Being on any cruise ship is a fun way to travel… but imagine being on a ship that also revolves around something that you absolutely love. That’s exactly what you get with a themed cruise. Not only are you at sea, visiting exotic ports, but you’re also around thousands of like-minded passengers with activities and entertainment that’s all centered around one specific topic.
While you might have heard of these cruises before, what might surprise you is just how many of them sail each year — and the specific focus they can have. Entire ships can be chartered out for specialty cruises that cater to fans of everything from specific bands to lifestyles to even certain movies or TV shows.
The result is a cruise that caters to thousands of passengers who all share a relatively niche interest… but find a ship full of people who have the same passion.
With that in mind, there are definitely some themed cruises that you had no idea existed but might want to book your room today.
Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise
There’s an entire culture that loves Christmas from the decorating to the presents to the music. But there’s a subculture that also loves those hokey Hallmark Christmas movies that have become a staple of the holiday.
If that describes you, then you’re in luck. Not only is there one Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise, but it proved so popular that a second one was added.
On the ship, you’ll get to have photo ops with Hallmark stars, a tree-lighting ceremony, wine tastings, panels with the stars of the movies, and games with them as well. But of course, the big draw is the movies, and there will be a Hallmark movie marathon and even a world premiere of a new Hallmark Channel Christmas movie for passengers.
As mentioned, there are now two sailings, including November 5-9 and November 17-21 aboard Norwegian Gem. The sailings depart Miami on trips to Nassau.
Big Nude Boat
Part of taking a cruise to the warm Caribbean is getting a little sun. But what about getting a lot of sun… and in some places that maybe normally don’t see it?
While swimsuits are a common sight on a typical ship, on the Big Nude Boat cruise, you’re likely to see a lot fewer of them. That’s because as the name implies, this is a cruise catering to nudists. The travel company that puts on these trips — Bare Necessities — actually charters several trips annually, but its largest is the Big Nude Boat.
The 2024 version sails aboard Carnival Pride from Tampa to the western Caribbean. Onboard, except for a few areas you are free to wear your birthday suit, including being in the pools and the casino (there are rules about restaurants and in port where clothing is required). During the cruise there are theme parties and even a passenger talent show.
If you’re part of the nudist lifestyle or ever thought about it, this is a chance. In addition to the 2024 cruise, there is also a Big Nude Boat 2025 that sets sail in February 2025.
New Kids on the Block Cruise
New Kids on the Block — or NKOTB as fans refer to them — may not be in your musical rotation these days. In fact, maybe you haven’t even thought of them in decades, but they have dedicated a legion of fans and an annual theme cruise that’s very popular.
The 2023 edition of the NKOTB cruise has already passed, but you can bet that another trip will be soon announced.
That trip sailed aboard Carnival Conquest from Miami to Half Moon Cay in The Bahamas (a private Carnival destination). During the cruise there were live performances, beach parties, theme nights, and even games hosted by the guys. If you’re a super fan, there’s just no better experience than sailing on this cruise and no doubt thousands are waiting for the next edition.
If you want to keep up with when the next NKOTB cruise will be, just keep this page bookmarked.
Atlantis Events Gay Cruises
One major theme cruise that many people don’t know about are lifestyle cruises — specifically those catering to gay or lesbian passengers. These trips offer a chance for passengers to travel and meet/mingle with others that share their orientation. And there are lots of these sailings.
Atlantis is a major player in this segment of the market with seven such cruises offered in 2024. This includes a January 2024 trip aboard Oasis of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships on the planet. Dubbed “The Largest Gay Cruise in History,” this specific sailing is already sold out with more than 5,000 guests.
Of course, the entertainment onboard is a little different than a typical cruise with outdoor dance parties, special themed nights, concerts, drag queens, and more in what Atlantis likes to call a “gay festival” instead of just a typical cruise.
Other trips include sailings everywhere from Australia to Europe and another North American cruise in October 2024 from San Diego.
The ’80s Cruise
A cruise dedicated to all things ’80s? From Pac-Man to neon, the 1980s are back with this week-long cruise from Port Canaveral.
On the ship are big names like 38 Special, Debbie Gibson and Air Supply. MTV VJs like Downtown Julie Brown also make the lineup. The entertainment on the ship (Mariner of the Seas) is transformed with more than 50 live concerts and performances, ’80s karaoke, neon and spandex aerobics, and theme nights including “Salute to Sci-Fi” and “John Hughes Prom” night (and more).
Of course, the big part is that you’re sharing the ship not with other regular passengers but thousands of people that are there to also celebrate all things from the decade. Just don’t forget the leg-warmers.
Star Trek Cruise
When we say that theme cruises come in all kinds, we mean all kinds — even those that are a little out of this world.
Star Trek: The Cruise sails in February 2024 from Port Canaveral aboard Mariner of the Seas. Onboard you’ll find thousands of “trekkies” soaking in all that this cruise has to offer. From crew members onboard (Walter Koenig, Gates McFadden, Levar Burton, among many others) to Q&A sessions, panels, trivia, and of course theme parties, there’s something that any fan will enjoy.
Of course, there are costume parties, but also Gorn’s Warp Party, dedicated to the famous reptile from the original series.
Bottom line, if you’re a cruise fan and love Star Trek, then this 7-day cruise to Aruba and Curacao is a bucket-list themed trip that you can’t miss.