Stretch your sea legs while expanding your mind
CRUISE companies are recognising that time spent holidaying afloat is an ideal opportunity for passengers to learn and develop skills.
Bucking the trend for megaliners, with their vast shopping malls, poker machines and bars, such programs offer opportunities to acquire knowledge from experts in intimate and relaxed settings.
For more than 50 years, numerous cruise lines (particularly Swan Hellenic, whose early educational cruises remain enrichment benchmarks) have offered passengers specialinterest and lecturer-escorted cruises covering topics such as history, the arts, archeology and fine food and wine.
Karen Christensen, Silversea Cruises’ regional director for Australia and New Zealand, says a quality ‘‘enrichment lecturer program’’ has been an ‘‘integral part of the line’s guest experience . . . since 1994’’. On-board personalities include author Bill Bryson on a Singapore to Shanghai cruise next March.
Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vicepresident for marketing, sales and guest programs, says his company’s menu of activities includes cooking demonstrations and classes with top chefs in on-board Culinary Arts Centers, plus Digital Workshops with Microsoft-trained experts. On a smaller scale, P&Ohas a four-night Australian coastal Food & Wine cruise in May, while Orion Expedition Cruises and Voyages of Discovery feature scientists and naturalists on selected sailings.
Swan Hellenic (with its regular painting, writing and singing workshops) this month has a Volcanoes of the Mediterranean cruise with senior lecturers from British universities and museums.
Professionals (typically in medicine and law) seeking continuing education can also meet accreditation requirements and network with their peers at conferences and seminars aboard various liners, organised by University at Sea.