Want to meet Oprah Winfrey? Go on a cruise

Fans, who hope to interact with someone famous, can take a trip with their idol

NEW YORK • Fan trips tend to appeal to avid niches - fiction readers, for example, or triathletes - and offer varying degrees of interaction with the featured star.

Four Seasons has a private jet trip departing next month that includes a culinary excursion on which you can spend a day with the celebrated chef Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen, and a series of new Aqua Expeditions river cruises are hosted by conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau.

The programmes join a growing category of trips for fans of everything, including Ironman races and celebrities such as American media magnate Oprah Winfrey. Unleash your inner fan geek in the following ways.

Winfrey and journalist Gayle King will kick off O, the Oprah Magazine's new Share The Adventure cruise series aboard the Holland America Line on a trip to Alaska from July 15 to 22 (from US$1,499 or S$2,000). In addition to appearances by Winfrey, the cruise will feature an onboard book club, yoga classes and a presentation on how the magazine is assembled.

Film-maker Ken Burns is collaborating with Tauck tours on trips with themes of his films on baseball, jazz and more. The next trip, from Oct 5 to 9, will be in New York and includes a keynote presentation by Burns and a cocktail reception, as well as lectures by historians and a private gala at Ellis Island (US$7,290).

Fans of Alexander McCall Smith, the author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book series set in Botswana, can pepper him with questions like his inquisitive title character, Precious Ramotswe, during a six-night safari at two Belmond luxury lodges in Botswana. It is from Sept 20 to 26 and costs US$9,325.

If your tastes run to live stories, join the celebrated storyteller Donald Davis leading "walk and talk" hikes at the Swag, a retreat in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina in May, August and October (from US$500 for two nights, allinclusive).

Fans of singer-songwriters Ben Folds, Melissa Etheridge and Rufus Wainwright can catch them as well as top-level Cuban talent on coming trips to Cuba billed as musical fantasy camps.

Havana Getaway, from May 25 to 29, features concerts by Folds, including one with Cuban collaborators. He will also lead music and photography workshops (US$3,199). Etheridge visits Havana (US$2,999) from June 22 to 26, and Wainwright from Sept 21 to 25 (US$2,699).

From food festivals to remote cooking classes, chefs seem to do the most frequent flying in the fandom universe.

As the executive culinary director for Oceania Cruises, Mr Jacques Pepin often joins in on trips, where he might mingle with guests, demonstrate gnocchi-making, take part in question-and-answer sessions and possibly engage in competitive table tennis.

Join him on the 1,250-passenger Marina sailing from London to Copenhagen, from June 2 to 12 (from US$2,149).

Chef Seamus Mullen of Tertulia restaurant in New York will headline two coming Chef On Wheels cycling trips in Italy from the DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co.

A five-night bike tour of Sicily, from May 28 to June 2, includes shopping at local markets and making pasta with chef Mullen, who pedals along with the group (US$5,695).

Guana, the 32-guest private island in the British Virgin Islands, attracts big names to its intimate Visiting Chef Series.

Next up is chef Matthew Lightner, formerly of Atera restaurant in New York, from May 3 to 7. The trip includes cooking demonstrations, dinners and a beach barbecue (from US$720 a night, including meals). Canadian chef Jakob Lutes will join Seascape Kayak Tours in coastal New Brunswick, from Aug 26 to 27. A maximum of 10 participants will forage for provisions with chef Lutes, who will turn their stock into meals (from C$650 or S$680).

This year, Trek Travel will introduce mountain-biking itineraries led by world-class cyclists including Emily Batty, in Peru from Oct 8 to 14 (US$4,499); and Tracy Moseley, in Norway from July 16 to 21 (US$3,799).

Allow Mr Gabriel Jaramillo, a former coach of ex-tennis players Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova, to tweak your tennis serve during Body & Mind weeks at Club Med Sandpiper Bay near West Palm Beach, Florida.

Tennis, golf, volleyball and fitness professionals will gather at the all-inclusive club from April 29 to June 3, for daily group lessons, tournaments, exhibitions and parties (from US$909 for seven nights, all-inclusive).

Learn triathlon secrets from Dave Scott, a six-time winner of the Ironman event in Hawaii. He will train triathletes in swimming, biking, running, nutrition, strength and flexibility at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, from May 1 to 5 and Aug 28 to Sept 1 (US$2,000, plus rooms starting at US$795).


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 16, 2017, with the headline 'Want to meet Oprah Winfrey? Go on a cruise'. Print Edition | Subscribe