From musicians to politicians, television presenters to sports legends, you’ll find there are plenty of famous faces cruising the world’s oceans and rivers this year. Join us as we take a look at who you might be luck enough to meet and be entertained by as you cruise this year.
Since the glory days of ocean travel and the introduction of luxury liners such as the QE2, cruising has been seen as a glamorous pastime, attracting royalty and the rich and famous. Today such clientele are not only taking cruises, they’re often on board making personal appearances, giving lectures and providing entertainment. In fact, throughout 2009 you’re guaranteed to see a famous face, as film stars, opera singers, sporting legends and award-winning chefs are taking to the seas.
Already this year actor Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Mr Holland’s Opus) has been on the water, though thankfully not with a great white in sight! He was on board Crystal Serenity’s first foray to Alaska with calls at Kodiak, Seward and Ketchikan. As well as enjoying the chance to explore the region’s magnificent scenery and wildlife, the Oscar-winning actor was a guest speaker.
Sharing knowledge and expertise is the order of the day on such cruises and in May greenfingered fans were treated to Gardeners’ World star Alan Titchmarsh on a special seven-night gardening cruise with Peter Deilmann Cruises’ MV Mozart along the Danube. On the way to Vienna and Budapest, Alan gave a number oflectures, shared his top tips, signed books and even hosted a glamorous cocktail party.
When it comes to glamour, it doesn’t get much better than a cruise down the French Riviera to Monaco in time for the Grand Prix. That was the treat in store for guests on Hebridean Spirit’s recent departure who were then able to watch two days of top motor racing from the balcony of a private apartment overlooking the Devote bend of the racetrack. Not only that but they were joined on their cruise by legendary Formula One commentator Murray Walker.
As a fan of cruising and particularly Hebridean Island Cruises, Murray described a recent voyage with them as “pretty close to perfection”. It would seem he’s not alone as The Queen chartered one of their ships for her 80th birthday cruise in Scotland. In fact if you’re interested in getting an insight into the Royal Family, make sure you book on Holland America’s four-night Charms of the Channel cruise departing Dover on 6 July. Dickie Arbiter, press secretary to The Queen between 1988 and 2000, will “lift the lid on life in Buckingham Palace”. As the 2,044-passenger Eurodam visits Zeebrugge in Belgium, Cherbourg and then Guernsey before returning to Dover, Dickie will be regaling travellers with tales of the Royal Family including such dramatic events as the funeral of Princess Diana. Having already been on three cruises, he can’t wait. “Surrounded by water, cruising for me is the closest I’ll ever get to Neverland. So far my best experience has been going through thePrince Christian Sound at the tip of Greenland –cold, stunning and breathtaking”.
If sport is more your thing, you’re well catered for throughout 2009 and into 2010 with cruise itineraries such as MSC Cruises’ Baseball Greats. Sailing on 20 November, 16 January, 6 February, 6 March and 3 April. This is a must for enthusiasts of one of America’s greatest pastimes. In addition to discovering some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful locations, you’ll be joined by many of the games’ greats – a recent sailing included Bill Russell, Vida Blue, John Romano, Amos Otis and Stan Bahnsen. Players will share their skills by hosting pitching, hitting, fielding and base running clinics and a trivia game in which guests can test their baseball knowledge – believe me you’ll soon know all there is to know about the world of Major League Baseball.
On board, autograph and Q&A sessions with sports stars are always popular and this will certainly be the case when Costa Cruises’ Costa Serena departs from Venice on 28 June. Football legend Edison Arantes Do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, will be the star guest and this week-long cruise promises to be a football fest with top ranking Fifa officials also on board and collectors’ items and video footage relating to the Brazilian star. “During my career as a footballer, I was often far from my family and friends, but I’ve never forgotten the special atmosphere and the unique flavours of my country. When I began to feel ‘saudade’, meaning when I was homesick, what I wanted the most was to be able to experience the traditions and customs of my beloved Brazil.” There’ll be no feeling homesick for Pelé on his way through the eastern Mediterranean as there’s a host of Brazilian-themed food events and samba parties, while musical shows will feature top Brazilian performers such as singer Alexandre Pires, Toquinho and the Grupo Sereno.
Top musical talents from around the world are accommodated in entertainment venues often second to none. Certainly when Welsh opera sensation Katherine Jenkins takes to the stage on Saga Rose later this year, you’ll almost forget you’re not in a world-class concert hall. Her exclusive performance seems apt for this historic occasion, as this will be Saga Rose’s farewell tour after 44 years of service. Departing on 30 October for a 37-night voyage, other famous faces will include former Tory politician, Edwina Currie and TV personality Des O’Connor. Another highlight of the trip will take place in Vigo when the Saga Rose is joined by sister ships Saga Pearl II and Saga Ruby, for the ultimate farewell party across all three ships.
One of the many great things about taking a cruise is the food, especially as you often get to enjoy a menu created by chefs whose land-based restaurants are only affordable to the rich and famous. Not only that but on certain cruises you can actually meet and watch the masters at work. Marco Pierre White will join P&O Ventura’s (named by Dame Helen Mirren) 14-night Med sailing departing 3 July and 25 September, a first for the three-Michelin starred chef who is looking forward to passing on his knowledge. “It’s about using good ingredients to create simple and flavoursome dishes”, says Marco. “Guests will have the chance to get involved with the thought process behind the construction of the dishes I produce as well as getting to taste the finished article.”
Celebrity favourite Master Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa – owner of hugely popular restaurant chain Nobu – will create menus in Silk Road (the restaurant that has featured his signature cuisine since 2003) during Crystal Serenity’s 12-night voyage from Venice on 28 July. “The last time I was on the ship was last year when I launched the restaurant on Crystal Symphony,” Nobuyuki says. “While on board, I’ll be creating a week of Omakase (chef ’s menu) dinners and I’ll also be holding culinary demonstrations. I love surprising guests with new and exciting dishes that they might not otherwise try”.
And what’s good food without a glass of fine wine? Connoisseurs will want to book their place now on Windstar’s 27 September departure with Greg Lill, founding member of De Lille Cellars which was recently named one of the Top 100 Wineries of the World by the prestigious Robb Report. Or how about joining Wish You Were Here presenter, John Carter, on board the MV Princesse de Provence’s Rhône & Saône River Cruise (25 July). “When you consider that Macon, Burgundy, Beaune and Beaujolais are on the itinerary, it’s rather like cruising through a wine list” says John. “My role is an unusual one in that I’m not a tour leader or lecturer, I’m a travelling companion to all of my fellow passengers, ready to talk to them about their travels as well as my own.” No doubt, then, memories of a cruise along the Li River in China that John enjoyed 40 years ago will come up in conversation at the exclusive cocktail party he’s hosting. “A trip like this does provide the opportunity to converse. My experience is that, though ships and ports of call are tremendously interesting, the most lasting impressions are of the people one encounters.”