The world of cruise vacations continues to expand offerings, focusing on everything from family travel to couples, solo travelers, business groups and more. Along with those choices come new ships, custom built for sailing in certain parts of the world. Already sailing ships are being reworked to reflect a more focused cruise traveler as well. Just off Viking Ocean Cruises new Viking Star, one part of the experience was almost universally appreciated by passengers: the enrichment lectures. Not something new, a variety of cruise line offer such events. Very much new and trending: a focus on specific traveler interests.
Azamara Specific Traveler Interests Focus On Wildlife
Azamara Club Cruises is teaming up with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as part of its commitment to help protect and conserve the oceans of the world. Already in progress, the Azamara/WWF partnership includes onboard lectures from leading experts on a wide range of topics. The aim: provide Azamara guests with insight into nature’s value.
“As we sail from port to port, it’s imperative to appreciate the bodies of water that make our travel possible and protect the ocean life that inhabit them.” – Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.
Focusing on destinations is nothing new for Azamara, we saw that first hand not long ago on a Summer Baltics sailing, that tapped the considerable resources of AFAR magazine for destination information. Bringing the experience onboard, Azamara partnered with social traveler Lee Abbamonte, the Most Traveled Man In The World and the youngest to visit all countries on the planet.
During the Azamara/WWF partnership, experts will share stories of the places and species WWF serves to protect, many of which are visited by Azamara ships.
World Wildlife Fund Speaker Series guests will include:
- Nilanga Jayasinghe, Program Officer, Wildlife Conservation – Jayasinghe’s focus is on Asian species conservation, particularly elephants, rhinos, tigers and snow leopards. She is part of the WWF’s core team working on wildlife conservation.
- Cassie O’Connor, Manager, Foundation Relations – O’Connor works with the foundation to staff to provide support to conservation projects throughout the world.
- Pete Pearson, Director of Food Waste – Pearson works on food waste prevention and food recovery, helping businesses understand the intersection of agriculture and wildlife conservation. For almost a decade, he has worked as a change agent within various businesses and non-profits on regenerative agriculture, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
- Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, Senior Biologist, Wildlife Conservation – Dr. Klenzendorf leads wildlife conflict mitigation and Arctic species conservation issues for the WWF network.
- Michael Osmond, Senior Program Officer – Osmond works on fisheries improvement projects, fisheries technology innovations and bycatch reduction efforts across World Wildlife Fund and manages a collaborative program that brings together the fishing industry, research institutes, universities and governments to inspire and reward practical, innovative fishing gear designs that reduce bycatch.
- Nicky Sundt, Consultant on Energy and Climate Change Issues- Sundt has more than 35 years of experience in government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. He most recently served as WWF’s director of Climate Science and Policy Integration, having previously worked as WWF’s director of Climate Communications.
See more of the Azamara World Wildlife Fund partnership
Fathom Brings Specific Traveler Interests Focus On History
Carnival Corporation’s new Fathom cruise line is taking one of their two ships to Cuba on seven-day cruises from Miami that visit the historic ports of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. In post-cruise surveys, Fathom guests are giving high marks for a great experience at all three destinations, which would otherwise be challenging to visit, and on the Adonia, which houses 700 travelers, providing a sense of intimacy that guests are enjoying.
Highlights of the highly sought after cruise vacation include the island’s famously friendly people, Spanish and French colonial architecture, traditional Cuban music and dance, restaurants with genuine Cuban cuisine, museums, cathedrals, coastal fortresses, the cannons on San Juan Hill, the shores of Cojimar that were Ernest Hemingway’s favorite fishing village, and lively nightlife including the famous Tropicana Club, and much more.
In addition to interesting information on the way to Cuba, Fathom cruise travelers enjoy on-the-ground activities that provide the opportunity to interact directly with Cuban people and gain insight into their everyday lives, rich culture and history.
Just how popular are these enriching journeys? Fathom recently added three new tours that serve as a wonderful example of their addressing specific traveler interests
- In Hemingway’s Footsteps (Five hours) – Ernest Hemingway fans and curious travelers will see Havana through the eyes of the famed author. From the cobblestone streets of Old Havana to the shores of fishing village Cojimar, the spirit of Hemingway is immortalized in bars, museums and recipes. Travelers may follow in Hemingway’s footsteps as they explore the streets he once called home. Travelers visit Hemingway’s home “Finca Vigia,” stop by his favorite fishing spot and inspiration for “The Old Man and The Sea” – the village of Cojimar – step into the room in which Hemingway wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and grab a bite and drink at one of his favorite restaurants or watering holes. The excursion includes lunch and refreshments. The per-person price is $59.
