Imagine yourself loading up your plate at an all you can eat buffet right next to Oprah. You could be heading down to a ship’s main deck and pass Cher in the stairway. The cruise industry now offers everyone the chance to live it up in the company of some of the world’s most famous celebrities. You can even enjoy excursions and activities that the celebrities have hand-picked for you to enjoy. They host some of the activities themselves, getting to know everyone on the ship by name or face.
If you’ve ever thought that celebrity-endorsed cruises are over-commercialized tourist traps, you’re not entirely wrong either. While some cruises are spectacularly organized with easy access to down-to-earth superstars, others are completely over-the-top and cheesy, featuring celebrities who lost their connection to the real world a long time ago.
How can you tell the difference between a modern, worthwhile celebrity cruise and a massive cheesefest on the sea? Usually, just looking at the celebrity involved will give you a good idea of how kitschy their cruise is. Dolly Parton’s cruise is not going to be free from hoe-downs, blank, and blank, for example.
If that kind of kooky vaycay appeals to you, go for it! We can totally see the appeal of wild times at sea with the queen of country. If you’re looking for something a little more luxe and subdued, we got you covered, too. Read on to decide for yourself what floats your boat.
20 20. Curtis Stone for Princess Cruises (Rad)
Curtis Stone is a celebrity chef, so a cruise he endorses is always going to be all about the food. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ll know how important of a role its food can play in how much you enjoy it! This chef has Princess Cruise riders completely covered with his trademark dishes and hand-picked menus.
"Since I travel often, I know that discovering delicious food and sharing a great meal can create some of the most memorable moments,” he explains. "It's important to me that guests have the experience that I want and food that I'd be thrilled to eat myself, at sea or anywhere else in the world."
19 19. 70s Rock and Romance Cruise (Rad)
70s style, fashion, and music are making a comeback in a big way. This cruise’s lineup for 2019 hasn’t been released yet, but if its past voyages are anything to judge by, passengers on the 70s Rock and Romance Cruise get to relax and unwind alongside some of the biggest musicians of their day.
The 70s was all about peace, love, and brotherhood, so you can be sure that the kind of music and activities happening on this cruise ship will inspire your own sense of inner chill. Bring your dad, mom, or a grandparent to make their life complete with the opportunity to meet these idols.
18 18. Jamie Oliver for Royal Caribbean (Rad)
Another celebrity chef that’s recently gotten into the cruise game is Britain’s, Jamie Oliver. He’s designed the cruise's cuisine for the Royal Caribbean’s mega-liner ‘Ovation of the Seas.’ Jamie’s partnership with this cruise ship has led to a full restaurant onboard, which serves his dishes exclusively.
You can chow down on some world-class cuisine at Jamie’s Italian, a restaurant they have onboard. It features rustic and delectable dishes like spaghetti Vongole or the signature Prawn linguine. When it comes to cruise food – which is already renowned for being some of the best dining experiences a traveler can experience – this partnership really hits the spot.
17 17. Gladys Knight for Carnival (Rad)
Gladys Knight is known as the “Empress of Soul” (RIP Aretha Franklin, who was soul’s queen) and has been out of the spotlight for years since earning her place as a musical icon. You can now see her make special guest performances on Carnival's Soul Train cruises, amazing the audiences with her always powerful vocals.
A sweet part about a cruise featuring Gladys Knight is the opportunity to ask her about her star-studded past. She’s a living legend! And if you don’t want your eardrums blown out 10 nights straight (a flaw in some of the cheesier cruises below), Carnival has you covered. Gladys performs just a few times per cruise, giving you space to process the spectacular performances, you witness.
16 16. The Comic-Con Cruise (Rad)
A lot of time, money, and careful thought went into planning 2017’s Fan2Sea Comic Con Cruise, and it shows. Passengers got to get up close and personal with some of the biggest actors and actresses in the world today, all while enjoying cool film-themed panels, events, meet-and-greets, and screenings.
Netflix’s “Stranger Things” cast members were there, along with celebs from films like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” If you consider yourself to be a comic book or superhero movie fan, this cruise will not disappoint. It even has a cosplay contest with a $1,500 grand prize, so this cruise could turn out to be super affordable.
15 15. National Symphony Orchestra Cruise (Rad)
Nothing says class more than a week-long vacation at sea accompanied by a world-class classical music soundtrack. If you’re a musician or if you appreciate the fine art of classical music, this cruise is your perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the absolute highest quality of sound at sea. This is dinner theater taken to the next level.
