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This bites! Holland America plans vampire-themed cruise


MaryJanice Davidson, author of the vampire series "The Undead Books," explains why people are so attracted to vampires.

If you're planning on attending a Halloween party dressed as Edward Cullen, Lestat de Lioncourt, Count Dracula or some other vampire, keep your costume. It may come in handy June 23-30, 2012, when a vampire-themed cruise will set sail from Vancouver, B.C., for Alaska on Holland America’s Zuiderdam ship.

Organized by a travel agent whose previous themed-cruise packages drew "Star Trek" and Beatles fans, next summer’s Vamps at Sea cruise promises passengers a vampire-themed costume ball and film festival, “scareoke” nights and presentations by celebrity guests such as Nelsan Ellis, who plays Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO vampire series "True Blood," and Dacre Stoker, the great grand-nephew of author Bram Stoker, who wrote the now-classic "Dracula" in 1897.

The Zuiderdam cruise ship has a passenger capacity of 1,916, but Vamps at Sea organizer Linda Wolf has reserved space for just 400 vampire-genre fans.

“The onboard events will take place very late at night in event rooms with black-out curtains,” said Wolf. “So the other passengers onboard the ship might not even be aware there are vampire fans on board.”

For a traditional cruise, the suggested packing list might include casual outfits for daytime and one or two dressy outfits for formal dinner nights. For the vampire-themed cruise, though, passengers will be encouraged to pack their best dark-colored “vampire wear” in their suitcases. “Guys might show up dressed like Dracula or Lestat, the vampire from Ann Rice’s ["Vampire Chronicles"] series of books,” said Wolf. “Women might be wearing gowns with white makeup on their faces to make them look pale, with very dark eyes.”

In an era where airlines and cruise lines offer travel agents little or nothing in the way of commissions, Wolf said booking groups onto cruise ships is one way travel agencies can eke out some profit.  

“The travel business is very difficult these days,” said Wolf. “Themed cruises are not only a great way for people with similar interests to get together; we’re finding they’re also a good way for first-time cruisers to get their feet wet.”

Not into vampires but interested in cruising with like-minded passengers? No problem. Cruises catering to fans of UFOs, the Civil War, psychics, dogs and the sci-fi subculture known as steampunk are on the horizon.

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Find more by Harriet Baskas on Stuck at The Airport.com and follow her on Twitter.