Jane Archer’s Pick of Special-Interest Cruises

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Why just go on a cruise when you can go to sea and learn something new? No, don’t click away. I’m not talking about THAT kind of learning but something much more fun, such as how to appreciate wine (that’s wine-tasting to you and me!) or stepping out in style on the dance floor.

Special-interest cruises, where passengers can pursue their favourite pastime or develop a new skill are all the rage these days, with all sorts of themed cruises to choose from. Enjoy gardening,  golf, jazz, even knitting? There’s something for you. Needless to say, though, the most popular involve food or wine (or both!).

On Celebrity Cruises, for instance, you can cheer on your ship’s top chefs as they do battle in a cook-off competition, take part in wine workshops or learn the secrets of mixing cocktails. Vodka Martini shaken not stirred anyone?

Fancy learning to cook under the stars? P&O cruises has got that taped, with the likes of Saturday Kitchen star James Martin, baking queen Mary Berry and Antonio Carluccio all giving classes in the Cookery Club on Britannia, a new ship the company is launching in March. Click here to see which celebrity chefs are making an appearance.

There’s more celebrity chefing on Crystal Cruises’ July 12 voyage from Lisbon to Dover, with sushi king Nobu Matsuhisa on board to host demonstrations, sign books and cook up a super-scrumptious dinner in Silk Road, the restaurant he created.

Crystal is definitely the leader when it comes to special-interest cruises, with big band and ballroom dancing, health and wellness, and film and theatre among its other themed offerings this year. If you can wait that long, a 14-night cruises round-trip from New Orleans in November 2016 will have cicerones (that’s the name for experts in all things beer) on board to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the amber nectar.

If chocolate is more your thing, may I suggest Princess Cruises. OK, taken on their own the line’s new wine-and-chocolate tastings do not make a special-interest cruise, but treat yourself to a chocolate spa treatment, cocktails made with chocolate and buzz along to the chocolate cooking demos and voilà. Your very own chocolate-themed cruise. Better than sex according to 60% of women (the chocolate, that is, not the cruise), polled by Princess!

You can also create your own spa-themed cruise with MSC by booking one of their wellness packages and letting the therapists work their magic while you recharge the batteries in the Aurea Spa. The Golden Jasmin package includes a facial, two massages, a thalasso treatment and unlimited use of the thermal suite saunas and steam rooms. Total bliss!

Back on the dance floor, check out Celebrity’s Let’s Dance classes, held on selected cruises as part of its Revive, Play, Taste and Learn activity series. P&O has four Strictly-themed cruises when dance professionals from the TV series will be showing off their routines and costumes – and judging the grand finale of the passengers’ dance contest.

Holland America has free dance classes on all its ships as part of a partnership with the American TV programme Dancing with the Stars. The top dancer on each sailing will be crowned champion and be in with a chance to compete in a glittering final on a free cruise.

If you enjoyed this post, then take a look at Jane’s advice for first-time cruisers here.

Sourced from Flickr creative commons. Credit: Miss Shari

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Jane Archer's Pick of Special-Interest Cruises
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Jane Archer's Pick of Special-Interest Cruises
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Why just go on a cruise when you can go to sea and learn something new?
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Jane Archer

Jane Archer is one of the UK's leading cruise journalists. She writes for a variety of different publications, including the Daily Telegraph, Blue Horizons, Travel Weekly, Cruise Trade News and Cruise Magazine for Groups. She also has a significant online presence, writing for Travelzoo and contributing to two US travel websites, Onboard and Jetsetter.

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