Five Unusual Cruise Vacations

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When it comes to cruise vacations, one thing is clear: the cruise industry has truly found a niche in offering a variety of unconventional experiences. You won't believe the curious vacations available! From the North Pole to southern blues jazz, here are our top five picks for unusual cruise vacations!

#1 -- The North Pole: Fancy a trek to the North Pole? If so, consider the North Pole Expedition cruise which departs from Helsinki, Finland and takes as its course the Arctic Ocean en route to one of the "last ecologically intact wilderness sanctuaries on our planet."

A cruise for the true adventurer, an excursion through the polar ice cap is truly an experience of a lifetime -- and ticket prices begin at $19,200 per passenger (with a down-filled parka included for good measure.) Expedition Cruises has been specializing in Russian Arctic excursions since 2001 and provides a premier cruise experience on its ship -- considered the "the largest and most modern nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world."

Before you book your ticket, be sure to look into securing a Russian visa, as the ship is property of the Russian Federation and cruises in its territory.

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#2 -- Crafting: Are yarn, knitting needles, and spinning wheels with a healthy dose of creativity more your thing? CraftCruises offers cruises with global itineraries which offer the opportunity to indulge in crafting activities such as knitting, beading, spinning, needlepoint, and more.

Quality instructors offer single classes or intensive schedules which give you the opportunity to hone your skills at your own pace in a relaxing environment. Whether your destination is Hawaii, Norway, Bermuda, or China, going on one of these unique cruises will ensure that you bring home a great souvenir.

Should you find that one of CraftCruises' eight crafting cruise itineraries doesn't quite fit the bill for your next getaway, the company also welcomes ideas for new trips and will charter its ships and crew for your group. If you love the idea of exploring a new hobby or honing your expertise in a specific cruise but don't particularly enjoy sailing on the high seas, CraftCruises also holds land trips on an annual basis, which has all the appeal of its popular cruises but with the comfort and amenities of land travel. The next trip -- in August 2011 -- features travel through the Canadian Rockies by rail "on a classic rail car." Whatever your choice, you'll be sure to enjoy the opportunity to get away and relax with your favorite crafting hobbies!

#3 -- Blues Cruise: A perennially enjoyable cruise vacation typically consists of a cool drink, warm weather and great buffets. Blues Cruise offers this type of vacation, made extraordinary with the soundtrack of smooth blues jazz beats. Not just for musical aficionados of the genre, this cruise line's excursions offer appearances by renowned blues jazz musicians, pro jam sessions, and nightly performances, while additionally offering all of its passengers a "backstage pass" to participate in artist workshops, demos, autograph parties, and industry panels. The biannual cruise alternates between sailing through the Caribbean and Mexican Rivera, with a variety of headlining musicians and featured artists on each excursion.

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