8 Theme Ocean Cruises to Take in 2016

by Lisa Cheng

8 Theme Ocean Cruises to Take in 2016

by Lisa Cheng

Theme cruises get more popular — and more elaborate — every year. Case in point: January 2016 saw the first zombie-filled journey with the stars of "The Walking Dead" and 2017 will see the first-ever "Star Trek" cruise. (Yes, William Shatner will be there. And it's already sold out). Even with new entries onto the scene, there are perennial favorites as well, such as the groovy Moodies Cruise, featuring the Moody Blues and friends, that takes place in late February. Whether you are a fan of boy bands or the Bard, there's still a themed cruise for you this year. For even more options, check out our 10 themed river cruises to take in 2016. 

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"Top Chef" on Celebrity Cruises / Celebrity Cruises
New Kids on the Block
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1. New Kids on the Block Cruise

Found onCarnival Triumph

Many boy bands have melted teenage hearts, but none have retained such a loyal fan base as the late ‘80s and ‘90s group New Kids on the Block. This cruise is an opportunity for devotees to sway and swoon to all the old tunes (and some new ones, too). The trip has two sea days, which means plenty of opportunities for photos and up-close-and-personal time with members of the band, who will be on board performing and mixing and mingling with the cruisers.

Dates: October 20-24

Found onCarnival Triumph

Many boy bands have melted teenage hearts, but none have retained such a loyal fan base as the late ‘80s and ‘90s group New Kids on the Block. This cruise is an opportunity for devotees to sway and swoon to all the old tunes (and some new ones, too). The trip has two sea days, which means plenty of opportunities for photos and up-close-and-personal time with members of the band, who will be on board performing and mixing and mingling with the cruisers.

Dates: October 20-24

Quickfire Challenge
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2. Top Chef at Sea

Found on: Celebrity Cruises

Have you ever thought that your skills in the kitchen could match those of contestants on cooking shows? Celebrity Cruises’ Top Chef at Sea sailings will give you a chance to demonstrate your culinary prowess through “Quickfire Challenges” à la the Bravo TV show. In the dining room, you can order winning recipes from past seasons, like white gazpacho by "Top Chef" all-star Tiffany Derry or braised beef cheek from season nine's Chris Crary.

Dates: Various dates through June

Found on: Celebrity Cruises

Have you ever thought that your skills in the kitchen could match those of contestants on cooking shows? Celebrity Cruises’ Top Chef at Sea sailings will give you a chance to demonstrate your culinary prowess through “Quickfire Challenges” à la the Bravo TV show. In the dining room, you can order winning recipes from past seasons, like white gazpacho by "Top Chef" all-star Tiffany Derry or braised beef cheek from season nine's Chris Crary.

Dates: Various dates through June

Stargazing on Queen Mary 2
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3. Astronomy Cruises

Found on: Queen Mary 2

Cunard has strong educational programs, and their astronomy cruises are some of their most enlightening. For these specialty cruises, expect to gaze at the vast skies from open-air decks with the help of astronomers from the Royal Astronomical Society and some high-tech telescopes and binoculars. Queen Mary 2 houses a planetarium — the only one at sea — that will run a spectacle on the theme of summer skies. What better way to spend an evening than under the twinkling stars?

Dates: Various dates, including transatlantic crossings departing July 5, August 9, and September 1

Found on: Queen Mary 2

Cunard has strong educational programs, and their astronomy cruises are some of their most enlightening. For these specialty cruises, expect to gaze at the vast skies from open-air decks with the help of astronomers from the Royal Astronomical Society and some high-tech telescopes and binoculars. Queen Mary 2 houses a planetarium — the only one at sea — that will run a spectacle on the theme of summer skies. What better way to spend an evening than under the twinkling stars?

Dates: Various dates, including transatlantic crossings departing July 5, August 9, and September 1

Wine tasting
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4. James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruises

Found on: Windstar Cruises

These cruises — a partnership between the James Beard Foundation and Windstar — deliver a refined experience that celebrates all things food. The emphasis is on regional cuisine, and is also a lesson in culture. A James Beard chef-in-residence will handle cooking demonstrations and shuttle passengers ashore for a guided excursion. Also on the menu: expertly crafted dishes tailored just for the occasion.

