One of the things I love about the cruise industry is the broad consumer interest in the product.  And as the cruise industry expands so does the number of specialty or themed cruises appealing to ever more diverse groups.  Be it the political right or left, religious or gothic, athletes or dialysis patients, intellectual or not-so-much-so, there is a cruise for everyone.  While running the Caribbean Carriage Company in Old San Juan I observed football themed cruises where fans sailed with pro players. I have blogged about John Mayer's Mayercraft Cruise, Bikes on Board and Deaf Cruises.  In fact, lists over 500 different theme cruises (yes, even two blogger cruises).  In 2008 a total of 15 percent of cruise business was dedicated to a theme.

Joining consumers with fervently shared passions and the great value of a cruise vacation is a win-win marketing strategy. Aside from the traditional vacation benefits, the groups receive great physical locations for lectures and social mingling.  The cruise lines fill cabins and generate revenue, but also penetrate into new markets of first time cruisers who have a high likelihood of returning. 

Here is my list of the top 10 most interesting specialty cruises.

marathon1) Caribbean Island Marathon Cruise

4 Islands - 4 Races - 1 Great Marathon. This is the theme cruise I think is an outright good idea.  Aboard Holland America's Eurodam from February 6-13, 2010 you can run the world's only staged maritime marathon. Every day brings a new distance, new terrain and new racing experience. By the end of the week you'll have run the marathon distance (26.2 miles) and have seen some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. John & Jenny's onboard talks and sessions will help you become a better runner.  They also host an Alaska marathon cruise.   

masterson2) Star Trek Cruise

Departing from Los Angeles, California on "stardate" 10.11.2009 fans "beam aboard" the "star ship" Mariner of the Seas. Embarking on the ultimate Star Trek experience will last seven days take you to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Highlights include:

  • Meeting Star Trek celebrities, including Chase Masterson (Dabo girl Leeta on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and one of  Femme Fatales Magazine's 50 Sexiest Women). 
  • Attending an exclusive screening of independent film "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men."
  • A Star Trek Murder Mystery where you help solve the crime and possibly become part of the cast.

antiques3) Dr. Lori's Antiques Vacation Cruise

Think "Antiques Roadshow" but on Norwegian Cruise Line's Majesty. The 7-Day Bermuda round-trip departs from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 24, 2009.  Participants will:

  • Get antiques appraised by Dr. Lori
  • Attend antiques seminars, such as "Yard Sale Mistakes Revealed"
  • Play Dumpster or No Dumpster

bare-back4) Bare Necessities 

Conducting 53 clothing-optional cruises over 20 years proves the staying power of an alternative dressing style. Bare Necessities currently offers a March 13, 2010 - 15 day cruise from San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands and back aboard Celebrity's Constellation.

Activities include not only "deciding what not to wear," but also educational classes and workshops.

elvispresleypicture5) Cruise with the King

Departing January 3, 2010 this 7-Day Bahamas from Baltimore, Maryland cruise turns the Carnival Pride into a floating Graceland.  The King's 75th birthday celebration also includes:

  • A meet & greet Elvis cocktail party
  • Jay Allan covering the King's entire career - 50's tribute, '68 Comeback and 70 Vegas!

According to Susan, an Elvis Presley Super Fan & Graceland Gate Girl,  "I see many, but Jay's the first I have seen with that soul of Elvis"

j-t-k-lawler6) Legends of Classical Wrestling 

Another King cruise, this one is hosted by Jerry "The King" Lawler aboard the Carnival Destiny for 5 days starting October 1, 2009.  The ship departs from Miami and sails to Cozumel & Key West. You will be treated to:

  • Never before seen videos of classic wrestling matches
  • Stories that only The King could tell - about the colorful people in wrestling
  • The truth about Andy Kaufman
  • Photo and autograph sessions
  • The art of The King (numbered & framed)
  • Tanning sessions on deck with The King

shakespeare7) Shakespeare at Sea 

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?  Thou art traveling aboard the Crystal Serenity for Lisbon Portugal via the Azores from Miami May 23rd to June 2nd, 2009. 

Fourteen lectures are offered by noteworthy academic experts on Shakespeare's works.  "You'll be immersed in the cultural and theatrical milieu of the Bard's work and times.  Come feast on words, experiences, insights, and interactions with kindred spirits."

skynyrd18) The Simple Man Cruise

I admit it, I sing the words to Freebird out loud whenever I'm alone and the song comes on.

From Tampa to Cozumel on the Carnival Inspiration January 21-25, 2010  Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Man Cruise is a four-day music festival.  Remember to bring your aspirin.  Last years cruise ran out of beer and broke all ship alcohol sales records.

richard-simmons9)  Richard Simmons' Cruise to Lose

The "Ocean Spray Dancers" are appearing Saturday, April 25 2009 for a 7-day Caribbean cruise from Miami on Carnival's Liberty.

Join them and workout icon Richard Simmons while you "sweat to the hits of the 50's, 60's,70's, 80's, 90's, and 2000's."  Besides dinning and exercising with Richard, other activities include:

  • Rise and Shines
  • Richard's 50's - 60's Prom Party
  • Richard's Awards Party
  • Margaritaville with Richard

fashion-show_110)  Fashion And Style At Sea 

Part of the Personal Enrichment Series this 12-night Mediterranean cruise sails from Venice to Barcelona. It also happens to be the second on our list aboard the Crystal Serenity. One perk, guests have the opportunity to pre-book private Food and Wine Pairing Dinner in the intimate Vintage Room.

Itinerary includes:

  • Attending lectures, fashion shows, themed dinners and cocktail parties
  • Enjoying relevant movies and documentaries celebrating the exciting and ever-changing world of fashion
  • Joining optional shopping excursions ashore and visiting historical textile/costume factories 

1Cruise Line Industry Association