Fans gather on Panthers cruise
By Judi Cuervo, Theme Cruise Editor
13 of the Biggest & Best Sports Theme Cruises
It was 1989 and, driven by a love of chicken wings, nachos and beer, I accepted an invitation to a Super Bowl party. It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized that the word “party” was more than a bit misleading and that I was actually expected to watch the game. I took my place in the TV room, munched my nachos, slugged down my beer and tried mightily to fain interest in what was unfolding on the screen. “Montana did it! Montana! And it’s Montana again!” the announcer exclaimed while the crowd in the stadium—and most of the people in the room I was in—cheered. When the ruckus subsided, I said—completely serious--“I didn’t know Montana had a football team.”
I was never invited to a Super Bowl party again.
It’s pretty obvious that I’m not a sports fan. But I am a cruise fan and, while researching the biggest sports cruises on the horizon, I found myself wishing I had the passion, the knowledge and the team dedication that I see in fans during the news coverage that follows a big local win.
But I don’t. In fact, when it comes to sports, the only thing I know with complete certainty is that Montana definitely does not have a football team and that any of the following sailings will be a sports fan’s dream come true:
Baseball Greats Cruise
November 23 – 30, 2013 MSC Divina
Miami, St. Maarten, San Juan, Great Stirrup Cay
Enjoy an interactive question-and-answer session with the players, player-hosted trivia games, a lively story-telling session in which the players share candid revelations about some of the "characters" of the game. There are also pitching, hitting, and defense strategy clinics and a lively passenger pitching contest. Hosted by former Yankee star Stan Bahnsen and featuring former Dodger Rookie of the Year Frank Howard, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, L.A. Dodger great Tommy Davis and All-Star third baseman Kevin Seitzer. Fares begin at $499 per person, double occupancy. For more information, visit Baseball Greats Cruise or call 1-877-665-4655.
[Note: Other Baseball Greats 7-day sailings, each hosted by Stan Bahnsen, will take place aboard the MSC Divina as follows:
January 12 – 19, 2014
Miami, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Great Stirrup Cay
Featuring former all-star Game MVP Ken Griffey Sr., .300 hitter for the 1969 New York Mets Art Shamsky, All-Star 2nd baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies Cookie Rojas, and star Phillies, Cardinals and Red Sox pitcher Rick Wise.
Miami, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Great Stirrup Cay
Featuring starting Angels/Orioles/Expos/ Yankees pitcher Rudy May, American League all-star Jim Fregosi, and five-time All-Star centerfielder Amos Otis. (One more player to be added.)
March 15 – 22, 2014
Miami, St. Thomas, San Juan, Great Stirrup Cay
Featuring L.A. Dodgers starting short-stop Bill Russel, former NY Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool, Angel/Yankee/ Ranger pitcher Ed Figueroa and Chicago Cubs All-Star Gold Glove second baseman Glenn Becker
May 10 – 17, 2014
Miami, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Great Stirrup Cay
Featuring Milwaukee Brewers two-time home run king Gorman Thomas, All-Star Chicago White Sox pitcher Gary Peters, and Cubs All-Star Gold Glove catcher Randy Hundley. (One more player to be added.)]
Red Sox Fan Cruise (“Take Me Out to the High Seas)
January 12-19, 2014 Celebrity Silhouette
Fort Lauderdale, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Haiti
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise for seven days with Keith Foulke, John Tudor,
Red Sox Radio Announcer Joe Castglione, and other Red Sox alumni players. Special events include two exclusive cocktail parties, a martini-tasting event, and an opportunity to play catch with Red Sox alumni players, interactive karaoke night, an all-day private beach party in Labadee, and more! Fares begin at $910 per person, double occupancy. Visit Red Sox Fan Cruise for more information.
