“Thousands of dollars to be trapped at sea on a potentially-stomach-virus-ridden boat filled with obnoxious strangers? No thank y…wait what’s that about open bar and all-you-can-eat buffets? I’m fucking in.”
~Cruise Liner Customers
We all have either been on a cruise ship, or know someone who has. It’s one of those vacations that feels fancy, in terms of cost and luxury, while also feeling kind of middle class, because rich people have their own boats, so it’s the rest of us who have to save up all year for a week of getting shitfaced on the ocean. The average cruise enthusiast, and yes there are people who only vacation on cruise ships, is like, a mildly overweight but overall healthy middle-aged couple from suburban Texas named Pam and Ron who laugh very loudly at every joke, immediately befriend people waiting in lines with them, and who have a shared Facebook profile. Like, there is a very specific kind of person who is really into cruises, and we totally support that person, they’re fun to talk to and every year they go on a cruise and make like, 20 lifelong friends, and that’s great. But, if you’re anything like us, you’d assume that the cruise market is like, big but not huge. There can only be so much demand for being crammed in a windowless room on a boat for like, $4,000 a week. Right?
Wrong. The cruise industry is huge. Like, holy shit, 20 million people go on cruises every year. It’s a $38 billion dollar industry that employs over 300,000 Americans. It’s big business, apparently! Enough people have been going on cruises for so long that newcomers to the industry have to find a way to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, and find niche customers outside of the general “we like to go on cruises everywhere” crowd (hi Pam, hi Ron, yes we did see that post of your daughter graduating high school, congratulations). And so theme cruises burst on the scene, and have been growing in popularity exponentially in recent years.
You know what we’re talking about. It’s a cruise to somewhere exotic and warm, but with special events that are related on a basic theme. That theme could be a singles cruise, it could be a Star Trek cruise (also known as a singles cruise), or it might just be a cruise ship where you get to party with Kid Rock. And while you might have heard about a few of the sillier sounding ones, like the Gronk cruise, you’d be shocked to know the sheer amount of theme cruises available, with all sorts of weird themes. Like, did you know there are an insane amount of scrapbook cruises? One scrapbook themed cruise should be enough to facilitate everyone in the middle of the Venn diagram of “likes cruises” and “is way into scrapbooking” but apparently not. And these aren’t even the most absurd themed cruises out there. We could show you all sorts of crazy ones.
Oh what’s that? You’d like us to do that? Oh, okay then, sure.
America’s Most Absurd Themed Cruises
Most theme cruises make sense. There are numerous culinary or alcohol themed cruises (think “gourmet food cruise” or “craft beer enthusiasts cruise”) which is smart because a lot of people go on cruise boats to eat or drink. There are entertainment based cruises, like the Warped Tour cruise, which makes sense because entertainment like concerts and shows are a huge part of a cruise as well. And you of course have your Disney cruises, because the people who love Disney really really love Disney, and sure, you have your fandom cruises, which are basically floating conventions. Again, most of these make sense.
The following however? Not so much.
Doll Adventures Cruise
Finally, a cruise for those of us who love sleep in a pitch dark room knowing that dozens of unblinking eyes are watching us. Or, like, parents who want to take their daughter on a cruise with her dolls. Which, honestly, we’re not sure which is creepier? Like, everything about Doll Adventures sounds kind of like it’s the start of a horror film about a creepy rich girl with no friends. “Welcome to Doll Adventures,” their site greets you. “Creating the ultimate travel experience for you, your little girl and her doll,” it adds, which, yuck, right? That just feels…wrong.
It’s setting sail next year, going through Amsterdam, France, Germany and Switzerland, and the idea is straightforward, or as straightforward as someone saying, “You know who there are no cruises for? Fucking dolls” can be. You heard it here first, folks, this shit’s going to end up like a fucking Agatha Christie murder mystery. Doll Murder on the Rhine. Just look at that picture up there, that’s from their website, and that girl is going to kill you because her dollies told her too. There is no life behind those eyes. That girl took this picture right after answering the question, “Jessica…ho…how did…how did you know there was a body here,” with a hollow, “They told me.”
When we first heard about this we kind expected it to be a cruise for adult doll enthusiasts, and we’re still going back and forth on if it’s better that it’s for kids, or if that somehow makes it even worse.
