Lonely Planet Writer

With cruising on the rise, here are 5 of the more unusual voyages you can take

More and more of us are taking to the high seas for a vacation of leisure. 2016 cruise passenger numbers have been released and a whopping 25.8 million people went on cruises last year.

Millions of us are setting sail every year. Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

The numbers far exceeded the original prediction made by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which was 24.2 million. The huge rise in numbers is attributed to an increasing number of Asian travellers opting to go on a cruise. The Caribbean remains the top destination with 35% of passengers while the Mediterranean comes in second at 18%.

The president of CLIA attributed the success of cruises to “the personalisation it is able to offer to its guests from around the world. [The industry] is so good at listening and reacting to what its customers want.” With that in mind, here’s 5 of the most unusual cruises you can take, proving there’s a liner out there for everybody.

The New York Times Crossword Cruise

If a crossword holiday is your idea of paradise, you're in luck. Image by Bruce Laurance
If a crossword holiday is your idea of paradise, you’re in luck. Image by Bruce Laurance

Indulge in some wordplay in this 9-day transatlantic crossing with the New York Times. As well as crossword tournaments and speed sessions, guests can attend lectures on the history of the crossword and learn how to put one together themselves. There will be afternoon teas and private cocktail parties where they can discuss that day’s puzzle with experts.

Prices start at $2895 and the next sailing is December 7-15.

Masterchef Cruise

Get hands on with this cruise as you sail through the Caribbean while meeting US Masterchef winners and all-stars and learning how to sharpen your own culinary skills. You can join the demos and all the menus onboard were created with the contestants’ influence. You’ll even get the chance to test yourself on one of the iconic Masterchef challenges.

The cruise sets sail November 12-19 and prices start from $1583.

Cruise Bare

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For the nudist in your life, Bare Necessities travel have a range of dedicated nudist cruises. Apart from when you’re docked at the port and in the dining rooms, guests are free to be completely nude at all times. You can even expect theme evenings like ‘Undressed To Kill: James Bond Night’. Their next cruise is July’s Mediterranean cruise starting from $1000 per person, though other destinations are planning for 2018 and 2019.

The Walking Dead Cruise

Now in its third year, January’s Walker Stalker Cruise is set to be the most star-studded yet and will welcome Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman on board, as well as actors Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Previous years have seen entertainment like concerts, Q&A session and autograph signings with the stars.

The cruise will sail from New Orleans to Cozumel and the pre-sale is open now.

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The Ark

Why choose between a festival and a cruise when you can combine the two? The Ark is a three-day electronic music festival set completely at sea. With seven stages onboard and featuring a star-studded lineup including DJs from Pacha and Ministry of Sound, the cruise will also be stopping in party spots Ibiza and Marseille and guests will have access to exclusive on-shore events there too.

Prices start at €549 per person for the three-night cruise departing from Barcelona.