Themed cruises are becoming more common as river-cruise companies seek to attract both niche travellers and repeat customers looking for novelty. Special-interest cruises now cover topics as diverse as golf, opera, Jewish history and Christmas markets.
Botanica World Discoveries specialises in garden cruises, while Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offers a Monarch Collection themed on European aristocracy, and its Connoisseur Collection cruises showcase food and wine.
Avalon Waterways has beer-themed cruising with on-board lectures, beer tastings and visits to breweries, as well as wine-themed cruises in France, Austria, Germany and beyond. Last year APT launched its Wine Ambassador Program with leading Australian winemakers on board select ships.
Wine and history buffs can sail the Columbia River in the US with Un-Cruise Adventures on cruises focused on regional wine or the early explorers Lewis and Clark, the latter a route also offered by Lindblad, and American Cruise Lines has Mark Twain-themed journeys, and jazz and blues cruises on the Mississippi.