The concept of a brew cruise seems a bit juvenile at first. Maybe it’s the rhyming of the couplet or the similarity to the old “cruising for a bruising” expression. Regardless, the shorthand of the “brew cruise” phrase actually means something much different in the context of the modern luxury cruise line.
Theming a deluxe vacation around passionate fanbases is nothing new, and cruise lines have been at the forefront of the trend. There have been cruises designed around music genres like the jam band phenomena, the Star Wars films, high stakes poker games and even knitting. So, it makes sense that craft beer would get in on the act as well.
The Brewers Association estimates that craft breweries contributed more than $55 billion to the US economy in 2014. Where there are passionate fans, there is money, and where there is money, there is a themed cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Lines doesn’t bury the lede with their accurately named “Brew Cruise” featuring 50 craft beers, twenty-four of which are on draft. There is some definite appeal in bouncing around the Caribbean while sipping on some of your favorite beers from the pool decks or gazing out your cabin window. For a more location-focused trip, board the Wilderness Discoverer with Un-Cruise Adventures for a Northwestern US voyage focusing on that region’s excellent brewing traditions and latest trends while exploring Washington state and the San Juan Islands. If you want a little music with your beer, the Lebrewski Cruise has rock acts like O.A.R. paired with presidents and brewers from the likes of Cigar City and Boulder Beer.
If attending one of these niche-focused cruises doesn’t fit your travel schedule, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Carnival Vista, is the permanent home to RedFrog Pub & Brewery, an on-board brewing facility featuring beers made right on the ship. This partnership with Miami-based Concrete Beach serves up ship-exclusive brews like ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat and FriskyFrog Java Stout.
Beer and boating are a perfect combination. Whether it’s on the lake in the summer or on the high seas on a luxury liner, drinking a delicious craft beer in the company of friends in the peaceful confines of a cruise ship is another way to enjoy your beer with the added benefit of never needing a designated driver. Just make sure you aren’t prone to seasickness before making your deposit.