Think sailing is a bore? Consider gifting an exciting themed cruise this holiday

If you’re gifting travel this holiday season, check out a few themed cruises—because who doesn’t love a good theme party?

As an experienced traveler and travel writer, I can tell you that some of my favorite and most relaxed vacations have been on cruises. The constant view of the ocean and the calmness it brings to me is divine—but I get that it is not everyone’s ideal. Some assume cruises are for the elderly because of their “Lazy River” style and island-hopping, touch-and-go nature. However, when I tell you that is not the reality of cruise culture and that there is a large variety of cruise themes to choose from, I can promise there is one perfect for you.

Themed cruises holiday
Photo: AdobeStock

The cruise industry has elevated itself from sleepy decks to targeting acute interests for sea lovers. If you are a hardcore rock fan, there is a cruise for that. Love reggae music and fantasize about sailing with Buju Banton and watching him perform? There is a high probability of that.

In addition to themes being present throughout the activities, meals, and more, main cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean often supply the ships hosting themed cruises. If you have ever been on a Royal Caribbean cruise and loved the adventure of the top-deck water park or the excitement the basketball court brings, then fret not—you can still enjoy them on theme cruises. Themed cruises are just a targeted elevated experience that offers you more bang for your buck, not less. Therefore if you are looking for gift ideas, check out our list of themed cruises below and book that travel that will make your loved one happy.

Welcome to Jamrock Cruise

When the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise began in 2014, I’m not sure anyone but its founders, Damian Marley Jr. and Dan Dalton, dreamed of being what it is today. One of the top-requested annual cruises that are known to sell out in minutes, WTJR is the ultimate lovers’ rock reggae cruise.

Sailing each December, usually on the Royal Caribbean ship line, this cruise boards in Miami and sails to multiple stops in Jamaica while the party on board never stops. Experience five a.m. sunrise Nyabingi sessions or nine a.m. yoga classes while the main deck is full of excitement from top reggae and dancehall artists like Buju Banton, Koffee, and Popcaan, all of whom have performed in the past. Tickets usually go on sale for this annual event in August and sell out quickly, so be sure to be ready to book for 2023 soon.

Genealogy Cruise

If you are the researcher in your family and have completed an AncestryDNA test, you may enjoy Ancestry’s Genealogy Cruise. Sailing aboard the Seven Seas Voyager, the cruise pairs you with a genealogy expert while you embark on a heritage trip that teaches you all about how to trace your ancestors through presentations, private sessions, and daily reveals. A longer cruise usually spanning 12 days, the last Genealogy Cruise took place in July 2022, with new dates soon to be announced. Check for more info.

Soul Train Cruise

“Soul Train” is one of the most iconic music and dance shows in TV history, and a popular party theme, so it’s no surprise that it is also a real-life themed cruise. Sailing next on January 29 to February 5, 2023, from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan, Grand Turks, and Half Moon Cay on the Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam ship, the Soul Train cruise has more in store than you think. From late-night dance sessions to artist Q+As and performances from Babyface, The Commodores, and more, this is one cruise you can’t help but enjoy.

The Ultimate Disco Cruise

The disco era was one era many wish they were born into due to its over-the-top fashion, glitz, glamour, excess, and dance styles that are still present today. Luckily, you can still experience this on the Disco Cruise! Sailing next year on the Celebrity Summit ship boarding in Miami and sailing to Key West and Cozumel from February 25th to March 2nd, this cruise is the ultimate party cruise. With pool parties, karaoke, artists’ performances, panels, and dance competitions all lined up, this is a theme cruise to shake your groove thing on.

Desire Cruise

Looking for some hedonistic fun with your partner? Board one of Desire Cruises‘ adults-only cruises, and you will not regret it. Sailing on the Azamara ship line, Desire Cruises has a multitude of cruise options per year that come with clothing-optional areas, sensual playrooms, couples’ workshops, and stimulating pool parties. A great gift idea around a holiday, Desire Cruises will be sailing to places like Venice, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, and the Greek islands on a nine-day cruise. Check the website for more options as far as locations and available cruises to book for next year.

Noel Cymone Walker
Noel Cymone Walker

Noel Cymone Walker is an NYC-based writer specializing in beauty, fashion, music, travel, and cultural anthropology. She has written and produced visuals for several notable publications such as The Recording Academy/The Grammys, The Fader, Billboard, OkayPlayer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Allure, Essence, Ebony, and more.

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