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The Buccaneer, on St. Croix, is a par 70, 18-hole golf course with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea from 13 holes.

US Virgin Islands Dept. of Tourism

The Buccaneer, on St. Croix, is a par 70, 18-hole golf course with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea from 13 holes.

Theme cruises and charters

How to cruise with people who share your interests and passions

A theme cruise is one that focuses on a specific topic or event and where the itinerary, entertainment and on-board activities are centered around it. You may have heard of a wine cruise or golf cruises or music cruises such as the Groove Cruise or one devoted to  alt rocker Jonathan Coulton.

They are growing in popularity as cruise lines embrace them as a useful way of attracting new people to cruising. As a result, you are likely to find a theme cruise for almost any topic you are interested in: cruises dedicated to golf, gays, art, cycling, history, nature, photography, religion, Jewish heritage and many others. See the Theme Cruises section of Cruiseable Magazine. 

To help get you on your way, here are the three main kinds of theme cruises.

Group cruises

Group cruises are the most common type of theme cruise: They involve clubs, associations and organizations making a block booking on an existing cruise and selling it to their fans, followers or members via a dedicated travel agent.

Groups can range in size from 20 individuals or so to hundreds of potential participants. The organizers typically arrange dedicated meet-ups, activities, excursions and entertainment that are closed to other guests on the cruise. To cover their costs, the fares are usually at a premium to the regular fare. Examples include travel bloggers and podcasters arranging theme trips around their niche, knitting clubs hosting seminars, classes and events, and investment clubs and traders providing training workshops.

Cruiseable offers the only guaranteed lower fare for group cruises in the industry. Check it out: Cruiseable gives back the bonus cabin to the group itself 100% of the time.

Charter cruises

With a charter cruise, like the Groove Cruise referenced at the top, promoters charter the entire ship from the cruise line and everyone on board takes part. These tend to be cruises targeted at specific lifestyles, like gay and lesbian travelers, business conferences, gaming tournaments, music diehards or religious ones. Examples of charter theme cruises include those hosting bands like Kiss and New Kids on the Block, who have run a number of such cruises, World Poker Tour cruises and All Christian Cruises, which runs Caribbean charter trips.

Theme cruises from the cruise lines

The cruise lines dedicate some cruises around themes to target specific kinds of passengers, especially at slower times of the year and on longer or harder to sell cruises such as repositioning cruises with many sea days. These usually focus on culinary topics, sports like golf, television show tie-ins like "Dancing with Stars," significant anniversaries of major historic events or around a major guest star or speaker. They tend to be more loosely structured and less intensely focused around the theme compared to the other ones.

Theme cruises are going great guns these days as they provide an immersive way for fans of a particular topic to spend their vacation surrounded by others who share their passion.

How about you? Have you been on a theme cruise? What was it like?

Interested in a theme cruise?

Are you interested in taking part in a theme cruise? Contact Cruiseable's Business Department at 1-877-322-3773 or email Cruiseable and a travel professional will find you the best match at the best price.

Theme cruise articles

Gary Bembridge
I'm a longtime cruise fan and ship geek. While traveling the globe, I operate, where you'll find podcasts, videos and advice about cruising and traveling.