Saturday, July 12, 2008

Golf at Sea; A Cruise and Golf Vacation Combo

She wants to go on a cruise. You want a golfing vacation. Does this mean separate vacations are in the offing?

Not necessarily. The world’s cruise lines seem dedicated to keeping couples together by offering itineraries that combine cruising with golfing all over the world. With more baby boomers entering the travel market and more ships sailing the high seas the cruise industry is continuing to expand their offerings to attract more and diverse groups. Since golfers represent an ideal target audience for both golf and cruising, more attention is being devoted to attracting golfers to cruise destinations.

According to cruise planners, whether or not you are on a “golf” cruise, some level of golf has been always been available whenever a golf course is near a port of call on their itinerary. If you wanted to golf you advised the cruise concierge and they would arrange a shore excursion that met your needs. However, if the concierge lacked a knowledge of local courses, the planning and research might end up as a guest responsibility. The new, golf focused itineraries have taken the golf experience to a new level and the onboard golf pro can be looked on as a resource.

Consider the “Silver Links” program available on 12 Silversea cruises in 2008 and 16 in 2009. Presented on the two larger ships of their fleet the Silver Links program is staffed by a PGA class golf pro who is available to provide onboard instruction for guests. State-of-the-art video technology is available to assist with the lessons and provide real time instructional feedback. If you don’t want to lug your clubs along, Nike clubs are available for rent on board so you can hit the beach ready to swing.

As for destinations, the common theme is warm weather. Consider the following Silversea itineraries available in 2008.
· The “Mexican Riviera” voyage from Los Angeles to Costa Rica will put you ashore for golf at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo and Acapulco.
· The “Caribbean” voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados will give you an opportunity to swing in Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados.
· The “South Pacific” voyage from Sydney to Auckland will put you on the links in Melbourne, Christchurch, Wellington and five other locations “down under.”

Any one of these cruises will give you a chance to acquire bag tags that will impress your friends.
According to a Silversea’s spokesman, “Our golf cruises are an excellent option for the affluent traveler looking to hone his or her game on the finest international links and fairways. Avid golfers of all levels can combine a luxury vacation with the chance to enjoy guided golf excursions and priority tee times at some of the world’s most celebrated courses.”

Silverseas is not the only line with a golf focus. Princess Cruises now operates full-time “golf academies at sea” on four of their newest ships and plans to add similar features on the rest of the fleet in the near future. Like Silversea, Princess golf academies are staffed with golf professionals, offer instructions, putting contests, shore arrangements and other services to make the cruise a memorable experience for the cruising golfer.

Carnival Cruises supports similar programs and the trend seems to be spreading to other cruise lines around the world.

So couples can stay together, cruise together and golf together if they wish. The cruise industry is only too happy to supply the itineraries and activities you seek to make your vacation time a memorable time.

To learn more about “golf at sea” programs visit these sites or contact a cruise professional:
For Silverseas, Then click “programs” and “enrichments.”

For Princess Golf,

Golf is not the only “specialty” offering available for a cruise. For example, consider the other enrichment topics available at Silversea.
· The Wine Series voyages offer lectures, tastings and private tours of world-class wineries and cellars. Red and white wine pairings are offered at meals to test the newly acquired knowledge.
· The Culinary voyages include guest chefs, special menus, demonstrations and cooking classes. Meals include some of the mouth watering offerings the guests saw prepared.
· The Art Aficionado voyages include guest lecturers whose presentations enhance visits to local art venues. Both visual and performing arts are highlighted.

That is just a sample of the long list of Silverseas specialty itineraries that also cover topics such as outdoor adventure, history and natural history. But they certainly don’t have a monopoly on theme cruises.

The website for the Cruise Lines International Association allows the traveler to select from a range of themed cruises from all of their member cruise lines.

Interested in rock’n roll music? Try Holland America Lines.

Want to attend personal finance and retirement planning seminars? Try Holland America, Crystal or Regent Lines.

Want to solve a murder mystery? Consider a “murder” itinerary with Cunard or Crystal Lines.The themed itinerary list goes on covering such diverse topics as theater, holidays, health and fitness, music and religion, just to name a few. Each cruise line approaches the idea a little differently and a good cruise travel agent could assist you with your planning. For a list of themed cruise options visit

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