Super Bowl XLVIII
January 31-February 8, 2014 Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
Baltimore, Port Canaveral, Nassau, Coco Cay, Key West
Trust me. You really don’t want to take in Super Bowl 2014 while shivering in your seat at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on February 2, 2014. Instead, football fans should consider joining 2,500 others to view the game on giant screens while sailing the warm Caribbean Sea for eight glorious days. Fares begin at $539 per person, double occupancy. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit Super Bowl XLVIII Cruise
Hat Trick Cruise (Hockey)
February 9-15, 2014 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas
Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Haiti
Celebrate all things hockey! Hockey player Q&A, hockey player meet & greet and autograph sessions along with two private one-hour cocktail parties and two private open-skate sessions on the ship’s ice rink. Additional activities, fares and players joining the cruise will be announced shortly (player availability to be determined by Winter Olympics team announcements). For additional information, visit Hockey Cruise or call (888) 221-1209.
Panthers Fan Cruise 2014
March 1-6, 2014 Princess Cruise Line’s Ruby Princess
Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
The ninth annual Carolina Panthers Cruise sets sail for a five-night voyage that includes special events with Panthers players including private welcome aboard and farewell parties, exclusive autograph and photo sessions, question and answers, and “chalk talk.” Fares begin at $795 per person, double occupancy. Visit Panthers Cruise for more information or call (800) 969-CRUZ.
Pittsburgh Steelers Cruise (“All Fans On Deck”)
March 10-15, 2014 Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas
Tampa, Nassau and Coco Cay
The first ever Steelers cruise and it’s a full charter of the newly refurbished Brilliance of the Seas! Join 2,000 Steelers players, staff, sponsors and fans for a five-day sailing that includes daily autograph sessions and photo ops! The following former Steelers are just a few of the players expected to join the cruise: Tunch Ilkin, Craig Wolfley, Hines Ward, Franco Harris, Mel Blount, Andy Russell, Greg Lloyd, Aaron Smith, Mike Wagner, Chris Hoke, Jeff Hartings, Antwaan Randle El, Jason Gildon, and JT Thomas. Fares begin at $999 per person, double occupancy. For more information, visit Steelers Cruise or call (412) 381-5553.
Grand Prix of Monaco Cruise
-May 21 – 28, 2014 Windstar’s Star Pride (previously Seabourn Pride)
Rome, Portoferraio, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Portovenere
-May 20 – 27, 2014 Wind Surf
Rome, Portoferraio, Portofino, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Nice
The 212-guest 9,975 grt Star Pride will visit Portoferraio and Cannes before arriving in Monte Carlo for a two-day call that includes grandstand seats for the Grand Prix qualifying race and the following day's final. The event will be hosted by former ESPN Formula 1 pit reporter John Bisignano and guests can look forward to a special Grand Prix-themed cocktail reception and dinner, a commemorative Grand Prix gift package and a private cocktail reception and dinner at Hotel de Fares begin at $6,199 per person double occupancy.
Star Pride won't be the only member of the Windstar family at the acclaimed race. The line's 310-guest flagship Windsurf, sailing on May 20th from Rome to Nice, also spends Grand Prix weekend in Monaco. Fares for the cruise, which also calls at Portoferraio, Portovenere, Portofino and St. Tropez, begin at $3,199 but for Windsurf guests who want to experience the thrill of the Grand Prix, an optional excursion that includes grandstand seating for Saturday's time trials and Sunday's race, an exclusive onboard cocktail party and a Grand Prix commemorative package, is available for $1,799 per person.
For additional information on either Windstar option, visit http://www.windstarcruises.com or call (866) 567-6984.
World Cup 2014 (Brazil) Cruise
May 24 – June 11, 2014 MSC Divina
Miami, St. Thomas, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Fortaleza, Salvador de Bahia, Ilheus and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)).
Probably the most exciting way to travel to the 2014 World Cup! MSC Divina sails from Miami on an 18-day voyage timed to arrive in Rio just as the World Cup excitement—literally—“kicks” off! For additional information, visit www.msccruises.com or call 1-877-665-4655.