Long gone are the days when miniature golf was the only onboard activity a devoted putter could turn to when he or she was moved to pick up a club.
Now golf enthusiasts can partake in the pastime in any number of ways.
Crystal Cruises, for instance, offers golf clinics and instruction by PGA pros. The Seabourn Quest has a nine-hole, contoured golf putting green, and Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom-, Voyager- and Radiance-class ships feature golf simulators.
Silversea Cruises used to have a program called Silver Links, which took passengers to top-notch courses during port calls, but that program was discontinued in 2010.
“True golfers like to play with their own clubs,” said a Silversea spokesman, “and due to recent airline baggage rules and restrictions, it became difficult and costly for guests to bring their own clubs on a cruise.”
But that obstacle hasn’t stopped some luxury lines from offering golf course excursions to passengers who do bring their own clubs or rent them on site.
SeaDream Yacht Club is marketing a December itinerary that will offer tee times at several Caribbean golf courses.
The 112-passenger Seadream I departs Dec. 2 from Antigua, but if passengers arrive on the island a day early they will have the opportunity to play 18 holes at Antigua’s Cedar Valley course.
The yacht will be at anchor off Charlestown, Nevis, on Dec. 4, when golfers can play at the Four Seasons Pinney’s Beach. This 18-hole course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and is routed around the slopes of the dormant Mount Nevis volcano. Two days later, when the ship calls at Anguilla, golfers can check out the 18 holes at The Course at CuisinArt Resort.
The voyage ends in San Juan, where passengers can extend their stay in the destination to play any of the nearly 30 courses on the island. Cruise fares start at $2,999 per person, excluding golf fees.
Another luxury line, Compagnie du Ponant, is offering golf itineraries this year in the Mediterranean aboard its 64-passenger Le Ponant.
Three eight-day cruises from Nice this spring, May 6, 17 and 25, are designed to enable putters to enjoy courses such as Acquabona Golf Club, on Elba Island, off the coast of Italy; Le Pavoniere, a course near Florence designed by Arnold Palmer; and Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougins, in Cannes, France.
Cruise fares range from $4,841 to $5,453 per person, double; and golfers pay an additional $760 per person, said the line.