Music and arts cruisesAn entirely different kind of spectacle is presented by P&O Cruises with its themed ‘Music Festival at Sea’ programme, now it its 25th year. During November, as Aurora sails through the Mediterranean, a repertoire of classical music performed by internationally-renowned musicians will entertain passengers.

Philip Price, Head of Brand Marketing at P&O Cruises, said: “Many of our passengers are passionate about music and see it as an inherent part of the cruise experience. Our programme aims to challenge and inspire music lovers, as well as entertain them with the lighter side of the artists’s repertoires.”

Artistic experiences of a visual nature are another popular choice. P&O Cruises’ Aurora and Oriana offer all guests the chance to learn more about British art with their ‘Tate Talks’, run by a team of experts from Tate Britain. And the 14-night ‘Art Appreciation’ cruise on board Saga ship Ruby explores Mediterranean art, with lectures by art historian Harry Fletcher further complemented by excursions to galleries, museums and religious buildings.

The use of guest speakers who are experts in their chosen field can bring an entirely new dimension to the theme cruising experience. Both Swan Hellenic, heading to the Antarctic for winter, and Voyages of Discovery on its ‘Far East and Orient’ cruise, firmly believe that their roster of historians, explorers and diplomats offer a unique perspective to passengers.

Geoff Lawrence, Sales and Marketing Director of All Leisure Group (the owner of both brands), comments, “They enrich passengers’ experiences with their expertise, insights and interests both in fascinating lectures and around the dinner table. Each expert has a talent for bringing their subject to life and helping passengers understand the bigger picture, setting historical events in context.”

So, do guests embarking on these cruises need some serious cultural credentials?

“Both attract like-minded passengers, on something along the lines of travellers, not tourists. However, passengers don’t need to experts, but just have a thirst for knowledge and in interest in delving deeper into the region they’re visiting,” says Geoff.

Words: Richard Ginger

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