It seems there’s a themed cruise for everyone, whether you’re a fan of Star Trek, Chris Jericho or Broadway musicals.
For travelers who seek them, the cruise ships They are no longer just about relaxing on a boat while hopping from one destination to another. It is about surrounding yourself exclusively with a community of people with the same specific interests. And monetizing that passion is becoming a big part of the global cruise industry, which moves more than 7,000 million dollars (6,585 million euros).
In a normal comedy show, the person sitting next to you may be a casual fan or a huge fan of the comic. But if you go in October to Bert Kreischer’s comedy cruise Fully Loaded at Sea, with all the tickets sold out, chances are good that everyone around you is a huge fan of Kreischer and his peers.
Jeff Cuellar, Sixthman’s vice president of events, marketing and community, explains to Business Insider that “those who go on the cruise are members of a superfan club.” Sixthman will manage the upcoming comedy cruise. The company was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Line in 2012 and now conducts itineraries with diverse themes such as heavy metal, wrestling and emo’s not dead.
In recent years, this promise of community at sea has captured the attention of thousands of travelers. And now, these themed itineraries are selling better than ever.
In the last 8 months, several of Sixthman’s reserves have been depleted in record timeCuellar says. His Rock the Bells hip-hop cruise it sold out in less than 5 days without its lineup being publicly announced. EDSea, a play on words with the electronic music festival Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), also sold out in 3 days without a poster. Both will set sail in November.
The Sixthman themed itineraries they are so popular that between 60% and more than 80% of travelers end up rebooking the cruise, turning this vacation into what Cuellar calls an annual “pilgrimage.”
“We’re doing pretty well,” Cuellar says. “We’re going to continue to grow and expand because there’s definitely a demand to do this. That’s why we continue to come up with more programming.”
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In the future, Sixthman plans to increase the number of events, genres and destinations.
The Norwegian Cruise Line affiliate is not alone in this success. Entertainment Cruise Productions operates 3 themed cruises: Star Trek, the 80s and High Seas Rally, a floating motorbike rally. Several staterooms and suites have already been sold out for the 2023 Motorcycle Rally at Sea, 2024 Star Trek and 2024 ’80s Cruises. And roughly 2-thirds of travelers will return to sailing on their respective cruises year after year. , as declared to Business Insider Chris Hearing, partner and CEO of the firm.
These repeat bookings are music to the cruise companies’ ears – it’s a win-win for both the theme cruise production companies and the cruise companies themselves.
To carry out these festivals on the high seas, the theme cruise providers They charter complete ships of various shipping companies. In recent years, Entertainment Cruise Productions has worked exclusively with Royal Caribbean. Sixthman remains with its parent company Norwegian, of course.
The shipping company provides the boat and operations, such as cleaning and food. The chartering company adds the immersive “experience”. This includes a wrestling ring for the wrestling cruisera pool deck stage for music-themed cruises, and all related décor and entertainment.
Holland America Line, a Carnival brand, is best known for its cruises premium. But it also has one of the “biggest full-vessel charter portfolios in the industry,” he told Business Insider Rob Coleman, Vice President of Serial Chartering, Incentives and Partnerships. About 80% of Holland America’s full-ship charters – an average of 20 a year – are themed cruises. Many of them sail at full capacity with a waiting list.
The shipping company works with more than 12 charterers per year. Looking ahead, Holland America wants to expand these partnerships: Several of its charterers will be new by 2023 and 2024, according to Coleman.
But you don’t just rely on third-party providers for these unique cruises. He also organizes his own themed cruises. Of course, do not expect the same uproar as in the heavy metal cruiser Sixthman’s “Headbangers Boat”.
In 2023, Holland America will offer Heritage Cruises and Culinary Cruises. The first, which celebrates the shipping company’s 150th anniversary, will visit historic destinations around the world related to the company’s history. The latter will feature a different celebrity chef on each itinerary, from chocolatier and pastry chef Jacques Torres to sushi master Andy Matsuda. These food cruisesfirst introduced in 2022, were so popular with customers that Holland America decided to bring them back.
They are not the same as a motorcycle rally on the high seas, but let’s not forget that there really is a theme cruise for each one.
“I think that he theme cruise sector it will grow even faster [que el de los cruceros en general]”, says Hearing. “Experiential vacations are increasingly part of our society today. That’s what we provide them.”