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Resolution Cruises

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CruiseShipOnce a year, at the stroke of midnight, you make yourself the same solemn promise. You’re going to quit smoking/lose weight/take a course…

Yet usually by the end of January, your resolve has, well, dissolved. In fact, broken resolutions are so commonplace that health gurus and advisors actually recommend that you NOT make any lifestyle changes on New Year’s, simply because you’re setting yourself up for failure.

So how can you delve into your resolutions like a dedicated pro? Consider hopping aboard a “theme cruise” for some positive reinforcement and a little help toward achieving your goal. Call it a “resolution cruise”…

A couple of years ago, Carnival Cruise Lines made waves when it implemented its “Stop Smoking Caribbean Cruise,” in partnership with the American Lung Association of Connecticut and Manchester Community College. While they are not currently offering this cruise, they may have helped set a trend: many major cruise lines have now implemented self-improvement programs.

Here are a few resolution cruises that can help make 2007 the year that you made it happen.

Health and Fitness

Stop smoking, lose weight and find your inner peace all at once? It’s like a decade’s worth of New Year’s resolutions in one package. Celebrity Cruises launched its Acupuncture at Sea Program in 2003, which is now available on all ships except the Zenith and Horizon. Licensed acupuncturists do their thing, along with optional nutritional consultations and herbal treatments, all of who will address your mental and physical health woes. Are results guaranteed? Of course not, but chances are, you’ll have a good time trying. 1-877-202-4345, http://www.celebritycruises.com

Who would have thought that a cruise ship, home of the all-you-can-eat buffet, could get you started on a legitimate weight loss program? Costa Cruises takes the holistic approach by hosting A Taste of Health on the eco-friendly Costa Magica cruise ship. Experts in natural health and organic cooking lead lectures and workshops, with classes like “Macrobiotics 101,” “Yoga for Everyone Who Thinks They Can’t Do Yoga” and “Never Kid Your Kidneys.” Guests also dine on wholesome, organic meals that are a far cry from the typical poolside barbecues. 828-749-9537, http://www.atasteofhealth.org

If your New Year’s resolution was to become more “free spirited,” why not bare it all? Bare Necessities Tour & Travel offers clothing-optional packages on Holland America, meaning that you can eat that midnight buffet in the nude! 800-743-0405, http://www.bare-necessities.com

For some, New Year’s resolutions may have more serious implications, but that doesn’t mean that traveling has to be put on hold. Sober Vacations International arranges alcohol-free vacations for recovering alcoholics or those looking for a non-drinking environment. Coming up in March is a Caribbean cruise on Holland America, with daily 12-step meetings and dinner tables reserved exclusively for SVI members. 800-762-3738, http://www.sobervacations.com

Hobbies and Education

The Regent Seven Seas’ Circles of Interest Program caters to pretty much any and every interest you might want to develop. Foodies can participate in Le Cordon Bleu workshops, chocoholics can learn how to create the sweetest treats from an award-winning pastry chef, and oenophiles can go straight to the source on a South American wine cruise. In most programs, passengers can meet field experts, attend lectures and participate in hands-on instruction. The Circles of Interest program also has sailings geared toward photography, history, archeology and literature, and environment and marine life. 877-505-5370, http://www.rssc.com/sailings.do

Crystal Cruises’ Creative Learning Institute offers lectures and workshops designed to appeal to your personal growth efforts. The cruise line has partnered with field experts and teachers in arts and entertainment, business, food and wine and health. Classes include activities like candle making and salsa lessons, but also has specialized courses such as “Computer University, Contracts: What are You Signing?” and “Grant Writing and Event Planning.” 866-446-6625, http://www.crystalcruises.com/onboard.aspx?ID=3#id9

If your goal is to indulge in more culture, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Enrichment Programme has partnered with The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, bringing graduate actors to perform in classic plays on transatlantic sailings. The Queen Mary 2 also offers lectures from a New Yorker cartoonist, a forensic scientist-turned-mystery writer and a Cunard historian.

If you’ve promised yourself that this is the year you will become computer-savvy, consider a Geek Cruise. The influx of eMacs and iPhones can be intimidating, but even techno-phobes can get a crash course from expert geeks… On board Holland America, guests can join in specialized programs like PhotoShop, Linux, Gaming, Chess and Science Fiction. 650-327-3692, http://www.geekcruises.com

By Sarika Chawla for PeterGreenberg.com.

For more wacky travel ideas, check out Really Tough Reality Tours or The Good, the Green and the Downright Crazy Tours.

And for more information on staying healthy on the road, don’t miss our Travel Health & Fitness section.

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