12 Themed Cruises You Should Have On Your Radar In 2024

Taking a cruise is an experience unlike anything else. Days at sea on a ship full of entertainment and relaxation make for a fantastic vacation. But what if you want even more from your cruise? A theme might be what's missing. In addition to all the usual cruise experiences, themed cruises allow fans of a particular artist, lifestyle, hobby (or even animal), to celebrate their passion on the high seas with activities, events, surprises, and sometimes special guests.

There are dozens of themed cruises on offer each year, usually hosted by major cruise lines like Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean. But don't let their numbers fool you. According to Business Insider, themed cruises are rapidly climbing in popularity, and some trips are selling out in record time. That means it's important to find your dream-themed cruise and reserve your tickets as early as possible.

Fortunately, even if they're sold out, most themed cruises will let you join a waiting list, so there's still hope! Here are 12 themed cruises that will set sail in 2024 and are well worth boarding, either now or the next time they hit the high seas.

The Emo's Not Dead Cruise

If you truly know it's not a phase, the Emo's Not Dead Cruise is perfect for you. Gather with fellow emo fans for four days (and nights) of concerts, activities, and even a private party at Great Stirrup Kay in the Bahamas. Over a dozen bands will perform, including Yellowcard, Senses Fail, and Armor for Sleep. Alongside themed activities like a masquerade ball, cruisegoers can also enjoy surprisingly cheerful activities like a bellyflop competition in the ship's pool.

The first Emo's Not Dead cruise was in 2022. Cruisegoer and emo fan TheReelChris shared highlights on YouTube, calling it "EPIC." Fans in the comments section agree, with Schecterplayer92 adding, "This was one of the best experiences of my life." With a killer lineup and entertaining activities scheduled, it seems like Emo's Not Dead 2024 will also be a rad experience. The cruise will be hosted on the Norwegian Pearl, leaving from Miami on February 26 and returning on March 1, 2024. But what would an emo-related cruise be without a little sadness? Unfortunately, the cruise is already sold out. If you're interested, you can sign up for the waiting list and hope.

Meow Meow Cruise

Some of us know that no matter how great a vacation might be, cats would make it even better. Meow Meow Cruise has solved that problem. While guests unfortunately aren't allowed to bring their own furry friends aboard Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady, the four-day cruise will give them their feline fix in plenty of other ways. 

Activities include cat-themed trivia and a scavenger hunt. But the best part may be communing with fellow cat people (many of whom stroll around the ship wearing cat ears). You'll also be able to mingle with real cats — one of 2024's ports of call is Key West, where you'll find the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum and its community of about 60 friendly polydactyl kitties, many of them descended from one of the author's own pets.

It's hard to find reviews for Meow Meow Cruise, but the fact that this themed cruise has been going on annually since 2015 speaks for itself. The 2024 Meow Meow Cruise sets sail from Miami on February 21, with a return date of February 25. Tickets are still available, but to be sure you don't miss out, consider booking right now.

In My Cruise Era

Sure, cruises are great — and cruising is a multi-billion dollar industry — but is anything more popular than Taylor Swift? For those who can't imagine anyone saying "no" to that question, there's no better cruise than In My Cruise Era. While not officially affiliated with Taylor Swift, this themed cruise is a passionate fan homage. Swifties will be able to dress up in their favorite Taylor-inspired looks, exchange friendship bracelets, perform their idol's songs during karaoke sessions, and more. We're also guessing there will be of lots impromptu song breaks throughout the ship from Taylor's extensive catalog.

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas will host this cruise, which sets sail from Miami on October 21, 2024 — which, as People Magazine points out, is one day after the Eras Tour will be in the city. Fans lucky enough to attend the concert can continue their Taylor euphoria for four more days on the high seas. Since this is a new themed cruise, there aren't any reviews, but based on the positive fan vibes from Eras Tour concerts and movie viewings, among other events, we're guessing it's going to be a great time for Swifties. Swifties must agree, since the cruise is already sold out. Cancellations do happen, though, so hopeful fans can join the waiting list. Contact the cruise's organizers to sign up.

Disney's Halloween on the High Seas

Go on just about any cruise-related blog or website and you'll see that Disney Cruise Line's Halloween-themed cruise, officially called Halloween on the High Seas, is a popular favorite. As you probably expect from Disney, this themed cruise is perfect for a family vacation, so it's not too scary. The cruise is hosted on multiple Disney Cruise Line ships, and each one is decorated with the care and attention to detail you'll find in most Disney-related enterprises. The Pumpkin Tree is the highlight of the decor, with pumpkins that eventually appear on its branches and transform into lit and unlit jack o'lanterns.

