Tee It Up at Sea: Visit Some of the World’s Most Picturesque and Challenging Golf Courses on Your Next Cruise Voyage

If your ideal cruise vacation actually involves a set of golf clubs, now is the chance to tee it up at sea and play at some of the most picturesque and challenging golf links found anywhere in the world.

In addition to personalized on-board professional golf instruction and the chance to meet tour pros, a number of cruise lines offer special land excursions to unforgettable golf destinations throughout the Caribbean, South Pacific, Mediterranean and Mexico.

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has expanded its popular “Silver Links” golf program to 12 cruises in 2008. Golfers can perfect their swing on 35 world-class courses in 16 countries and islands. The golfing excursions, arranged and escorted by a ship’s golf professional, range in price from course to course and include transfers, pull or power-drive carts (where available) and all green and caddy fees.

The following is but a sampling of the Silver Links voyages and golf courses to be played by cruisers this year:

Silver Shadow departs May 16 on a 15-day Panama Canal crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, with golf excursions to La Iguana at Los Suenos (Puntarenas); Tres Vidas Golf Club (Acapulco); and El Tigre Golf Club (Puerto Vallarta).

Silver Whisper leaves July 19 on a 7-day Mediterranean sailing from Rome to Monte Carlo; golfers can play at Golf Park Mallorca (Palma de Mallorca); PGA at Catalunya Golf Club (Barcelona); Servannes Golf Club (Sete); and Sainte Maxime Golf Club (St. Tropez).

Silver Whisper departs Aug. 16 on a 7-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Rome, with golf excursions to Cannes Mougins Golf Club (Menton); Cosmopolitan Golf Club (Livorno); and the Monte Carlo Golf Club.

Silver Shadow leaves Sept. 17 on an 11-day Mexican Riviera voyage from Los Angeles to Costa Rica, with rounds at Cabo del Sol Desert Course (Cabo San Lucas); El Tigre Golf Club (Puerto Vallarta); Club de Golf Marina Ixtapa (Zihuatanejo); and Tres Vidas Golf Club (Acapulco).

Silver Shadow departs Dec. 3 on a 9-day Caribbean sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados; golfers can play at Antigua’s Cedar Valley Golf Club, the St. Lucia Golf & Country Club and Sandy Lane Country Club in Barbados.

Silver Whisper takes a 15-day holiday cruise to the South Pacific, leaving Dec. 20 from Sydney to Auckland. Tee times are set at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Royal Hobart Golf Club, St. Clair golf Club (Dunedin), Clearwater Golf Club (Christchurch), Paraparaumu Golf Club (Wellington), Cape Kidnappers Golf Club (Napier), Kauri Cliffs Golf Club (Bay of Islands) and the Tauranga Golf Club.

Crystal Cruises also has expanded its golf-themed cruises for 2008. Guests can tee off on three 11- and 12-day golf fests, teeing off in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the maritime coast of Canada and New England. PGA pros will join Crystal guests at such courses as the Monte Carlo Club, situated high above the French Riviera; Spain’s El Saler Golf Course; and Lisbon’s Penha Longa Golf Course at the foot of the Sintra Mountain Range. In addition to championship golf ashore and onboard events, golfers can compete in one-in-one competitions for a chance to win a free cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line has launched a new Golf Bermuda program, giving its golf-loving guests more opportunities to hit the links in Bermuda, where there are more courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Golf Bermuda has excursions for every level of golfer at the island’s most popular and scenic courses:

Ocean View Golf Course, just outside of Hamilton, is rated “four stars” by Golf Digest.

The challenging 6,100-yard Belmont Hills Golf Club was designed by famed course designer Algie M. Pulley, Jr.

Mid Ocean Golf Club, located in scenic Tucker Town, has challenged the biggest names in golf today.

Port Royal Golf Course, operated by the Bermuda government for more than 40 years, offers some of the most challenging holes on the island.

Tucker’s Point Golf Club, ranked by Travel + Leisure Golf as one of the top golf resorts in the Caribbean.

St. George’s Golf Course, featuring ocean views at every hole.

Riddell’s Bay Golf Club, Bermuda’s oldest golf course and described by locals as a “must play”.