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Old August 18th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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Default Theme Cruising

I started digging into theme cruises yesterday and I founbd some very interesting ones - how many of you go on theme cruises regularly?
How many of you have never even tried one, and if so, why not?

Theme Cruising
The name says it all. Theme cruises are for like-minded people to sail together, attend conferences, share ideas, talk to each other, meet in groups large and small live and in person in an idyllic and tranquil setting with very few interruptions.

There are all kinds of theme cruises, but the common element the “affinity,” the attendees share. Regular topics include antiques, art, astronomy (a total solar eclipse cruise just occurred in the south Pacific last June 11, which many people viewed from theme cruises), famous authors, business, card games (bridge and poker being the two most popular ones), dancing, finance, fitness, food and wine, golf, history, music, photography, religion, sports and more.

The most popular category is music. Last year I went on a “Smooth Jazz Cruise” that featured about 40 different artists playing in the span of seven days. There were seven nights of concerts by three or four different artists each night, plus daytime jam sessions, personal interviews and clinics (where a host asks a particular artist to discuss his individual techniques, lifestyle, etc). The gamut of music cruises ranges from “heavy metal head bangers” to “Doo Wop” and even classical. These smooth jazz cruises, which have been sailing yearly for eleven years now, tend to sell out two years in advance.

The sponsor of my smooth jazz cruise, JazzCruisesLLC, is in the business of doing nothing but jazz cruises every year. They always charter an entire ship, almost always from Holland America, and they take it over showing nothing but jazz on all of the stages and even on the in-cabin television 24 hours a day (they still keep the news channels, but they add replays of the previous night’s concerts to other channels).

On the cruise I was on, the following week was another smooth jazz cruise, and many people were staying onboard for that one as well. In addition, the back-to-back cruises for the following year were on sale during our cruise, and those cruises were fully booked by the end of our cruise as well. Yes, you can say that the theme cruise concept works very well.

If you have never been on a theme cruise, let me tell you that there is something special about them. The combination of cruising and the immersion in your interest goes beyond either activity alone. It is almost like one plus one equals three. People who go on theme cruises are often “spoiled” and find it hard to go back to regular cruising. And by the way, yes a theme cruise does generally cost more than a regular cruise.

There is one more affinity I did not mention above: politics – an especially popular topic right now with mid-term elections coming soon. It doesn’t matter whether you are conservative or liberal – there is a cruise for you, although conservative theme cruises seem to be more popular right now.
But here is what really surprised me about these cruises, just one agency, The Cruise Authority in Atlanta, Georgia, seems to sponsor the vast majority of them, both liberal and conservative.

I called them and spoke to Howard Moses who tends to host mostly conservative cruises, while his business partner, David Bittner, tends to host the liberal cruises although that is not a hard and fast rule. Since the conservative cruises outnumber the liberal cruises by about four to one Bittner is a host on a conservative cruise or two as well.

I asked Howard, “Your office must be a lively place to work, is there a lot of talk about politics there?” Howard told me, “No, in fact we have rules that our people never discuss politics, even on our cruises. In fact, our internal rule is that we never discuss politics or religion, and we don’t drink.” I assume that implies drinking often leads to talking about politics and religion.

Whatever the reason, their approach has been successful for them. The Cruise Authority hosted their first political cruise thirteen years ago for the magazine “The Nation,” self-described as “The flagship of the left.” Within a matter of months they were approached by conservative magazine “The National Review,” founded by William F. Buckley, to host a cruise for their editorial staff and readers. Howard says he cruised with Buckley several times and knew him on a first-name basis.

“Our role is as facilitators to the people onboard. I have met several self-made men worth millions of dollars who were too intimidated by William F. Buckley to introduce themselves. They considered him their personal hero, but they were too shy to talk to him. Most of the time when I heard that I would take them “by the hand” and introduce them at the very moment. William was gracious enough that he would often give them 20 minutes instead of just a few.”

“That is the beauty of a cruise,” continues Howard. “If you go to a banquet these speakers squeeze out the back door the minute it is over. But on a cruise not only is there plenty of time. The speakers even dine with the guests every night. We even change the seating around nightly so they are even more available.”

Two upcoming politically-themed cruises: The National Review “Post-Election Cruise” sails November 14 on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam. Guest speakers include Karl Rove, Bernie Goldberg, Phyllis Schlafly, Greg Gutfeld, Cal Thomas, Toney Blankley, Scott Rasmussen and a dozen more names and faces watchers of FoxNews will recognize.

For Liberals: The “Progressive Voices” cruise sails February 5, 2011, on the Holland America Eurodam. It features Robert F Kennedy, Jr., Mike Farrell (from the television show MASH), Mike Malloy, Liz Winstead (a co-creator and former head writer for The Daily Show) and more people frequent watchers of MSNBC would probably recognize.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 04:14 PM
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I would be interested in a Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit themed cruise
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Old August 19th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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Your Article gone me wondering is there a theme cruise my hubby and I would both be interested in? Yes there is photography theme cruise. There were several on the list. Tahiti and Alaska seem like the main places for these cruises. The Alaskan cruise was on Lindblad Expeditions. I have never heard of this company before.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:11 PM
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Lindblad seems a little more barebones. I know they were offering a National Geographic cruise to the Galapagos Islands last year - promoting through Jeopardy!
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Old August 19th, 2010, 05:16 PM
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I found this on thier website. Adventure Cruise, Galapagos & Alaska Cruises with Lindblad Expeditions - Lindblad Expeditions

Quote:
Lindblad Expeditions has been offering small ship expeditions for over 50 years. We are not a cruise company. In addition to offering expedition travel, we offer educational travel in an informed, comfortable, environmentally friendly and rewarding form.
I don't know seems a little rugged for me. I like cruising better. Although it seems like you would see more of Alaska on a trip like this. Also from the website:
Quote:
From the ship, Zodiac landing craft and kayaks bring you further inside Alaska.
Quote:
Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Breakfast is a wide selection buffet and lunch is often served family style. Menu emphasizes local flair.

I don't kayak and I have never been on a Zodiac. I better not show this to the hubby because he would love this. The ship only allows 62 passengers. It is interesting. Okay I'm not sure if it's me or not. I have a co worker this would totally suit however. She likes camping and hiking. Okay I just saw the price for a seven day trip. I don't think it suits me.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 05:20 PM
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Those small expedition ships are GREAT for getting up close to nature, but they are expensive.

We had a fantastic tme on American Safari, but it costs as much as Silversea and you dont get a butler.

But I had some of the best lifetime experiences on that cruise ever - great whales, great glacier watching.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Those small expedition ships are GREAT for getting up close to nature, but they are expensive.

We had a fantastic tme on American Safari, but it costs as much as Silversea and you dont get a butler.

But I had some of the best lifetime experiences on that cruise ever - great whales, great glacier watching.
See this is why I'm back and forth. It would be an interesting experience and we both love photography and would love to learn more about it. I'm not even worried about sea sickness on such a small ship in the rough water near Alaska. I have never been: sea sick, car sick, air sick. and general anesthesia after my surgery did not make me nauseous so I'm good there. The problem is the cost at this time in my life I don't have the type of funds. Once I win the lottery I'm all over it however.
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