Summer is upon us and it’s time to plan that special vacation. For people seeking an all-inclusive, hassle-free and often economical escape, cruises are popular. Where else can you stay in a luxury cabin while the ship transports you to a variety of ports, entertainment and activities are provided on board and the food is delicious and plentiful. The planning is done for you while you sit back and relax. Choosing a destination is the difficult part and now there are Christian-themed cruises that allow travelers to experience a spiritual getaway while taking a break from the day to day routine.
Christian cruises provide a wholesome environment where like-minded people can gather for fellowship, attend inspirational seminars, experience live praise and worship, and even meet to pray. There are cruises for Christian singles, married couples, families, and seniors focusing on a variety of topics and destinations.
Premier cruise line is even offering a “Duck Commander Cruise” that includes time with the cast of the A&E show Duck Dynasty. The guys can experience work in the Duck Call Room while the gals learn what it’s like to be married to the Robertson men or “pull up a chair at Kay’s kitchen table” for a cooking class. The cruise also features musical performances by Scotty McCreery, an award-winning country music artist, and Mac Powell, the frontman of the Grammy-Award-winning band, Third Day, which has received 26 Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association. While this cruise is currently full, travelers might get tickets on standby.
If Contemporary Christian music is what you enjoy, Premier’s “K-Love Cruise” departs from Miami in January with stops in the Bahamas. Offering the opportunity to board a new ship, the MSC Divina, vacationers will travel with speakers and artists including Mandisa, whose song “Overcomer” has become an anthem for all; The Newsboys, who have been known for songs such as “Shine”; Casting Crowns, whose first album came out in 2003; and Building 429, whose hit song, “We Won’t Be Shaken,” has been performed in Connecticut as a memorial to the young people who died in the school shootings there.
For those who prefer a different beat, the Christian Classics Alaskan Cruise sponsored by ChristianCruises.net may be a better fit. Featuring musical artists like Michael Card, Matthew Ward, Scott Wesley Brown, and David Holm, this cruise departs from Seattle, Washington, in mid-June and stops at popular ports of call along Alaska’s Inside Passage highlighting scenic rain forests, glaciers, fjords and white-capped peaks in a setting that’s perfect for viewing whales and sea lions.
Inspiration Cruises offers a larger selection of themed cruises including Alaska cruises featuring ministry partners such as Dr. Charles F. Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries, and several cruises with musical artists.
Josh Smith, vice president of creative for Inspiration Cruises, operating since 1981, said “ministry partners come to us and many are national ministries. We reserve onboard meeting space for the event and they have their own programming. So those on the packaged tours are a subset of a larger ship and mixing with all kinds of people.”
LifeWay, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products, is sponsoring an Alaskan Adventure through Inspiration Cruises in July. “With its humpback whales, stunning Mt. McKinley, incredible glaciers and more, it’s a perfect place to really sense and enjoy God’s presence. Sailing with some of today’s most inspiring and dynamic Christian personalities, there will be times set aside for praise and worship, moving messages, beautiful music and great comedy on board the Holland America Westerdam, which boasts award-winning service, extraordinary accommodations, five-star dining, and entertaining onboard activities, according to Inspiration Cruises.
A trip to the Mediterranean is an ideal venue for a distinctly Christian cruise experience, and Inspiration Cruises is hosting a week-long cruise departing from Venice, Italy, in July that provides a chance to experience world-famous archaeological sites and famed landmarks, “from the picturesque Greek isles to Italian architecture born of devotion, from transcontinental Turkey to the places Jesus walked in the Holy Land.” The trip is led by Christian speakers Erick and Elizabeth Schenkel, international staff leaders for the JESUS film™ project, and includes two full-day, specialized JESUS Film™ excursions in Athens and Ephesus (sites integral to Paul’s ministry) with an opportunity to connect in ministry.
Looking for a romantic getaway with your spouse? Family Life Ministries sponsors a “Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise” that departs from Miami on February 9, 2015, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Described as “a getaway for married couples looking for romance and rejuvenation,” the five-day (four nights), fully-chartered cruise sails from Miami to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico, and features Dennis and Barbara Rainey along with other speakers and Christian artists. Guests can participate in biblical teaching and refreshing words on marriage, concerts and entertainment, fun with like-minded couples, and quality time with their spouses while sailing on the Caribbean Sea.
Because this is a fully chartered cruise, guests will find the background music, television channels, announcements, and activities are all arranged by the FamilyLife cruise team, and the environment will consist of just other married couples with no kids on board.
Themed cruises may also be a fun-filled way for single Christians to meet other like-minded individuals. Christian singles can join a number of cruises marketed specifically to them including a 7-day fall cruise departing in November from Fort Lauderdale with stops in the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. Sponsored by All Christian Cruises, it promises a vacation that will “lift your mind, body and spirit” with a custom-outfitted theme packed with seminars, praise and worship services and social gatherings.
Lisa Mann, vice president of Jabez Travel, which operates AllChristianCruises.com., said they offer two types of cruises: They either work with a church or Christian organization to sponsor a cruise of their design or the cruise company will create their own themed event. Either way, travelers should understand that they seldom charter the entire ship, so Mann said, “there will be bars and casinos in operation on the ship, but we don’t serve alcohol at our events.” It is also wise to find out a little about the ministries chartering the ship to be sure they align with your beliefs and expectations.
10/40 Window Prayer
Robert Baxter, a former teacher who attends Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, is currently planning a 14-day “10/40 Window Prayer Cruise” on Princess Cruises that will depart from Perth, Australia travel through Malaysai, Vietnam, and Thailand with a final destination of Singapore. The 10/40 Window is the area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude, which is home to high concentrations of people unreached by the Gospel message. “The objective is to open people’s eyes and catch the burden for the neglected ones who have never head the name of Jesus,” said Baxter. His itinerary will include daily opportunities to pray and fellowship while discussing how to reach this area with the Gospel.
The price of cruises varies greatly depending on the location and length of travel. A weekend cruise to the Carribean starts at $460 with week-long Alaskan cruises at about $1,400 — $1,800 and Mediterranean cruises ranging from about $1,300 up to almost $4,000. Plan ahead as availability is often limited and be sure to bring the proper travel documentation. Visit the cruise company websites and speak with travel planners to help you select the best fit for you. For information on the 10/40 Window Prayer Cruise email [email protected]
Shelly Pond, editor of the Good News, can be reached at [email protected]