more – as they sail on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas from Tampa to Cozumel. While the specific talent lineup will not be revealed until early November, fans can expect nonstop activities on board, including hosted tastings, trivia sessions, parties, cosplay events, and autograph and photo sessions.
(Courtesy of Silversea Cruises)
Sometimes, you’ll find a theme built right into a standard cruise experience – like Silversea’s S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste), an immersive multipronged culinary program created by Adam Sachs, former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. Aboard Silversea’s newest ships, Silver Nova, Silver Moon and Silver Dawn, S.A.L.T. celebrates the region guests are sailing through on their particular voyage. Cruisers will find a dedicated restaurant featuring local specialties; a bar offering the area’s wines, beers and cocktails; hands-on cooking classes that show guests how to create their favorite local dishes at home; and an intensive program of culinary programs on shore.
Award-winning chefs Andrew Zimmern, Aaron Sanchez, Anne Burrell, Marcus Samuelsson, Robert Irvine, Michael Symon and more indulge you in culinary excellence on this four-night voyage from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas, aboard Norwegian Pearl. Guests can expect cooking demos, in-depth master classes, culinary panels and, best of all, four meticulously designed sit-down dinners curated by these master chefs who have reshaped the American food scene.
Oceania Cruises, creator of the decadent onboard Dom Perignon Dinner, celebrates dining with sailings featuring leading names in the culinary arts. In May 2024, chef, cookbook author and TV personality Sara Moulton leads food demonstrations and special shore excursions during a 14-day sailing from Barcelona to Rome aboard Marina.
Known for its commitment to all things culinary, Oceania Cruises hosts another foodie voyage in July 2024. Claudine Pepin, TV host and daughter of world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pepin, conducts culinary-themed demonstrations and chats aboard Sirena on a sailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Hamburg, Germany, over 14 days.
(Courtesy of Windstar Cruises)
Celebrate all things Browns during a five-day sailing from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, and Falmouth, Jamaica, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. Dozens of Browns alumni will share insider secrets with guests and join in experiences that include special dinners; a deep dive into the past, present and future of the team; autograph sessions; beach parties and more.
Arrive for Formula One festivities aboard Windstar Cruises’ Wind Surf, the world’s largest sailing yacht. Cruisers will receive a themed gift package containing earplugs, binoculars, a seat cushion and more to enjoy the exhilaration of watching Monte Carlo’s Grand Prix du Monde from a premier grandstand seat in Monaco. You’ll enjoy two days of Formula One time trials and racing, as well as exclusive access to events like a Prix du Monde-themed cocktail reception. This experience is hosted by a Formula One expert who will provide behind-the-scenes insights, answer questions and participate in discussions throughout the sailing.
In partnership with Perry Golf, Azamara hosts a number of golf cruises throughout the year. This is the big one: a sailing that includes attendance to the prestigious 153rd Open at Royal Portrush. You’ll sail aboard Azamara Journey from Southampton, England, to Liverpool, England; Dublin; Belfast, Ireland, and more, ending your cruise with three days in Edinburgh, Scotland. Travelers can count on playing six rounds of golf at well-known courses throughout the British Isles.
Judi Cuervo is a cruise enthusiast. Since her first cruise in 1976, she’s been sailing aboard a wide array of cruises from mass market to expedition ships. Cuervo used her extensive cruise experience along with research skills to write this article.