27 December 2013

Ancestors Ahoy – Is There A Genealogy Cruise In Your Future? by guest blogger Thomas MacEntee


If you haven’t considered taking a cruise and adding genealogy to the mix, you don’t know what you’re missing! Several genealogy vendors offer yearly cruises to destinations both domestic and international; normally these cruises are open to the public. Usually there are 300+ genealogists in the group on board a larger ship with up to 3,000 people. The group attends genealogy classes while the ship is at sea and it is just like being at a genealogy conference. In addition, there are organized social activities, the chance to share meals with other family historians and more. In addition, attendees get to see all the regular on-shore sites as the rest of the cruise goers!

Genealogy Cruising – The Basics

So, what makes a cruise a “genealogy cruise?” A vendor such as a genealogy software company or a publisher or even just a group of genealogists, contracts with a cruise line to fill a specific number of cabins on a cruise. Usually, there is a discount provided for the cruise although the organizers will factor in their own costs of paying speakers, providing handouts and lecture materials, and organizing social events.

There is always an educational component involved in a genealogy cruise: attendees or “cruisers” go to lectures usually while the ship is at sea. Lectures are held in a conference center or for larger groups in the cruise ship’s theater or even nightclubs. The lectures are the same content and format as you would find at a national genealogy conference, and in fact, many of the lecturers are well-known genealogy presenters.
Realize that educational topics are not always focused on a specific software program, even if the cruise sponsor or organizer is a software company such as RootsMagic or Legacy. In addition, topics may also be tied to the ports of call that the ship visits during the cruise.

For many, the ability to network with a large group of genealogists during meals and throughout the duration of the cruise is the most valuable part of the genealogy cruise experience. It is not unusual to make new genealogy friends, swap research tips and resources, or even locate a cousin during a cruise!

Bringing a Spouse or a Friend

Cruise lines don’t always make it easy to travel solo; often you will need to pay a “single supplement” to the cruise organizer or the cruise line. One way to avoid this upcharge is to travel with a spouse or invite a friend along.

Your travel companion does not need to be a genealogy fanatic like you – many of the cruise organizers offer a “non-genealogy” rate that is the basic cruise rate. This means your spouse or friend won’t be able to attend the classes or special events related to the genealogy group. However, you will be able to eat meals together and take advantage of all the other offering such as excursions and shows.

Non-Genealogy Activities

Since most of the classes and special events organized for the genealogy group take place while the ship is at sea, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the activities that the cruise has to offer. This includes shows, sports and water activities, social events as well as the offshore excursions once you reach a port of call.

Upcoming Genealogy Cruises

Several vendors already have cruises planned for 2014, 2015 and beyond. Below is the latest information on different cruises that have a focus on genealogy and family history:

·       Unlock the Past Cruises 2014
Southern Australia 4-13 February 2014 – Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas
British Isles 19-29 July 2014 – Marco Polo
http://www.unlockthepastcruises.com/

Unlock the Past is an Australia-based genealogy company that has organized several successful genealogy-focused cruises. Not all cruises originate out of Australia, but many do. Upcoming destinations for 2014 and 2015 include Australia, the British Isles and the Baltic countries.
·       Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2014
Asia 1 Cruise 26 October – 9 November 2014
Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong – Celebrity Millennium
Asia 2 Cruise 9-23 November 2014
China, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam – Celebrity Millennium
http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2014.asp

Legacy Family Tree is a popular genealogy database software. The company behind the product, Millennia Corporation, organizes an annual cruise open to the general public, not just Legacy users. Some classes during the cruise focus on using the Legacy software, but the vast majority of lectures cover general genealogy topics.
·       Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything
7-14 December 2014 – Eastern Caribbean, Celebrity Silhouette
http://www.cecruisegroups.com/genealogy-cruise-2014.html
Hosted and organized by genealogists Gary and Diana Smith, this new genealogy cruise by Cruise Everything also features Dick Eastman and Jana Sloan Broglin, CG.

© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Bio: Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. For more information visit http://hidefgen.com.


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