The National Symphony Orchestra Cruise is also well established, having taken voyages for almost a decade now on the famous Queen Mary 2 ship. And you can never guess which famous classical musicians will show up on board! Lloyd Weber, anyone? Divine.
14 14. The Cher Crewz (Rad)
With her star on the rise again after the release of Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, is there a better time to take a Cher-endorsed cruise? She’s about to drop her own album of ABBA songs, and we’re certain that the crew of the "Cher Crewz" is ready to dance to every track.
Cher’s vibes might be a little bit over the top (okay, very over the top – she’s a diva!) this legendary star has given so much to many diverse communities around the world. Her cruise features drag queens, top-rated food, safe excursions, and proceed donations to the Children’s Craniofacial Association. Cher-ity is always in style.
13 13. Warped Rewind at Sea (Rad)
Remember the Warped concert tour of the early 2000s? It was pop-punk’s glory days when bands screaming about life’s mainstream machine were actually getting top-40 hits. Warped Rewind at Sea cruise brings all of your favorite ‘00’s punk bands together for a week of eyeliner-heavy fun.
Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, The Starting Line, and their peers in the pop-punk scene have joined together to make this cruise unforgettable. It’s got “Emo Nights,” autograph sessions, live concerts, and all the nostalgia you can handle. Bring your besties and rock out to some old favorites, then catch a drink with Joel and Benji Madden at the bar.
12 12. Oprah’s Girls Getaway (Rad)
Is there anything cooler than empowering young women? Oprah doesn’t think so. Her latest cruise, The Girls Getaway, is intent on inspiring ambitious young women with the help of Oprah’s friend Gayle King and the brilliant editorial staff of O Magazine.
“We are so excited to have Oprah set sail with us again for the Girls’ Getaway cruise in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine,” says Holland America Cruiselines. “We anticipate the energy and inspirational spirit will be unlike any other cruise experience there is — and life-changing for many.”
Oprah will be hosting talks aboard the ship with a focus on the bond between women. Go, girl.
11 11. The Walking Dead Cruise (Rad)
That’s right. AMC’s smash hit show "The Walking Dead" has its own cruise. On it, you can find cast members like Norman Reedus (Daryl), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) and a handful of other stars just wandering around talking to passengers. You can get a selfie with a famous zombie! It doesn’t get much more rad than that.
The ‘Walker Stalker’ cruise has a lot of gore, impromptu zombie surprises, concerts, and question/answer sessions with the cast members onboard. It even makes a stop on its own private island, Great Stirrup Cay, where you can truly live separate from modern civilization. Wild.
10 10. Star Trek: The Cruise (Cheesy)
January 2018 saw the cast of the original Star Trek TV series reunite for a week-long journey at sea. It had passengers rubbing shoulders with George Takei (Sulu), Brent Spiner (Data), Levar Burton (Geordi and also the Reading Rainbow Guy, for any 90s kids out there), Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) and Terry Farrell (Dax).
Along with meet and greets this cruise hosts competition among cast members and comedy shows that the actors/actresses headlined. The Norwegian liner used for this cruise even got a futuristic makeover. We’d say this is just the right amount of nerd-tastic cheesiness you could enjoy guilt-free.
9 9. KISS Kruise (Cheesy)
We’re sorry to use an ocean pun here, but KISS the band is a little washed up. Their glory days are long behind them, and their members tend to only make current news for doing something embarrassing or politically questionable. But if you are a die-hard KISS fan, you now have the opportunity to float with them thousands of miles out at sea.
The band members not only perform their most popular songs, they also run irreverent themed events like "Kruise Kitchen with Paul Stanley" and "Are You Smarter Than A Rock God with Gene Simmons." If you’d be into this kind of thing, the next KISS Kruise is happening on Halloween weekend 2018. We bet it’ll be spooky.
8 8. Sailing with the Scotts Cruise (Cheesy)
Do you remember HGTV’s “Property Brothers?” They’re a home makeover duo that happen to be twins. This premise guided them through a handful of moderately successful home design shows, from “SMART Home” to “Brother vs. Brother” and beyond. These days, Drew and Jonathan Scott also has their very own cruise.
Some celebrity cruise partnerships make sense: a chef on a cruise, a musician on a cruise, and so on. Interior designers on a cruise? Why? The ship has already been constructed, decorated, and sold, so we just don’t understand the pairing. If you’re a fan of their shows, go ahead and enjoy question and answer sessions, craft workshops, and Bahamian excursions with these B-list brothers.
