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CRUISE: ITINERARIES

Catering to Special Interests

September 08, 1996|SHIRLEY SLATER and HARRY BASCH

For a jazz fan, a truly unforgettable moment was helping the late Dizzy Gillespie celebrate his 74th birthday with 1,900 of his closest friends and 65 fellow jazz musicians. In 1993, the last year of his life, the irrepressible trumpeter headlined the Floating Jazz Festival aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norway.

A movie buff, on the other hand, cherished the memory of sitting in the darkened cinema aboard Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam, hearing film critic Roger Ebert do a frame-by-frame analysis of "Casablanca," with additional comment from renowned cinematographer Haskell Wexler.

It sounds like fantasy for food fanatics to be able to rub elbows with French three-star Michelin chef Paul Bocuse, Cordon Bleu cooking school chief executive Andre Cointreau and Chateau Lafitte Rothschild wine master Gilbert Rokvam in the same intimate dining room, but they were all aboard the former Royal Viking Queen on a Cordon Bleu cruise in France a couple of years ago.

This is not your normal cruise ship fare, but an extra treat (for free) that comes with booking a theme cruise. This cruise season, you can step out to the music of a famous big band or hobnob with a sports star or sit down to a family breakfast with a cartoon character.

Here are some upcoming theme cruises. Most cruise lines don't make reservations directly, but you can book through a travel agent that specializes in cruising:

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Slater and Basch are authors of Fielding's Guide to Worldwide Cruises. Abbreviations: RCCL: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; NCL: Norwegian Cruise Line; Am. Hawaii: American Hawaii Cruises; Holland Am.: Holland America Line.

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CULTURE & NATURE

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Song of Norway RCCL Caribbean Nov. 20, Dec. 1, 11 -- Sun Viking RCCL Asia Oct. 13 --

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HEALTH & FITNESS

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Norway NCL Caribbean Oct. 9; Dr. Robert Canu, Oct. 11, 1997 sports medicine; Sam Jones, basketball (10/9)

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BALLROOM DANCING

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Canberra P&O Mediterranean Oct. 13 Ian and Rose Walker

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BIG BAND

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Independence Am. Hawaii Hawaii Oct. 19, 26, Sammy Kaye Nov. 30, Dec. 7 Orchestra (11/30) Norway NCL Caribbean Nov. 23, April 26; Tommy Dorsey Nov. 22, 1997 Orchestra (11/23) SeaBreeze Dolphin Caribbean Dec. 15; -- Jan. 5, 1997

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BLUES

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Norway NCL Caribbean Dec. 14; May 17; Koko Taylor, Dec. 13, 1997 Clarence "Gate- mouth" Brown (12/14) IslandBreeze Dolphin Caribbean Jan. 19 --

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CLASSICAL MUSIC

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Victoria P&O Mediterranean Oct. 9 Yvonne Howard, Scott Mitchell Oriana P&O Canaries Nov. 19 Coull String Quartet

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COUNTRY - WESTERN

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Enchanted Isle Commodore Caribbean Oct. 12, Mike Bishop Nov. 9 (11/9) Norway NCL Caribbean Nov. 9; Merle Haggard Jan. 11, (11/9) Nov. 15, 1997 Westerdam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan. 11 -- IslandBreeze Dolphin Caribbean April 20, 27 --

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'50s & '60s

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Royal Majesty Majesty Caribbean Oct. 6, Dec. 6, 9 -- Independence Am. Hawaii Hawaii Nov. 2 Sha-boom Enchanted Isle Commodore Caribbean Jan. 4 Elvis' B'day Westerdam Holland Am. Caribbean March 29 -- IslandBreeze Dolphin Caribbean Sep. 14, Dec. 14 --

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JAZZ

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Norway NCL Caribbean Oct. 26, Nov. 2; Shirley Horn Oct.25, Nov. 1, 1997 Trio (10/26) QE2 Cunard East Coast Aug. 13 Sails to Newport (R.I.) Jazz Festival

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FILM

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Noordam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan. 11 -- Westerdam Holland Am. Caribbean July 26 --

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PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Norway NCL Caribbean Nov. 16 Tom Gordon, (Baseball); Eric Young July 12, 1997 (11/16) (Basketball) Norway NCL Caribbean Dec. 7 -- (Motor sports) Dreamward NCL Caribbean Dec. 8 (Pro beach -- volleyball); Nov. 16, 1997 (Baseball)

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CULINARY

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Oriana P&O Meditn. Oct. 16 Anton Mosimann Wind Spirit Windstar Meditn. April 11, 23 Graham Kerr Wind Star Windstar Meditn. April 26, Joe Cochran Oct. 19 (4/26) Wind Spirit Windstar Meditn. Oct. 30, 1997 Ben & Jerry

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WINE TASTING

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Nieuw Amsterdam Holland Am. Caribbean Nov. 23; -- Nov. 22, 1997 Noordam Holland Am. Caribbean Nov. 23; -- Nov. 22, 1997 Veendam Holland Am. Caribbean Nov. 24; -- Nov. 23, 1997 Westerdam Holland Am. Caribbean Nov. 23; -- Nov. 22, 1997 Wind Spirit Windstar Meditn. April 23 Heidi Yorkshire Wind Star Windstar Meditn. Oct. 4 Marsha Mondavi

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SPECIAL EVENTS:

- Octoberfest

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS SeaBreeze Dolphin Caribbean Oct. 6 -- Noordam Holland Am. Caribbean Oct. 26 -- Westerdam Holland Am. Caribbean Oct. 26 -- Nieuw Amsterdam Holland Am. Caribbean Oct. 26 -- Veendam Holland Am. Caribbean Oct. 26 -- Royal Majesty Majesty Caribbean Oct. 20 --

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- Superbowl

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Royal Odyssey NCL Caribbean Jan. 21 -- Statendam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan 17 -- Nieuw Amsterdam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan 25 -- Noordam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan 25 -- Westerdam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan 25 -- Ryndam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan 25 -- Veendam Holland Am. Caribbean Jan 26 --

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- Solar eclipse

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SHIP CRUISE LINE ITINERARY DATE HIGHLIGHTS Veendam Holland Am. Caribbean Mar. 30 -- Statendam Holland Am. Caribbean Feb. 23 --

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