CroisiEurope offers two cruises that stop at Venice during Carnival. // © 2014 Thinkstock
From the British Open in Liverpool to Carnival in Venice and Rio de Janeiro, seagoing and river cruise lines are bringing guests to world celebrations, anniversaries and events in style.
For Car and Film Fans
Two of the most star-studded occasions in Europe – the Monte Carlo Grand Prix and the Cannes Film – are scheduled in May, and cruise lines are offering guests entree to both soirees on a range of itineraries.
Passengers on Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit May 18 voyage will sail from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, with overnights in Monte Carlo and Cannes. Travelers can book a two-day Grand Prix package with grandstand seating for the race and a dinner hosted by a former Formula 1 pilot. In Cannes, the film festival hosts free outdoor screenings every night.
Crystal Cruises’ Serenity will be in Monte Carlo during both the Grand Prix and the last day of the Cannes Film Festival. The line offers packages with grandstand seating and a night of celebration afterwards, rubbing shoulders with everyone from Formula 1 stars to royalty in the city’s exclusive Amber Lounge.
History Comes Alive
Cruise itineraries that include time in Normandy, France, are always popular, but in 2014 the 70th anniversary of D-Day is attracting ships from the seas and rivers in record numbers.
Cruises down the Seine onboard Uniworld’s River Baroness offer a full-day excursion from Rouen and include a wreath-laying ceremony, while Avalon Waterways’ Creativity offers guests Normandy landing beach excursions from Rouen and onboard screenings of “The World at War” documentary on eight-day departures from Paris.
By sea, Holland America Line’s Eurodam is sailing a 12-day anniversary cruise from Civitavecchia to Copenhagen on May 8, stopping in Cherbourg with excursions to Sainte-Mere-l’Eglise and Utah Beach. Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse has excursions to the landing beaches during its 14-night Scandinavia and Russia cruise departing from Southampton on July 19.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. To help commemorate the centennial, Tauck’s 10-day Belgium & Holland in Spring cruises in April include an exclusive dinner and evening in Ypres inside the In Flanders Fields Museum.
The pre-Lenten festivals of Europe and the Southern U.S. attract their fair share of cruise passengers. CroisiEurope, which recently moved into the American market, has two cruises during which guests don masks to join the famous Carnival in Venice.
The wild and colorful Carnival celebration in Rio De Janeiro brings a host of cruise visitors as well, including those sailing with Princess Cruises. Crown Princess’ 49-day South America debut cruise includes an overnight call during the height of the festivities. Holland America Line’s Maasdam will also dock in Rio during Carnival, one stop on the 26-day Amazon & Carnival Explorer cruise. Guests will spend three days in Rio and will receive day passes to parades, among other shore offerings.
Closer to home, Mardi Gras festivities are celebrated in New Orleans and onboard ships on the Mississippi. American Cruise Lines has a March 1 Mardi Gras cruise with a complimentary two-night pre-cruise stay in New Orleans and dinner at the legendary Antoine’s. The cruise also offers a number of exclusive tours, including a behind-the-scenes guided tour of Mardi Gras World and a float-building demonstration.
The Feb. 28 sailing on American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Queen includes a complimentary pre-cruise night in New Orleans to explore the festivities, and the party continues onboard with traditional jazz from the New Orleans All Stars; Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, which showcases Cajun and Zydeco music; and songstress Lena Prima, daughter of the famous Louis Prima.
Regattas and Golf Competitions
There is nothing quite like cruising under sail to a famous regatta. The Flowers of the Caribbean itinerary departing March 8 with Windstar Cruises includes spectacular views of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, where 200-plus boats from the four corners of the world compete.
St. Andrews and the British Open are the ultimate experiences for many golfers, and Azamara Club Cruises has opened the books on a 2015 cruise aboard the Quest. The 14-night cruise departs from Southampton on July 4 and includes a round of golf at the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles and tickets to the second round of the 144th Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Not only does combining a cruise with a major event check off a bucket-list item, it adds value: Even luxury ships can be a bargain when compared to the land-based costs of hotels and meals during a stellar event. For the traveler who wants to attend a special occasion, arriving by cruise is a great way to make an entrance.