5 Cruises for the geek in all of us


I once joined a girlfriend on a classical music-themed cruise through the Greek isles. She played violin in a quartet and I was allowed to wobble along for two tumultuous weeks on the water (the seas being a metaphor for the relationship here). In those days, you could count the number of Americans onboard on two hands. But that's all changing now. Educational cruising is suddenly in demand and moving full steam ahead. Take a look at these five geekily-themed cruises and drop a comment below if you've ever been on one (or another similar one). Let us know what went down (hopefully not you with the ship"¦):

1. Cruising Through Life "“ The Chess Cruise

Looking to improve your endgame? Need help with knight and pawn vs. bishop? Looking to take your game to the next level? (God, I sound like a marketing schlub don't I?) Whelp, look no further. Cruising Through Life's next chess-themed cruise sets sail around the Eastern Caribbean October 12-19. Check out their site for more info

2. Smithsonian Journeys "“ Shakespeare at Sea

Hop aboard the Bard's barge and wind your way through Bermuda, the Azores and Lisbon, Portugal all while studying Shakespeare. Some of the many lectures you can participate in include: Why Read Shakespeare? (duh, isn't that like asking Why read?) Problems of Justice and Mercy in The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure, and my personal favorite Macbeth: Nothing Is But What Is Not. Check out the Web site here for cruise dates and more info.

3. Insight Cruises "“ MacMania

Co-sponsored by MacWorld, the MacMania cruise sails around a different part of the world every six months or so (Eastern Mediterranean this Nov., Far East next summer). Past speakers have included Techstars like David Pogue (I think he's due to appear on the next cruise, too). Lectures include Mac OS X Troubleshooting (whoohoo!) AppleScript Fundamentals (zzzzzzzzzzz) (j/k) Advanced iMovie: Beyond the Birthday Party and, curiously: Why Macs are Better than PCs. Actually, that last lecture title is completely made up. But if you want to weigh in on the subject, check out our ongoing debate here. Meanwhile, for more on MacMania, go here.

4. Insight Cruises "“ Classical Latitude

Also by Insight Cruises, there's the music cruise, Classical Latitude. In addition to hearing three recitals (no, my ex won't be in the band), you get to sample lectures with titles like: Mozart: Genius In Every Department (to which I say: What about the IT Dept?) and, fittingly, La Mer (I assume that's the one by Debussy). This one starts in Barcelona and winds up in Venice. See the Web site for more info.

5. Elderhostel "“ Music on the Mississippi

For those who want to learn about a different kind of classical music, there's Elderhostel's Music on the Mississippi cruise. Jazz, gospel, Dixieland, Cajun, country, rock "˜n' roll, bluegrass and soul will be discussed as you cruise down the Mississippi river and study America's indigenous sounds with music historians (and 200 other cruisers). So if you've got hostel elders (sorry, couldn't resist), or just love American music, check out the cruise over at Elderhostel's site here.