Dates: April 24 (Southern Spain and Morocco on Wind Surf); June 10 and August 9 (Spain and France on Star Legend)

Found on: Windstar Cruises

These cruises — a partnership between the James Beard Foundation and Windstar — deliver a refined experience that celebrates all things food. The emphasis is on regional cuisine, and is also a lesson in culture. A James Beard chef-in-residence will handle cooking demonstrations and shuttle passengers ashore for a guided excursion. Also on the menu: expertly crafted dishes tailored just for the occasion.

Dates: April 24 (Southern Spain and Morocco on Wind Surf); June 10 and August 9 (Spain and France on Star Legend)

Nieuw Amsterdam
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5. Times Journeys Panama Canal Cruise

Found on: Nieuw Amsterdam

Sailing a Times Journeys cruise is the equivalent of getting a college education at sea. On this Central and South America cruise, journalists from The New York Times and other heavyweights dish about topics such as U.S.-Cuba relations, the history of the Panama Canal, and wildlife trafficking. By the time you disembark, you’ll feel as if you’ve earned a diploma.

Dates: April 10-25

Found on: Nieuw Amsterdam

Sailing a Times Journeys cruise is the equivalent of getting a college education at sea. On this Central and South America cruise, journalists from The New York Times and other heavyweights dish about topics such as U.S.-Cuba relations, the history of the Panama Canal, and wildlife trafficking. By the time you disembark, you’ll feel as if you’ve earned a diploma.

Dates: April 10-25

On-deck meditation
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6. Wellness Expedition Cruises

Found on: Silver Discoverer

These cruises put health and wellness at the forefront, to help you really find peace on vacation. In a partnership with Technogym, Silversea is offering a comprehensive fitness program that includes stretching, yoga, and Pilates classes on board and on shore, plus training sessions with Technogym specialists. When you’re not attending a lecture or healthy cooking demo, you can head to the spa for a complimentary massage.

Departures: Various dates, with the first departure on September 2

Found on: Silver Discoverer

These cruises put health and wellness at the forefront, to help you really find peace on vacation. In a partnership with Technogym, Silversea is offering a comprehensive fitness program that includes stretching, yoga, and Pilates classes on board and on shore, plus training sessions with Technogym specialists. When you’re not attending a lecture or healthy cooking demo, you can head to the spa for a complimentary massage.

Departures: Various dates, with the first departure on September 2

Kronborg Castle
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7. 400 Years of Shakespeare

Found on: Celebrity Silhouette

This cruise celebrates the life of the Bard on the 400th anniversary of his death, through a series of special onboard lectures and an excursion to the Kronborg Castle in Denmark, which inspired “Hamlet.” Another highlight is a banquet animated by the actors reciting Shakespearean verse.

Dates: April 23-May 2

Found on: Celebrity Silhouette

This cruise celebrates the life of the Bard on the 400th anniversary of his death, through a series of special onboard lectures and an excursion to the Kronborg Castle in Denmark, which inspired “Hamlet.” Another highlight is a banquet animated by the actors reciting Shakespearean verse.

Dates: April 23-May 2

Crystal Cruises' Big Band and Ballroom Dance
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8. Big Band and Ballroom Dance

Found onCrystal Cruises

The entire ship seems to be transformed into a dance floor during Crystal Cruises’ Big Band and Ballroom Dance journeys, where passengers can move and groove to the beats of as they cha-cha, tango, waltz, and rhumba to live music. Don’t know how to dance? Problem solved: There are lessons on board, and if you don’t have a partner, the ship will hook you up with a host through their ambassador program.

Dates: Departures on March 25 and October 18 on Crystal Symphony and April 15 on Crystal Serenity

Found onCrystal Cruises

The entire ship seems to be transformed into a dance floor during Crystal Cruises’ Big Band and Ballroom Dance journeys, where passengers can move and groove to the beats of as they cha-cha, tango, waltz, and rhumba to live music. Don’t know how to dance? Problem solved: There are lessons on board, and if you don’t have a partner, the ship will hook you up with a host through their ambassador program.

Dates: Departures on March 25 and October 18 on Crystal Symphony and April 15 on Crystal Serenity

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