By Anita Dunham-Potter Travel columnist
updated 2/5/2007 12:21:49 PM ET 2007-02-05T17:21:49

What’s a “man-cruise”? It’s a cruise that doesn’t leave the testosterone at the dock, and there are more of them than you might think. Look past the spa treatments and the umbrella drinks, and you’ll find that some cruises offer plenty of opportunities to celebrate such traditionally male pursuits as golf, baseball, wine guzzling, swimming with big fishes and — alas — gawking at bikini-clad women.

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Here is a list of cruises and cruise lines that offer some activities for the manly man.

Want to swim with the really big fishes? Then jump in a Zodiac and hang out with some gray whales. You can do that when you take a small-ship cruise to Baja California, Mexico’s wild side, with Lindblad Expeditions, known for adventure cruising. Not feeling quite that manly? Then you can do your whale watching from the ship. Other activities include hiking miles of uninhabited beaches and desert, kayaking in pristine waters, snorkeling among reef fish, and sunset beach barbecues.

You can’t practice your drives off the back of the ship anymore, but many cruise lines are adding many more golf opportunities to their itineraries. For example, golfers can play a variety of beautiful and challenging courses throughout the Caribbean, Canada, Hawaii, Mexico and Europe on select cruises offered by Carnival Cruise Lines. The cruises also offer the services of a certified golf professional, who conducts private lessons, specialty golf clinics and putting contests; accompanies golfers on golf excursions; and organizes golf tournaments. Golfers also have access to the "V1" Digital Coaching System, a swing-analysis software that captures the golfer's swing and puts it up on a split screen for analysis and comparison with legendary golfers and the hotshots on tour. Carnival also offers sales and rental of Nike equipment — everything from clubs to shoes.

Norwegian Cruise Line America offers a year-round “Golf Hawaii Package” that lets avid golfers play on courses in Hilo, Kona, Maui and Kauai. Golfers can also rent the line’s state-of-the-art Callaway equipment.

It's as close to a pirate’s life as you are likely to get: standing in the crow’s-nest 50 feet above deck. And Captain Jack Sparrow would be mighty envious of the 420-foot Royal Clipper, the biggest of the world’s tall ships and the largest vessel in Star Clipper’s fleet. The ship carries just 227 passengers, and the best news is that it’s a hands-on experience. Passengers can help hoist the sails, steer the ship — even clamber up the rigging to the crow's-nest. For connoisseurs of sail cruising, the Royal Clipper offers the ultimate seagoing experience.

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Baseball fans can step up to the plate on MSC Cruises’ sports-themed itineraries in the Caribbean. In fact, they can rub elbows with some of the greatest players to have ever taken the field on the 11-night Caribbean “Baseball Greats” cruise departing April 18. The all-star Caribbean lineup includes four-time All-Star Vida Blue, Earl Weaver, Stan Bahnsen, Randy Hundley and Cito Gaston. Each baseball-themed cruise includes free interactive activities with the players, including a player-hosted trivia game in which passengers test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions with the players, and a bull session where players talk freely about themselves, other players, and the game. Players will also host pitching, hitting and defensive strategy clinics for guests. Perhaps the most popular activity is the free autograph session at the end of the cruise.

OK, me hearties, the spa may not seem like the manliest place on the ship, but look at it this way: Chicks dig soft and kissable skin. Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises has designed a new “Time for Men” therapy menu exclusively for men, offering a masculine focus on what was once primarily feminine territory. Treatments include a pro-collagen shave, frangipani hair conditioning, skin IQ facial and aroma stone therapy massage. What? You don’t know what that means? Well, pluck up your courage, man! Go find out.

This fall CruiseWest offers an unusual wine experience, taking its 138-passenger Spirit of Yorktown from San Francisco on three- and five-day cruises up the Napa River and Sacramento Delta for a great Napa Valley wine experience. Activities include winery tours, hot air balloon rides, local history and wine seminars, as well as expert wine-tasting tips. I think we can all drink to that.

Sound off! Do you have a comment, an idea, a complaint or a problem for Anita to solve? Send her an e-mail and you might find yourself in her next column.

Anita Dunham-Potter is a Pittsburgh-based travel journalist specializing in cruise travel. Anita's columns have appeared in major newspapers and many Internet outlets, and she is a contributor to Fodor's "Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises 2006."


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