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Cruise Travel

Weirdest & Wackiest Themed Cruises Around the World

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queen 3Cruising is not just about shuffleboard and midnight buffets anymore. There are themed cruises designed for every type of enthusiast, from on-board activities to shore excursions of a lifetime. Love to knit? Go to Alaska! Obsessed with Game of Thrones? Northern Ireland is calling. Keep reading to learn which river or ocean cruise may be perfect for your next trip. 

If you’re interested in gardens, check out the Jewels of the Lower Mississippi cruise offered by the American Queen Steamboat Company.  You can glide along the Lower Mississippi River and immerse yourself in the rich land that stretches from New Orleans to Memphis for nine days, viewing dramatic landscapes, listening to jazz, and barbecuing. Guests will learn how European gardens influenced the grounds on Southern plantations, and can take shore excursions to get a closer look. On-board horticulturalists will teach you about flowers such as azaleas, crape myrtles, and magnolias, and how they personify these gardens. The cruise, departing May 23, 2014, will play host to Wanda Metz Chase, the third-generation owner of one of Baton Rouge’s oldest and largest landscape contracting businesses. For more information or to book, click here.

CraftCruises brings knitters of all kinds together on the high seas. You can meet fellow knitters as well as expert and knitting author Ann Budd. Traveling on the Holland American Line, you can take the Oosterdam from Seattle or Vancouver and head to Alaska. There you will be able to see mountains and glaciers. You’ll stop and visit local yarn shops and meet knitting enthusiasts, who share designs and patterns originating from Alaska’s rural coastal villages. The Musk Ox & Glaciers Knitting Cruise starts on May 25 and ends on June 1, 2014. For more information or to book, click here.

Soccer fans don’t have to fly to Brazil or stay at home to watch the FIFA World Cup. Norwegian Cruise Lines has partnered with the TV channel SPORT 24 to screen the biggest soccer matches from three Norwegian cruise ships. Now you can cruise with the family and watch games on board the Norwegian Getaway, Freestyle, and Breakaway. All you have to do is book trips to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami or to Bermuda from New York from June 12 to July 13, 2014. For more information or to book, click here.

Whether you love the books, the TV show, or both, this cruise is perfect for Game of Thrones fans. Crystal Cruises now offers a shore excursion in Northern Ireland, where scenes from the show have been filmed. Guests will get to visit the 18th century Castle Ward in Strangford Lough, near Belfast. There will also be a chance to see medieval life, shoot arrows, view costumes, and find out how real castles are transformed into sets for the TV show.  The cruise costs  $289 per person. For more information, click here.

bon appetitLuxury liner Oceania Cruises had foodies in mind when it created the Bon Appétit Culinary Centers on the Marina and Riviera. You’ll get hands-on lessons based on your cruise itinerary—from healthy Greek to Turkish traditions and modern Nordic cuisine. You can also participate in culinary-themed shore excursions, including two new ones: a trip to the world-renowned Ballymaloe cookery school in Cork, Ireland, and a visit to the market followed by lunch at El Faro in Palma de Mallorca. Click here for more information on Oceania Cruises.

But start planning for next year because themed river cruises tend to book up fast. Avalon Waterways has a number of special-interest cruises planned for 2015, including beer tasting, golfing, and wellness. There are several music-themed sailings coming soon, including a new, 13-day opera cruise. Departing July 15, this cruise will sail the rivers from Budapest to Prague, offering live opera music on board and on shore. Visit Avalon Waterways for more information.

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By Lavinia Pisani for PeterGreenberg.com

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