Cruising: A Boat Load of Options
There was a time not long ago when the words ‘education’ and ‘vacation’ were rarely used in the same sentence. But, with the graying of the baby boomer generation, more travelers are seeking intellectual fulfillment while on vacation, and the member companies of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are responding with enlightening onboard enrichment programs that provide guests with a variety of learning experiences while at sea. But for those who want to relax by the pool, that option is always available!
Today’s cruise lines offer enrichment programs to sate mind, body and spirit. Depending on the cruise line, vacationers can attend a workshop in Shakespearian acting taught by alumni of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, or study French with a Berlitz instructor or discover undersea wonders with oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau .
Guest lecturers also include noted astronomers who shed light on the galaxies; celebrated authors who discuss their best-selling books; celebrated diplomats, politicians and professors that help bring foreign peoples and cultures to life; and scientists, naturalists and explorers who explain little-known destinations, flora and species.
“Guests who choose to learn on a cruise are seeking an entertaining educational experience,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA (www.cruising.org). “Guests aboard CLIA member-line ships give consistently high scores to the cruise lines’ innovative enrichment programs.”
The following is a listing of some of our favorite CLIA-member cruise lines offering onboard enrichment programs for those who want them, and they offer relaxation by the pool for the rest of us:
During Carnival Cruise Lines' Alaska voyages aboard Carnival Spirit, marine biologists and wildlife specialists describe the passing scenery and sea and animal life from the ship’s bridge. The third annual Mind/Body cruise on Carnival Glory in December features comprehensive nutrition, fitness and wellness workshops by leading experts.
Celebrity Cruises invites two to five special guest lecturers on board to participate in its Discovery Enrichment Series program. Topics range from finance and astronomy, to wine education and politics, to history and culture. Upcoming 2006 enrichment lecturers include Olympian Brian Goodell, astronaut Col. R. Walter Cunningham, former news correspondent Irving R. Levine and former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam.
DISNEY CRUISE LINES
Guests sailing on Disney Cruise Lines’ eastern and alternate western Caribbean itineraries can learn what goes into making the magic throughout the Walt Disney Company with the “Disney Behind the Scenes” presenter program. On longer itineraries, Disney also offers presentations by guest lecturers. Additionally, once per month, the line brings on a guest chef from the Walt Disney World Resort.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Norwegian Cruise Line vessels operating intra-Hawaiian island itineraries feature Hawaiian arts and crafts classes that include lei making. Representatives from the Pacific Whale Foundation, one of Maui's most significant conservation and research organizations, provide illustrated lectures on marine conservation. Destination, lifestyle, wellness, computer, bridge, and arts and crafts lecturers are featured on variety of sailings, depending on the itinerary.
Through Princess Cruises’ ScholarShip@Sea program, passengers take home more than happy memories and souvenirs. They also bring home new skills and knowledge – and perhaps their own ceramic artwork. The program offers a robust portfolio of “edu-tainment” courses in which experts edify travelers on such topics as the culinary arts, visual arts, computer skills, digital photography, finance, web page design and pottery.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL
Royal Caribbean International itineraries offer programs that delve into an eclectic range of topics. Programs run the gamut, from home improvement and gardening to the performing arts and entertainment. A “New Discoveries” program includes astronomy, space exploration and genealogy. “The Write Stuff” series features meetings with authors and publishers, while the “Fine Living” program offers classes in wellness, fashion and architectural design.