Some Equity Theater in Sarasota’s Cruise
If you live in Sarasota, Florida, or the general Sarasota area, you’ve likely gone to the Asolo Repertory Theater. It’s the largest Equity theater in Florida, the largest repertory theater in the Southeastern United states, and it’s been putting on high quality performances for fifty years. Now, all that being said, wh..why do they have their own cruise to Cuba? Like, you can be a fan of a regional theater, but like, really? $4,000 to get “a thrilling peek behind the scenes of [the] 2018/19 season” on a ten day ride to Cuba? That seems excessive, right?
Maybe we underestimate regional theater groupies, but this seems impressively unnecessary. And it’s not the first time they’ve done it, either, like clearly they tried it before and got enough interest to try it again. Though, admittedly, the cruise only has 3 RSVPs and 19 “interested” on the Facebook event for it, so maybe Asolo Rep overestimated the demand in this instance.
Oh no. Oh, oh dear. Like, we, man. We get this, like, we understand it’s purpose, but man. Woof. Just, okay. This got dark really fast. Let’s move on shall we?
A Bill Bryson Cruise
Listen, we read Bill Bryson, and think he’s great. He’s crazy knowledgeable, and writes about things in a way to make even boring topics interesting, but, like, is he really “go on a 14 day cruise with him” good? Like that’s a long fucking time, man. We’re not sure if we’d want to do a 14 day cruise with our family, not to mention some random author. Like, unless that author was Hemingway or Twain, 14 days seems way too long. (We would have included Kerouac in that list, but the boat likely would run out of booze after 14 days in that instance.) But hey, good for Bill for getting a (we hope) free cruise out of the deal.
Chess Moves #5
So not only is it a chess cruise (nerrrrddsss) but it’s the fifth time they’ve done it? Okay, just making sure. So you can pay between $1,600 and $4,000 to take a cruise to Cuba (man, a lot of these go to Cuba for some reason) that includes, as entertainment, a “US Chess-sanctioned Swiss-style tournament” as well as casual play, which, we’ll say it again, neeerrrrdddds.
Of course our favorite part of this cruise is that it’s the fifth time they’ve done it. Apparently a lot more people are into both cruises and chess than we would have otherwise assumed.
The New Yorker: Cartoonists at Sea
Haha, wait, what? There’s really a cruise for the cartoonists of the New Yorker? Man, that is the most rich person New York, upper-east-side-Manhattan thing imaginable. No, wait, we can do you one better—there are four different transatlantic cruises that each have their own cartoonist from the New Yorker. You don’t even get to do workshops and interact with all the cartoonists, you have to choose your favorite and go on that cruise. Wow, just. Wow. So excited to watch those spaces fill up with the living personifications of the New York Times Weddings & Celebrations section.
“Spiritual Odyssey with Renowned Psychic Matt Fraser”
Hahahaha, oh God, just when we thought we couldn’t find a more bullshit cruise theme, but holy shit. This is fucking poetry. So first of all, Matt Fraser has like, a suupah wicked Bawston accent, but also a kind of high pitched voice, which makes it an interesting decision to put a 34 second audio-only preview of what to expect from the cruise on the website, but hey, whatever. Oh, you bet your ass we listened to and transcribed that audio preview.
“You’ve seen me on Fox News, CBS Radio, and major media outlets across the nation. Now I want you to join me on a seven day psychic odyssey on the sea. I’m gonna be delivering messages from heaven, taking you swimming with dolphins, and more importantly, helping you connect with your spirit guides, your loved ones, and your higher self.”
He actually says that! Like, just sit back and appreciate the fact that today you woke up not even imagining someone offering to bring you messages from heaven in one breath, and in the next breath promising to take you swimming with dolphins. Just, oh man.
Oh, and then he closes out his little pitch for the cruise by asking you to, “Join this once in a lifetime reunion with heaven.” Wow.
Um, anyway, yeah, so if you want to go on a cruise with a, Jesus, 26-year-old psychic who’s going to pretend to talk to your dead family members you can do that. But honestly, it’s probably a lot healthier for you to just go on that Bereavement Cruise from earlier. We see its value now.