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Any cruise ships that have programs about the cultural, economic, political and social aspects of the islands visited?

Any cruise ships that have programs about the cultural, economic, political and social aspects of the islands visited?

Nov 16th, 2003, 08:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31
Any cruise ships that have programs about the cultural, economic, political and social aspects of the islands visited?

I recently went on a cruise and enjoyed seeing a variety of tropical islands but left each stop with little real information.

I would have enjoyed learning, at cruiseship sponsored events, about each of the islands we stopped at. For example, maybe a presentation on the history of the island, or information about the economic challenges of the island, or unique cultural aspects of the specific island. Instead, we are put on tours to shopping areas selling the same junk (made in China) that was for sale at the last island we visited.

Are there any cruiselines that provide lectures or intellectual stimulation for its customers?
travelerquestion is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 01:49 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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I agree--that would be wonderful!

In our experience, Princess and Celebrity do not; their "port talks" are all about shopping.

On the Orient Lines Marco Polo Scandinavian cruise this summer, a woman spoke about Copenhagen, but she was so awful that many of us wondered if she was drunk.
abram is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 890
As far as I know, Crystal and Radisson are the only cruiselines that really cover much of this. They will often have an onboard guest speaker who really knows their stuff....not just the stupid "shopping" stuff. It is a shame that all the cruiselines don't do more of that. Maybe we should all start writing this on the comment cards.
petlover is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 182
This is an excellent question. I have often wanted more caribbean flavor than the steel drum band by the pool. They could even have one of the evening shows be a representative of dance and music of various caribbean cultures.

I just wonder if the average cruiser on a cruise ship would "go" for this. Too often I encounter travelers that want their travel experience to be representative of home.

One of the reasons I love planning my own excursions is that is how I get a taste of island life. Taxi drivers are often a wealth of information. I once had a female taxi in the Caribbean driver treat me to a home cooked meal! Delicious!
snorkelcat is offline  
Nov 17th, 2003, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We have traveled with Smithsonian Journeys and college alumni sponsored trips and found them to be very education-oriented. They are usually smaller ships and more expensive than the large cruise lines.
janeg is offline  
Nov 18th, 2003, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Like you, I always want to learn more about the places I visit; the culture, the history, the politics and the economics. (I am a frequent cruiser and I ALWAYS mention this on the comment cards, seemingly to no avail.)

You've probably already thought of this...but what I do now is go to the public libraries and check out a current book or two on the region. There are some great books out on the Caribbean. I also search the internet for summary articles and print them out. I bring these few items with me and reread the info on the island just before arrival.
CaribDiver is offline  
Jun 18th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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Silversea also has interesting lecturers. The cruise I took this spring in Malaysia had a university professor who specialize in the region who gave several talks. They were informative and well attended.
Jun 22nd, 2004, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 153
That sure would be nice. Most lines do nothing but harp on the shopping and push the stores they have deals with.
The only lecture I have had was on a partial Panama Canal cruise. It was a serious of lectures on the canal and they were excellent.
Starfish is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 04:58 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 86
I attended a lecture about coral and reef fish on Princess that also included how to enjoy reefs without damaging them. We cruised Hawaii years ago (sorry can' remember the line)and they had tons of cultural lectures and and numerous displays on board of Hawaiin history and art. But it was a ship that only cruised Hawaii.
jdbird is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 06:12 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
Though I have not sailed Swan Hellenic's Minerva yet, I plan to, mainly becauase its lecture program has such a good reputation.

This is from their website: "Swan Hellenic passengers see the world through expert eyes. Discovery begins on board Minerva II, where experts introduce every port of call and bring each destination to life. Often with well-known names and faces - and all distinguished in their own particular field - our Guest Speakers share their fascinating insight into different areas and aspects of the cruise. Informal and entertaining, their talks are designed to cover popular subjects with general appeal. Topics featured, range from flora and fauna to music and military history, or food and wine to archaeology and art."

Here is the website address - www.swanhellenic.com
curiousx is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 371
GREAT question travelerquestion. I always get this information, but to get it I have to take local tours, or find a local guide or cab and ask them to focus their tour on this.
You are right on target, that many people would enjoy this type of information. They could easily host informational session in the ships lounge on days at sea, prior to arriving in each port, etc.
I agree with other posters, they have turned the ship sessions into nothing more than hype sessions on where you should shop while in port (i.e. the stores that they get commissions from).
About the only time you get this type of information is on voyages that they cannot avoid doing presentations about, such as panama canal transits, alaska, etc.
Perhaps if more of us asked for this they might start doing these sessions.
Hold is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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The QEII had the best lecturers of any ship we've been on. I, too, wish they all would offer these informative talks.
Wags is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 08:08 PM
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World Explorer. But they are more of an adventure cruising to far off places, rather than Caribean and such.
Jun 25th, 2004, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
My opinion - If you really want an educational experience, you don't ask about cruise ships, but look at educational groups that sponsor cruises and provide lecturers.

We have gone on cruises with American Museum of Natural History, Explorers Club, and Society Expeditions. There are many more. They are more expensive, but at night you get interesting lectures instead of dancing girls.
Jed is offline  
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