If you don’t meet your demise at the pointy end of a sword or spear, there’s a good possibility you may die from an animal attack, starvation, or at the hands of an undead frozen zombie. Or perhaps you’ll be burned to a crisp, frozen solid in the snow, fall to your death or simply drown.
These are just a few of the lethal methods being inflicted upon the very disposable characters in “Game of Thrones,” a hit HBO series that recently began its fourth season. The story follows the five-volume epic “Song of Ice and Fire” novels by author George R.R. Martin. So far, he’s written about 1.77 million words and still is crafting Books 6 and 7, which promise even more peril for the entire population.
The sword-and-sorcery TV show has proven popular, especially among people who may deliberately have avoided the fantasy section of their local bookstore or library like the plague – another type of death we failed to mention! Now, a growing number of fans seems interested in anything and everything GOT-related, including taking an actual pleasure cruise.
Crystal Cruises is now adding half-day themed shore excursions aboard its British Isle and trans-Atlantic voyages this summer, which feature some of the locations used in the show, plus plenty of insider knowledge of how the program comes together.
Crystal Symphony Itinerary
According to the Crystal Cruises site, the first trip departs Dublin, Aug. 24 aboard the elegant Crystal Symphony. The first stop is Belfast, Ireland, where passengers will spend half a day touring shooting sites, checking out show costumes and learning how producers turn Planet Earth locations into the land of the Seven Kingdoms.
Then it’s off to Strangford Lough, a coastal city in Northern Island, where you’ll find Castle Ward and estate, which was the site of the castle of Winterfell and where Robb Stark’s army and the Lannister armies both camped. There will even be an archery lesson thrown in to make the journey even more memorable. Other stops on the seven-day journey include Cork, Ireland; Portland, England; and Dover/London, England.
The 922-passenger Crystal Symphony recently received a $15 million makeover, including a new saloon and piano bar, plus its own Wimbledon-style outdoor tennis court.
Crystal Serenity Itinerary
A second ship in the fleet, the Crystal Serenity, departs Sept. 5 for a two-week voyage that includes similar “Game of Throne” adventure excursions in Ireland. This voyage continues to Scotland, Iceland and then west to the U.S. with stops scheduled in Maine and Boston, Mass.
This liner also received a recent makeover to the tune of $17 million. It holds up to 1,070 passengers.
Adding the “Game of Thrones” Crystal Adventure option to your travels adds an extra $289 to the price of each ticket, and people are encouraged to book soon. Tickets start at $3,405 for the August trip and $4,925 for the September trip.
Everyone Is On Board
Word is already spreading among “Game of Thrones” fan communities about these excursions, which were announced earlier this spring.
DelRey, the publisher of Martin’s books, told readers about Crystal Cruises on the company’s blog, and suggested that touring interesting points on the Atlantic might be much more satisfying and less danger-filled than a cruise down the Rhoyne River, a major river in that universe.
The A.V. Club, a showbiz-related site, also concluded that taking this cruise seems much less harmful than taking a trip through the diverse waterways of Westeros, where the risks could include everything from drowning to being eaten by huge turtles.
The site’s writers also found it ironic that a luxury cruise liner will be helping to tell passengers about the crazy, disease-ridden conditions of this fictitious landscape, at a time when other cruise lines have experienced their own problems with hygiene and sanitation.