12 TV Show-Themed Cruises
Can't get enough television from just watching it? Then try one of these TV-themed cruises.
1. Game of Thrones Cruise
In 2014, Holland America Line began offering shore excursions to see the sights and filming locations of Game of Thrones on some of its cruises. The “Experience the Game of Thrones” tour of Belfast in Northern Ireland features visits to Castle Ward Estate—the 17th century castle that stands in for Winterfell—and Audley’s Castle, the site of Robb Stark’s military camp. Guests are also treated to peeks at the actual costumes used on the hit HBO TV show, and can take archery lessons and participate in other Game of Thrones-themed events.
2. Top Chef at Sea
Fans of Bravo's Top Chef can pretend they're on the show by booking a trip on Celebrity Cruises' Top Chef at Sea, which offers luxury seven-day voyages with the reality competition’s most popular contestants and personalities. Guests act as judges as the chefs compete in the kitchen and in interactive Quickfire Challenges; they can also book private cooking lessons and dinners with the show's stars.
3. Dark Shadows Festival at Sea
Since 2013, Royal Caribbean Cruises has offered a Dark Shadows Festival voyage. The cruises start in San Juan, Puerto Rico and head to Martinique—where, on the show, Barnabas Collins met his beloved Josette duPres and the evil witch Angelique—then journey to the Virgin Islands on the company’s Jewel of the Seas cruise ship. The Dark Shadows cruise features costume parties, panels, and photo opportunities with the cast, including Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) and Lara Parker (Angelique), Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask), Kathleen Cody (Hallie Stokes), and Marie Wallace (Eve).
4. Cruise Trek
For almost 20 years, Cruise Trek has combined the passion of Star Trek and sci-fi conventions and the relaxation of an exotic luxury cruise in one convenient package. Cruise Trek started with a voyage around Mexico in 1992, and will explore the Caribbean Islands in 2015. Star Trek fans are treated to cocktail parties, panels, and special meet-and-greets with actors and filmmakers, including Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov), Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher), and George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), who said of Cruise Trek, “Bravo! You make cruise organizing an art of the highest order.”
5. Dancing with the Stars: At Sea
Holland America Line offers Dancing with the Stars: At Sea on all of its cruises. Guests are offered complimentary dance classes with the ship's professional dancers and compete in the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea contest. Winners with the highest scores from each ship throughout the year compete for the Mirrorball Trophy in a seven-day themed cruise with celebrity guests, professional dancers, and co-hosts Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus, pro dancers on ABC's hit reality show.
6. Sailing With the Scotts: Ultimate Design Cruise
Carnival Cruise Line hosts a celebrity cruise devoted entirely to HGTV’s hit series Property Brothers, a home re-modeling and decorating reality show. Fans have the opportunity to sail with the show’s hosts, Jonathan and Drew Scott, on a four-day luxury voyage aboard the Carnival Ecstasy, as it journeys to Key West and Cozumel from Miami. Sailing with the Scotts also features themed trivia events and game nights, decorating competitions, and panel discussions with special guests Jason Cameron, Jillian Harris, and the Junk Gypsy Company.
“It mainly came out of the demand from fans,” host Jonathan Scott told Cruise Critic. “They love getting together with us and seeing us live. It’s very fun—we spend half the time educating people and the other half making fun of Drew, which everybody can get onboard with.”
7. Franklin's Lost Expedition With Alex Trebek
Adventure Canada offers a 12-day Arctic cruise with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. The cruise company's Ocean Endeavour will take off from Qausuittuq, Canada for Prince Leopold Island, Baffin Island, and the east coast of Greenland via the Northwest Passage later this year. You can join Alex Trebek as he re-traces the route of Franklin's Lost Expedition of the Arctic with the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
This isn’t the first cruise to feature Alex Trebek as its guest of honor. The Jeopardy! host joined the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic for an expedition in the Galapagos in 2009. He was also a special guest on the TCM Turner Classic Movies Cruise aboard the Disney Magic in 2013.
8. TCM Classic Cruise
TCM Classic Cruise combines TV and classic movies for hardcore fans and cinephiles. For the past three years, the cable network has put on a six-day voyage aboard the Disney Magic with TCM personalities and hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. The cruise is packed with special events, movie screenings, and celebrity panels, which in the past have included Shirley Jones, Richard Dreyfuss, Tab Hunter, Ann Blyth, Diane Baker, James Karen, Alex Trebek, and Illeana Douglas. Special guests Eddie Muller, a film noir expert, and Bruce Goldstein, a film historian with The Film Forum in New York City, have also joined the TCM Classic Cruise line up.
The Disney Magic cruise ship features large LED screens on deck that make it possible to screen classic movies night and day, even in the bright sunlight.
9. Ghost Hunters International Cruise
Based on the popular SyFy reality TV show, Norwegian Cruise Line hosts the Ghost Hunters International Cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl. Fans of the paranormal TV series are treated to a seven-day voyage with ghost hunters Barry Fitzgerald and Karl Pfeiffer, and psychic medium Sarah Lemos. On board events include lectures on paranormal activity, cocktail parties, and guest panel discussions. Even the shore excursions center around the paranormal, with trips to allegedly haunted sites, such as McNabs Island in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Lizzie Borden House in Massachusetts.
10. Public Television at Sea
Artful Travelers and Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer an annual public television and radio-themed cruise with some of your favorite personalities from PBS, NPR, and PRI. The maiden voyage of Public Television at Sea in 2004 featured PBS' Jim Lehrer, Ciao Italia’s Mary Ann Esposito, and Antiques Roadshow’s Leigh and Leslie Keno. These voyages are usually 12 to 19 days long, as Regent Seven Seas cruise ships travel to multiple exotic locations around the world, such as New Zealand, Dubai, and Tokyo.
11. The Walking Dead Cruise
Sixthman Entertainment and Norwegian Cruise Line will team up to bring fans of The Walking Dead a three-day voyage—called the Walker Stalker Cruise—early next year. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl will leave the Port of Miami for the Bahamas in January 2016. While on board, zombie fans can participate in costume contests, take zombie makeup lessons, and attend special panels, Q&As, and autograph and photo sessions with the cast, including Norman Reedus (Daryl), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Emily Kinney (Beth), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), Chad L Coleman (Tyreese), Christian Serratos (Rosita), Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (Bob), and Ross Marquand (Aaron).
12. Downton Abbey Cruise
In 2014, Viking River Cruises began offering half-day shore excursions to Highclere Castle, the filming location of Downton Abbey on PBS. Although Highclere is open to the public, guests on Viking River’s Seine River cruises are given exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the 16th century castle. (The shore excursion also includes a walking tour of the University of Oxford.) Viking River Cruises sponsors Masterpiece Theatre on PBS, which features Downton Abbey as part of its programming.