Theme cruise? Isn't gluttony the theme on a cruise? Not so fast. There's plenty more to do on a cruise ship besides eat and drink your days away. And for those with more than a passing interest on any number of topics -- eight of them outlined here -- there are cruises that cater to your interests whether it's music, fitness or even vampires.
Theme cruises aren't widely advertised and in fact, not advertised by the cruise lines at all in many instances. Most theme cruises are organized by travel agents, so you're not likely to find information about most theme cruises on the cruise line's web site or in the cruise section of your favorite online travel agency no matter how much digging you do. But not to worry – we've included a link for booking each of the cruises selected as the top eight of 2012.
Saw: The Horror Cruise on the Carnival Glory
If just watching the "Saw" movies isn't cutting it anymore, don't fear: You can mingle with actual "Saw "celebrities and other die-hard fans on board the Carnival Glory this summer. The five-night cruise leaves from New York City on August 11 and calls on two Canada ports – St. John and Halifax – plus two days at sea. Varying levels of "Saw" interaction are available: At the lowest level, a dance party with the "Saw" stars and individual photos are included. At the middle level, dine with a "Saw" celebrity and participate in a mini-golf tournament with them. At the highest level, private VIP cocktails with the stars.
KISS (and other) Music Cruises on the Norwegian Pearl
If you missed the last one and have been kicking yourself since, here's a bit of good news: The second KISS Kruise will depart on October 31 round-trip from Miami on the Norwegian Pearl and call on the line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Organized by music-cruise organizer Sixthman, the price of the cruise includes all the usual cruise stuff, plus a ticketed indoor KISS concert, an acoustic KISS concert on the pool deck, a KISS Q&A, a photo of your cabin mates with the band and more.
The Norwegian Pearl will also host the Blake Shelton Cruise Oct. 14 – Oct 21 and the Simple Man Cruise Oct 27 – Oct 31.
Fitness and Running Cruise on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas
If you think a cruise is nothing more than a mile-long buffet, sugary drinks and lots of people who probably shouldn't be wearing bikinis in public, think again. On Royal Caribbean International's Royal 5K, hosted in conjunction with ESPN International, running -- both onboard and in port -- is the main event. The seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Allure of the Seas departs Dec 1 from Fort Lauderdale and features sunrise and sunset runs; midnight scavenger hunt runs; beach runs, kids runs and the main event: the Royal 5k on St. Maarten. There are also training talks and seminars with athletes onboard, cooking demos and stretching and calisthenics seminars.