01/15/2014 10:47 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Retirement Cruises That Stimulate Your Mind

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Want to hear a history professor bring ancient Greece to life or learn how to make a mean shrimp scampi? Look for cruises with great enrichment programs. The Crystal Cruises Creative Learning Institute lets you use your time to sharpen your mind or your skill set. Passengers can take a series of seminars ranging from personal wellness sessions led by Cleveland Clinic doctors to painting and sculpture classes. Or, through the Crystal Visions program, you can listen to lectures from well-known authors, politicians, scientists and others. (Hugh Downs and James Carville have been on past lineups.)

The Conversations program, from the Seabourn cruise line, hosts experts who make presentations and mingle with passengers. Some are knowledgeable about a particular cruise's destinations and focus their talks accordingly. On a 19-day Baltic Sea cruise in May, for example, an anthropologist will be on board.

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