Halloween on the High Seas also features Halloween activities (including a trick-or-treating night) and exclusive Halloween-themed desserts. Disney cruises in general are known for their opportunities to meet the studio's beloved characters, and during the Halloween on the High Seas cruises, some of those characters are in costume. Notably, Disney Cruise Line's official site tells us, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, and Clarabelle Cow will be dressed as the Sanderson Sisters — who wouldn't want to see that? 

This magical mixture of whimsy, fun, and exclusive opportunities is the perfect way to cast a spell on Disney fans of all ages. Luckily, Halloween on the High Seas is held during a number of different times in September and October, so you and your family should be able to find a place on board!

The Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise

Sure, Hallmark Channel Christmas movies might be a little on the cheesy side, but let's be honest: lots of us dream of being in one in real life. You can get a little of the real-life Hallmark movie experience by visiting some of the movies' filming locations, but now there's a way to have an even more immersive experience: The Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise.

Passengers will get to meet Hallmark Channel movie stars, attend panels and photo ops, and get to see a new Hallmark Christmas movie before its world premiere. Maybe best of all, passengers can take part in lots of Hallmark Christmas movie-inspired activities, including tree lighting and cookie decorating — all while wearing their favorite ugly Christmas sweaters.

2024 is the first year of the Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise. It was originally intended to be just one cruise, but a second one was added after the first one sold out. As of now, two Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruises are scheduled for 2024. Both go from Miami to the Bahamas and back and last four days in November. ... And both are sold out. But Christmas is a time of miracles, so if a Hallmark Channel Christmas experience on the high seas sounds like your dream come true, sign up for the waiting list as soon as you can!

Hurtigruten Northern Lights cruises

Themed cruises are often about fandoms and hobbies. But Norway-based cruise line Hurtigruten offers a themed cruise that's about something even bigger: the Northern Lights. There are several Northern Lights-themed cruises out there, including some luxurious options by Cunard. Unfortunately, the Northern Lights aren't always visible, but Hurtigruten stands out by offering a Northern Lights Promise for cruises scheduled between September 26 and March 31 and lasting longer than 11 days. If the Northern Lights aren't visible during your cruise, they'll give you another one. So if you're serious about seeing the Aurora Borealis, this is the company to choose.

The Northern Lights are the focus of Hurtigruten's eponymous cruises, but there are also other things to do on board, including scientific lectures and photography lessons. There are excursions, too — notably a dog sledding option. Passengers who've taken one of Hurtigruten's cruises unanimously praise the stunning fjords and landscapes you can admire from the ship and during excursions, not to mention their experiences of seeing the Northern Lights. Some warn that the ships aren't as luxurious or modern as many other cruise ships, primarily because Hurtigruten's ships are also functional vessels intended to transport and deliver mail to various points on the Norwegian coast. Still, Cruise Critic reviewers like cmolaison praise the friendly crew, the surprising level of comfort, and the "stunning vistas" you'll see, saying he and his family "highly recommend" taking a Hurtigruten cruise.

Cruise & Crop Crafting Cruises

If the perfect vacation for you is a combination of R&R and crafting, you're in luck! There are several crafting-themed cruises. One of the most popular is organized by Cruise & Crop, with ships around the world hosting different crafting- and arts-themed trips. This makes them the most accessible themed cruises on our list, with different price ranges, departure points, itineraries, and ports of call. One thing all crafting cruises have in common, though, is groups of like-minded people exploring their creativity amid the other joys of cruising.

For instance, one of Crop & Cruise's 2024 offerings is a Mexican Riviera cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, featuring scrapbooking and other papercraft classes taught by artist Barb Warne. The ship departs from Los Angeles on April 19, returning April 26. Many Cruise & Crop cruises sell out quickly, so if this idea has sparked both your wanderlust and your creativity, be sure to check their list of 2024 cruises and reserve as soon as you can.

Star Trek: The Cruise

For seven days and nights every year, thousands of Star Trek fans gather to be a part of a fandom extravaganza at sea. Star Trek: The Cruise is an experience that features celebrities aboard (2024's guests include LeVar Burton and Wil Wheaton, among many others), costume and cosplay events, and lots of fun activities. 

But what makes Star Trek: The Cruise truly unique is that audience participation is very much encouraged. Passengers and celebrity guests are all considered the crew of one great, big, intergalactic vessel. Passengers get to interact with the guest stars in events like karaoke battles, and stars share parts of their earthly lives with Q&A sessions and even glimpses at other projects they may be involved in.

