Cruising rides a groovy new wave

NEW WAVE: it's a way to enjoy a break with like-minded people.
NEW WAVE: it's a way to enjoy a break with like-minded people.

Cruising has become a popular option for many holidaymakers, and while most people take to the sea to enjoy the sun or explore somewhere new, for some it's a way to enjoy a break with like-minded people. Welcome to the world of theme cruises, where fans of sport, dance, movies and everything in between share their passion.

Cruiseco has responded to demand with a seven-night Cruise N Groove voyage on Rhapsody of the Seas. Departing on October 5 from Sydney, the cruise will head for the Isle of Pines and Noumea; on board and performing will be legends of the Motown and disco eras, including the Temptations, Leo Sayer, Marcia Hines and the Village People.

If rock'n'roll is more your style, the 2013 Simple Man Cruise on Norwegian Pearl departs from Miami on October 20 ( Stopping at Key West and NCL's private island of Great Stirrup Cay, guests will enjoy four days of southern rock shows, including Lynyrd Skynyrd. If your musical taste lies even further south, Norwegian Pearl will also host the Best Country Cruise Ever departing from Miami on January 12, 2014 ( The seven-night Caribbean cruise features Trace Adkins and Neal McCoy.

P&O is offering its first Mother's Day-themed cruise this autumn. Departing Sydney on May 10, the three-night cruise on Pacific Jewel has gourmet dining at Luke Mangan's Salt Grill, Australia's largest spa at sea, a chocolate cafe and adults-only haven the Oasis.

Crystal Cruises has one on-board Crystal Symphony aimed at fans of the stage and silver screen. Leaving New York on November 2, the 14-day cruise to Miami has highlights including Marilyn Monroe tribute artist Susan Griffiths and lectures by Turner Classic Movies historian Jeremy Arnold.


Suite appeal

Avalon's newest "suite" ship, Expression, will be launched in Europe by best-selling New York-based travel writer Patricia Schultz, who penned 1000 Places to See Before You Die. She will christen the ship in Cochem on the Moselle River on May 6.

Royal Caribbean is offering three new itineraries in its 2013-14 Australasia program. They include two new South Pacific sailings on Voyager of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, and, due to a growing demand for shorter cruises, a three-night weekend cruise on Voyager of the Seas in January 2014.

Amsterdam enjoyed a record number of cruise ship visits in 2012, a total of 145, an increase of 18 per cent on 2011. This year is expected to be even better, with the Dutch city set to welcome 150 ships and more than 300,000 passengers.


Port Watch: Bratislava, Slovakia

Need to know Slovakia's capital city is a popular port of call on Danube river cruises, lying at the heart of central Europe, about 50 kilometres from Vienna, near the Austrian border. It's a charming maze of narrow streets, historic buildings and places to shop, eat and drink. Ships dock near the old town, which allows for easy exploration on foot.

Do not miss Bratislava has a long history and most of the city's popular sights are accessible from the river. Top of the list are Bratislava Castle, which sits on top of a hill, and St Martin's Cathedral, which is one of the city's biggest and oldest churches. Also worth a look are the Grassalkovich, or Presidential Palace, a rococo/baroque summer palace with an attractive French garden, and the Slovak National Theatre, in which legendary artists including Mozart and Haydn performed.

Sydney Morning Herald