7 7. Pitbull’s After Dark Party Cruise (Cheesy)
Is anybody surprised that Miami-born rapper and club royalty Pitbull has capitalized on the cruise scene? He’s got a cruise that is essentially a giant party boat where his fans can gather to shout “dale” on the water. It features two separate Pitbull concerts along with the rapper’s daily appearances, so you can expect to dance your heart out until you go down like “timber.”
If Pitbull’s earworms weren’t enough, cruise passengers also get dance lessons from his own personal back up dancers to master their booty-shaking skills. This cruise is certainly a party that doesn’t stop, so don’t expect it to give you any restful moments at sea. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Mr. Worldwide.
6 6. The Country Music Cruise (Cheesy)
Don’t get us wrong – this cruise is IMPRESSIVE. It’s got comedy acts, huge concerts by world-famous musicians, delicious Southern home cooking, and “intimate jam sessions” that passengers are likely never to forget. It’s also completely Americana-themed, with star-spangled everything and inescapable red white and blue hues.
Jeff Foxworthy, Alabama, the Oak Ridge Boys, Larry Gatlin, Lorrie Morrigan, Jeannie Sealy, and more are all proud American celebs involved with this long-running cruise. The next time it hits the seas is February 2019, but that voyage is already sold out! We guess some people just love the country kitsch, even when it’s transplanted to the middle of the ocean.
5 5. Train’s Sail Across the Sun (Cheesy)
Who could forget the 90s band Train and their hits like "Drops of Jupiter" and…there must be other hits…well maybe you could forget. If you didn’t, you’ll be happy to know that this band now hosts its own cruise through The Norwegian Jade cruise line.
They take passengers from Tampa, Florida to the Bahamas, all with these moderately successful rock stars in tow. Our reservations about this cruise have to do with the massively emotional tone of Train’s songs. They are not necessarily a fun time to listen to! If you’re into a deep and introspective trip with men who have Billy Ray Cyrus haircuts, this is your choice.
4 4. The Ultimate 80s Party Cruise (Cheesy)
This one is so cheesy that we know everybody reading has at least one aunt, parent, or friend who would absolutely love to participate in it. It’s a Fort Lauderdale, Florida round-trip with stops in Mexico’s most beautiful islands, but there are enough wacky distractions on the boat to make its surroundings kind of obsolete.
Sheila E., Starship, OMD, and Kenny Loggins are all set to make appearances on this cruise’s March 2019 trip. Passengers are encouraged to rock neon spandex and big hair at every opportunity, including "Let’s Get Physical" aerobics sessions, late night karaoke dance parties, and 80s trivia nights. So fab.
3 3. Rob Gronk’s Party Ship (Cheesy)
Rob Gronkowski is the tight-end for the New England Patriots football team, but he loves letting loose. Gronk’s Party Ship features days of wildly tacky parties with guests like Flo Rida and Waka Flaka Flame. It also features the footballer himself, beyond tipsy and usually shirtless as he poses for selfies with the ship’s passengers.
He says it’s all about getting “Gronk’d,” which pretty much means “go big or go home.” We’re just hoping the ship’s crew is all well trained in paramedics because the endless high-octane “gronk’ing” cannot be good for your health. Just remember to drink lots of water.
2 2. Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Ride (Cheesy)
A trip through the Bahamas has never looked so wild! Kesha’s cruise is set for February 2019, and her “animals” couldn’t be more excited. This is the kind of cheesy cruise that we LOVE to hear about. It embraces all the ridiculous aspects of floating at sea for days on end with major buffets and dance parties and turns them into a super fun and self-aware self-love fest.
Onboard with Kesha will be queer cultural icons Bob The Drag Queen and Jonathan Van Ness, along with musical heavyweights Betty Who and Superfruit. Events are planned so that every passenger wakes up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy, and ends the night with glitter on the floor. We live!
1 1. Kid Rock’s Chillin’ the Most Cruise (Cheesy)
This cruise gets our number one spot for cheesiness cause it doesn’t even advertise itself as a fun, tacky cruise. All of its marketing takes this cruise seriously, and how can it? It’s a Kid Rock Cruise! Those words just sound ridiculous beside each other anyway.
Kid Rock’s Chilln’ the Most Cruise has been happening for NINE YEARS in a row, and will soon have its tenth voyage. It’s basically a deeply southern Kid Rock concert at sea, with a bunch of opening acts including comedians and magicians. But hey, you can play bingo or go country line dancing in the daytime. With an off the charts cheese-factor, this is just not our cup of sweet tea.
References: CruiseCritic.com, Traveller.com.au, Ranker.com, KidRockCruise.com, CruiseRadio.net, KeshasRainbowCruise.com