Published on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From knitting to shark diving: Themed cruises for 2014

From knitting to shark diving, from the high seas to the Danube, cruisers next year will find trips that fit their speed.

Crystal Cruises and AMAWaterways yesterday separately announced new themes that teach and entertain for 2014.

Crystal Cruises is expanding its 2014 Experiences of Discovery theme program with six new entries that cover thrill-seeking, elegance, the Roman Empire, maritime history, magic, and microbrews. 

For the less adventurous, AmaWaterways announced its newest river cruise with a theme, the Knitting New Year's cruise that will welcome in 2015 with a trip down the Danube River in Germany.

Ama says knitting is "fast becoming a hip and trendy hobby."

At Crystal, the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will offer 23 theme-focused cruises in 2014, with hands-on activities, performances, educational presentations, and expert instruction on board the ship, as well as optional Crystal Adventures ashore, all centered on one area of interest.

The new Crystal themes are:

Extreme Thrill Seekers: Crystal's version of the Discovery Channel, with expert shark divers, underwater photographers, and deep-sea treasure hunters  (March 10, Singapore to Cape Town).

Explorations in Elegance: Auction house experts will share their insights on rare jewels, renowned wines, and over-the-top international real estate (April 18, London to Rome).

Gladiators & Empires: A celebration of the Roman Empire and its influences on art, religion, law, war, social structure, science, and architecture... easily explored via Italy's iconic ruins and renowned museums ashore (May 18, Venice to Barcelona).

Up Close & Magical: An expansion of Crystal's exclusive entertainment program, Magic Castle at Sea, with multiple masters from Hollywood's exclusive members-only club, The Magic Castle, sharing their illusionary talents  (December 11, round-trip Miami).

Maritime: Past, Present & Future: Experts and historians offer unique perspectives and fascinating stories of maritime history, from the lavishness of luxury liners to the boldness of battleships (October 28, San Diego to Auckland).

Wine & Food: Microbrews: Crystal's acclaimed culinary theme embraces the growing popularity of microbreweries, with experts, tasting, and cuisine pairing. (November 5, NY to Miami)

Returning themes include Mind, Body, & Spirit; Film & Theatre; Jazz; Ballroom at Sea (formerly named "Big Band & Ballroom Dance"); Wine & Food; Golf (Wine & Food and Golf also join together during September 5's Britain to New England sailing); Ocean Views (world affairs expert panel discussion); Emerging Artists (young performers from the Music Center of Los Angeles' Spotlight Awards); President's Cruise (hosted by Crystal President Gregg Michel); Comprehensive Creative Learning Institute (enhanced enrichment curriculum on World Cruise segments); and Crystal Society (gathering past Crystal cruisers).

Until June 28, all-inclusive "Book Now" fares for 2014 theme cruises start at $1,995 a person, with additional savings available for groups of six or more. 

Ama Waterways, meanwhile, will ring in the new year with a Knitting New Year's Cruise down the Danube on the AmaBella, from December 27, 2014, to January 2, 2015.

"The age-old handicraft of knitting is experiencing a renaissance of cool as a younger generation rediscovers its social and creative appea," Ama says, and has a fast learning curve, cross-gender appeal and a social aspect."

The cruise will feature the latest in luxury yarns, forums on fashion trends, and classes on new stitch patterns and techniques.

It will be hosted by acclaimed textile expert Barry Klein, owner of Trendsetter Yarns in Los Angeles.

"Younger knitters may be using the same techniques and equipment as previous generations, but their use of Facebook and Twitter to form online communities and share patterns is a distinctly modern twist," Ama says. "Think of this cruise as an onboard knitting meetup for people of all levels, from beginners to advanced. It will definitely be a unique and fashion-forward way to ring in 2015."

By Cheryl Rosen






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