As you like it: 2018 specialty cruises

Cruising comes complete with plenty of bells and whistles, but some journeys also offer passengers 
a niche experience. Siobhan Plowman rounds up the best themed cruises for 2018.

Food

Ponant | Gastronomy, Vineyards & Grands Crus

Lisbon to Lorient

This nine-day gastronomic cruise departs Lisbon and slowly makes its way across northern Europe, dropping in to some of the most historic European food and wine destinations along the way. Parisian chefs Pascal Féraud of Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne and Stéphane Duchiron of Ore, both from Paris, will be joining passengers on board the intimate 132-cabin Le Soleal, partnering dinner courses with the nest Médoc grands crus. First stopping at Leixoes, 10 kilometres from UNESCO World Heritage site Porto, the mega yacht will then visit Bilbao, not far from the La Rioja wine region. It is then on to the wine capital of Bordeaux, where guests will visit the Cité du Vin museum and Château Latour, one of the oldest wineries in the Médoc. The final call is Ile d’Aix before concluding in Lorient. Every cabin on board is luxurious, with most offering a private balcony. Wine tasting workshops and conferences will be held on board throughout the journey. 

Gastronomy, Vineyards & Grands Crus departs Lisbon, Portugal on April 11, 2018. Rates start from €4,880 (about A$7,395) per person and include all meals, most beverages, activities and transfers. ponant.com

A dessert served aboard Ponant's Gastronomy, Vineyards & Grands Crus journey.

 

Photography

The Strand Cruise | Photography Cruise

Bagan to Mandalay

Professional photographer Lucas Gurdjian will once again be joining the Strand Cruise for a four-day journey through Myanmar in 2018. Working closely with Gurdjian, passengers will capture images of Myanmar’s beautiful scenery as well as portraits of the locals they encounter along their journey. With more than 15 years’ experience as a travel and lifestyle photographer, Gurdjian will also offer coaching on techniques such as framing, lighting, aperture, depth of field and post-production techniques, while guests explore heritage trails, impressive pagodas, monasteries and temples. 

The 28 luxurious cabins feature teakwood floors and Burmese-inspired furnishings, a private balcony and personal butler service. The 40-square metre Strand Suite offers a king bed, floor-to-ceiling windows, sitting area and separate dressing area. 

The Photography Cruise departs Bagan on March 26 and September 17, 2018. Rates start from US$1,875 (about A$2,446) per person and include most meals, basic beverages, excursions and activities. thestrandcruise.com 

The hot air balloons over Bagan.

 

Golf

The Golf Touring Company & Avalon Waterways | European Golf River Cruise

Munich to Budapest

Golfers will have the opportunity to play some of Europe’s best courses on this seven-night cruise through Germany, Austria and Hungary. Rounds at four golf courses – Golf Club Am Habsberg in Nuremberg, Germany; Golf Club Adamstal in Vienna, Austria; Pannonia Golf & Country Club in Budapest, Hungary; and the 20-acre championship course at Hartl Golf Resort in Passau, Germany – are included on the itinerary. Handpicked professionals are available for tuition on and off the course. In addition to golf, passengers are taken on guided tours through historical highlights such as the 11th-century Benedictine Abbey in Melk and the medieval town of Regensburg. The ship, Avalon Panorama, offers various suite options; the Panorama Suite boasts wall to wall windows, Egyptian cotton linens, sitting area and a full-size bathroom. 

The European Golf River Cruise departs Munich on July 10, 2018. Rates for a Panorama Suite start from A$8,995 per person, twin share, and include all meals, most beverages and golf. golfrivercruise.com 

Nuremberg, Germany

 

Arts and Culture

Silversea | Ballet Cruise

Venice to Monte Carlo

Silversea’s 10-day Mediterranean ballet cruise features two exclusive onboard performances by soloists from renowned dance theatres such as L’Opéra de Paris and the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. Interviews with the dancers will give passengers some professional insights and there will also be opportunities to meet the performers during cocktail evenings. The cruise is held on board Silversea’s new all-suite Silver Muse, which launched in 2017 and has almost a one-to-one crew to guest ratio plus a dedicated butler for every suite. The Owner’s Suite features a king-sized bed, marble bathroom with full-size tub and separate shower, large living room, powder room and private verandah. Round-the-clock room service accompanies eight onboard dining options, including seafood and grill, Italian, Japanese teppanyaki and a fine dining French restaurant by Relais and Châteaux. The cruise visits European hotspots including Dubrovnik, Sicily, Portofino and Valetta, before concluding in Monte Carlo. 

The 2018 Ballet Cruise departs Venice on August 18; the 2019 Ballet Cruise, from Singapore to Hong Kong, departs on the March 21. Rates start from A$10,900 per person and include all meals and beverages, butler service and gratuities. silversea.com 

Silversea's 2018 Ballet Cruise. 

 

Cycling

Butterfield & Robinson | Rhine River Cruise Biking

Basel to Amsterdam

Active travel company Butterfield & Robinson has teamed up with river cruise line Uniworld for an eight-day cycling exploration through the Rhine River region. The tour begins in Germany’s Black Forest, where guests pedal through the Wiese River valley, stopping en route to sample local delicacies. Dinner, paired with local wines, is served back on board the 77-cabin SS Antoinette, which will cruise overnight to the Alsatian wine region. Over the following days, guests cycle by Strasbourg’s Gothic cathedrals, timbered houses and serene canals; past Heidelberg’s baroque Old Town and crumbling hilltop castle; along the plains of the Neckar River; and through the busy streets of Cologne. Much of the cycling is gentle, with various longer and shorter options. On average, guests can expect to cycle 40 to 60 kilometres per day. In the evenings, guests can soothe aching hamstrings in the ship's small swimming pool or with a massage in the Serenity River Spa. The 36-square metre Riverview Royal Suite features an open-air balcony, a handcrafted Savoir of England bed and a marble bathroom with separate tub and rain shower, equipped with L’Occitane en Provence and Hermès products. 

Rhine River Cruise Biking has three departures in May, June and September, 2018. Rates start from US$6,995 (about A$9,140) per person and include seven nights aboard SS Antoinette, most meals and select beverages, a dedicated Butterfield & Robinson guide, and all transfers. Rates also include use of a customised hybrid or racing bike, handlebar mounted tablet with preloaded GPS routes and safety gear. butterfield.com

Biking in the Alcace region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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