The first Star Trek: The Cruise was held in 2017 and since then it's been a fan favorite. Star Wars and cruising aficionado Aaron Bossig writes on Trek Movie.com that many fans go on the cruise every year, and proudly wear t-shirts from the previous ones. He calls Star Trek: The Cruise "an extra special convention experience." 2024's edition will be held on the Mariner of the Seas, departing from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on February 22 and returning on February 29.

Literature Festival at Sea

Once a year, aboard the legendary Queen Mary 2, passengers can mingle with writers, poets, journalists, and critics in a full-blown literary festival in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Literature Festival at Sea invites writers in all genres to host round table discussions, participate in Q&As revolving around their work and areas of expertise, host workshops, and converse with passengers.

Whether passengers want to participate as much as possible or just attend a few events, the Festival seems to be an excellent addition to a typical Queen Mary 2 voyage. On TripAdvisor, passenger Artemis C writes of her experience at a previous Literature Festival at Sea that "the whole week was a joy". 

2024's lineup features crime novelists, journalists, historians, and more, for what's sure to be a fascinating week of discussion and discovery. If you'd like to combine an elegant transatlantic cruise and a literary experience, 2024's Literature Festival at Sea will take place from November 13-20, departing from Southampton, U.K., and arriving in New York. Cunard has also launched an Australian Literature Festival at Sea, scheduled from December 11-16, 2024, on the Queen Elizabeth, which departs from and returns to Sydney. 

Chefs Making Waves

Many cruise lines are proud of their food offerings. Some cruises feature dishes created by world-famous chefs, and others even host food and wine festivals. But no culinary cruise event seems quite as, well, fun, as Chefs Making Waves. This culinary-themed cruise will set sail for the first time in 2024. Onboard will be a number of beloved celebrity chefs, including Anne Burrell and the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro. Cooking demos and, of course, food tastings of all kinds (including sit-down meals, desserts, and street food) are on the menu. Best of all, Chefs Making Waves is an all-inclusive cruise, so everyone can eat and drink without having to pay extra!

There will be all of the usual cruise-related fun, from swimming to excursions, to help you work up an appetite. There will also be unique games, with some of the chefs participating in events like bingo and a celebrity chef sing-off. If this sounds like an awesome cruise, you're not the only one who feels that way. Chefs Making Waves will take place from March 25-29, departing from Miami with excursions in Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas ... and it's already sold out. But you can still sign up for the waiting list. With a little luck, you'll be able to enjoy this delicious, themed cruise experience.

Soul Train Cruise

Imagine a festival with a lineup featuring some of the best soul and R&B acts of all time. Now imagine it's on a relaxing cruise ship. This dream is actually reality — it's called the Soul Train Cruise. The popular themed cruise will be celebrating its 11th year in 2024 and the lineup is on fire. Dozens of groups and artists will perform, including The Temptations, Boyz II Men, and En Vogue. Passengers can also learn how to dance like people did back in the old school days of Soul Train's TV show, with lessons from some of the show's actual dancers. There will also be wine tastings, Q&A's, comedy shows, and a lot more.

With all of this on offer, it's no surprise that the Soul Train Cruise is sold out. But sign up on the waiting list and keep your calendar free from January 27-February 3, and you may get lucky. If you do, the cruise leaves from Fort Lauderdale, with ports of call in Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and St. Maarten.

The Gothic Cruise

The Gothic Cruise is an annual event held on an ordinary cruise ship. Goths mingle with "norms" but have their own private events on board, mostly DJ sets and concerts. There's also a masquerade ball, with Goths decked out in their finest Victorian-style garb ... as long as it meets ship safety requirements, that is. The cruise's website specifies that simulated weapons aren't allowed and notes that hoop skirts are fine for the ball but not in the ship's dining areas, "due to the close proximity of the tables". And yet, the Goth community thrives on these cruises — and even gains norm fans along the way. 

In a Porthole Magazine article about the Gothic Cruise, longtime attendee Spike Pittman says that many mainstream passengers are wary of the Goths at first, "But by the end they're begging to get into our private events." Some even book their future cruises to coincide with the Gothic Cruise, even if they don't plan on attending every event. 

The Gothic Cruise has been held since 1989. Cruising doesn't seem very Goth, but in the end, the article points out, it comes down to what all themed cruises offer: a sense of community (in this case, one that often stays up all night and sleeps during the day). If this moves your little black heart, the 2024 Gothic Cruise will be held on the Norwegian Escape (but book through the Gothic Cruise's website for private event access), departing from Orlando on March 2, and returning March 9.