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Theme Cruises You May Not Believe 

Let’s call if the extreme of theme. That’s not the name of a new musical group or TV reality show, it’s just a way of identifying what’s coming up in the way of, ah, unusual cruises this winter.

Here’s a quick look at three upcoming theme cruises:

The Meow Meow Cruise

This one’s for cat lovers, but not cats. On the Carnival Paradise next April 21, passengers who are cat lovers (or cat lovers who are passengers) will gather to participate in feline-meow-meow-cruise2themed activities while cruising from Tampa to Cozumel, and back. Suggestions for activities are “You scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours” and “Isn’t a perfect place for a flea market?”

The Walking Dead Cruise

This three-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Pearl in January is for zombies. Every family has theme. Yes, ours does, too. It appeals to fans of the hit TV series because they’ll have a chance to hang with Daryl and Carl and Beth and Sasha and Tyreese…and if those names aren’t familiar to you, welcome to the club. Their fans have lots of money — an inside cabin is $750, or $250 a night — and it’s sold out.

2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise

Also in January, this one on the Celebrity Reflection, although it’s a Caribbean cruise — also from Miami — that Boston baseball fans could be on this week, since they have nothing better to do during the baseball playoffs. Among the ex-players on the Reflection will be Luis Tiant and Jim Rice, although Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi would have been better, since they actually won with the Red Sox.

In the news…

• Carnival latest to name its new "air program" — Fly2Fun
• Royal Caribbean: 90 departures, 20 per cent increase in Australia
• Norwegian guests on new TV series 'Dream Quest With Evette Rios'

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news


Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas
16 nights
November 19, 2015
Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Funchal, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
Inside: $697
Cost per day: $43
www.royalcaribbean.com

Teams and Cruise Lines: Is There an End Game?

Okay, does the cruise industry understand what it's getting itself into here? Earlier this year, Celebrity became the official cruise line of the Boston Red Sox. Then, Norwegian adopted the New York Knicks. Now, it's Carnival and the New Orleans Saints

Do cruise lines have any idea of many of  "them" there are compared to how many of "us"?

If you just take the four major sports, there are 122 teams — football (32), baseball (30), basketball (30) and hockey (30). How far down the list of cruise lines would you have to go to find a sponsor for the 122nd team on the list — the Southern Liberian Canoe Company? There can't be 122 cruise lines, can there?

And how could any of them dodge the conflict-of-interest morality to be the "official cruise line" of more than one team?

Even if you made it the official "baseball" cruise line of the Boston Red Sox, allowing them to spread their officialdom to other sports, you'd still need at least 30 cruise lines to complete the process.

Somehow, saying that the Oklahoma City Thunder's official cruise line is the Pearl Seas Cruises just doesn't sound right, does it?

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas
15 nights

November 23, 2013
BarcelonaCadizTenerifeLisbon, Salvador De Bahia, Rio De JanieroSao Paulo 
Inside: $739
Cost per day: $49
www.royalcaribbean.com

Red Sox and Celebrity Celebrating

You could say Celebrity Cruises knew something last spring when it became the "official cruise line" of the Boston Red Sox or, if you are cynical, you could say Celebrity was playing the sympathy card by attaching itself to a city in mourning from the murders at the Marathon…unlikely because such co-promotions don't usually happen within two weeks, the span between the Marathon and the announcement.

Whether Celebrity was clairvoyant or not, the arrangement could not have worked Celebrity Solsticeout better. In case you haven't heard, the Red Sox are the champions of baseball. They did have the best record in the game when the announcement was made but nobody anticipated they would go from the worst team of 2012 to the best of 2013.

But they did.

En route to their third championship season in a decade, the Red Sox (and Celebrity) made winners of fans. Four times every month, they entered a draw to win a trip for two on the Red Sox Fan Cruise. Every Fenway Park double play gave a fan $200 off a Celebrity cruise. And while the January 12th cruise — Big Papi won't be on the Silhouette but former Red Sox players are supposed to be — still has space available, if it's not sold out it will be a small miracle.

Kind of like the one that took place on the field this season.

Holland America Rotterdam
11 nights
November 30, 2013
AthensIstanbul, Dikili, Ephesus, Marmaris, Crete, Valletta, CataniaNaplesRome
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $45
www.hollandamerica.com

Batter Up for the Celebrity Sox

I love cruising. I love baseball. When Celebrity announced yesterday that it's now the "official cruise line of the Boston Red Sox", for me there was only one thing I didn't like about it.

Wrong Sox.

When I was a still a second-grader, my parents took me to Chicago (Palatine, Ill. actually) and introduced me to big-league baseball. It happened that the White Sox and not the Cubs were home that week, planting the seed for a lifelong attachment to a team that has won the World Series fewer times than Boston in the last century — which is to say one time.

But the Red Sox are the darlings of Fenway. There's something romantic about all things Boston but especially the Red Sox. Before they broke their 85-year curse for trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, sympathy poured over the Red Sox and there were widespread celebrations when the jinx mercifully ended in 2004.

The next year, the "other Sox" ended their 88-year drought by winning the Series. Outside of Chicago, did anybody but me really care? Were there any distant celebrations beyond the champagne cork that popped on our patio?

So it figures that when Celebrity went looking for a "celebrity" big-league team, it would be the Red Sox, who by the way have won two World Series since 1918 yet still are more popular than teams far more successful. The new marketing arrangement 

between the two means a 2014 Red Sox Fan Cruise with former (unnamed) Boston players and announcer Joe Castiglione. The Silhouette leaves Fort Lauderdale on January 12 for a week in the Western Caribbean.

Not everybody will pay to be there. At four home games every month before then, Celebrity will give Fenway fans a chance to win a trip for two on the special cruise. Every time the Red Sox turn a double play at home this season — Boston's averaging one DP a game so far — one fan will get $200 off a Celebrity cruise. There will be special events with giveaways and appearances by Red Sox legends throughout the season, and it won't be hard to find a Celebrity sign at Fenway.

The timing of the announcement couldn't be better for the cruise line: The Red Sox have the best record in baseball and they have rabid fans from "Red Sox Nation" ready to line up for World Series.

But they still have the wrong Sox.


Carnival Glory
7 nights
September 28, 2013
 New York (return): Boston, Portland, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney
Inside: $369
Cost per day: $52
www.carnival.com

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