- Beyond Havana: Exploring the Cuban Countryside (Nine hours) – Travelers will have a rare opportunity to experience rural life in Cuba as they crisscross the countryside known for its coffee and sugar production. One highlight is Las Terrazas, developed in the 1960s as part of Cuba’s Green Revolution and recognized today as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Las Terrazas has become an ecotourism hotspot and a sustainable community model for artists, farmers and families utilizing organic farming and medicine. Travelers can interact with doctors who transform flora and fauna into alternative medicines, visit the vibrant art community and organic farms, and wander the ruins of a former French coffee plantation. Cuban coffee sipped inside a biosphere may be the best in the world. The tour includes lunch at one of Las Terrazas’ locally sourced restaurants and refreshments throughout the day. The per-person price is $69.
- Magic of Santiago Featuring El Cobre (Six hours) – Travelers looking to experience the coming together of revolution, rum, religion and salsa will not want to miss this tour of Santiago de Cuba – Cuba’s former capital and the third of three destinations during the week-long cruise to Cuba. Starting downtown in picturesque Antonio Maceo Revolution Square, travelers proceed to the final resting place of famed Cuban hero Jose Marti before touring San Juan Hill, home to the Rough Riders assault during the Spanish-American War. The tour ventures beyond the limits of the Santiago city center into the Sierra Maestra mountain range for the city of El Cobre, a historic copper mining town with African influence. Here travelers will visit the famous Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, where they will hear about the role religion plays in the daily lives of local communities while learning about the history of the shrine and the impact made during the Pope’s visit in September 2015. Travelers also will have the option to attend a mass (when available), as well as listen to the sounds of the city’s famed steel drum band, El Cobre. The per-person price is $69.
Cunard Line Focuses On Specific Traveler Interests With Enrichment Series
On board a ship of Cunard Line you might spot some familiar faces, including writers, actors, film-makers, politicians, explorers, scientists, historians and even the occasional astronaut. That’s because they’ve been invited to inform and entertain cruise travelers as part of the Cunard Insights program, regular talks on contemporary issues by well-known celebrities and personalities.
There’s almost no limit to what you can learn on your holidays. All the speakers add another dimension to your cruise. And that’s just the start, with experts on hand to teach you about everything from computers to distant constellations.
- Gregory Porter– Experience the best Jazz at Sea featuring Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Gregory Porter. In addition to performances by Gregory Porter, guests will be treated to a variety of nightly performances around the ship from our line up of acclaimed Blue Note artists.
- Will Lyons- Wine writer, author, journalist and broadcaster Will Lyons has published a weekly wine column for more than a decade – formerly in The Wall Street Journal and now The Sunday Times. His humorous, informed, down-to-earth writing has been recognized in both the Glenfiddich and Roederer wine writing awards.
- Hilary Alexander OBE- A New Zealand-born British journalist and former fashion director of the Daily Telegraph, Hilary has continued to work as a freelance stylist and writer, is the editor-at-large of Hello Fashion Monthly, and a regular presenter and host at Clotheshow.
Specific Traveler Interests Of The Future
On a recent sailing aboard Viking Ocean Cruises new Viking Star, our itinerary was themed In The Wake Of Vikings. That journey traced Leif Eriksson’s voyage of 1000 AD. We called on ports rich in Viking history, from the Shetland Islands and Iceland to Greenland and Newfoundland, with historic Bergen and cosmopolitan Montreal bookending the journey. That itinerary included enrichment lectures such as:
- Mr Lou Thieblemont with Shackeltons’s Open Boat Journey, the greatest story of endurance ever, as well as Aviation- A Flight On A Boeing 757 which was a virtual trip from Akeueri to Reykjavik in the cocpit of a Boeing 757 flight simulator. Another talk by Mr Thieblemont, Aviation- How Planes Fly explained how planes develop lift, how its systems work and what pilots do during flight.
- Mr Robin Petch had The Whole Nine Yards- Nautical Sayings And Superstitions which explored the nautical origins of many popular expressions and beliefs
- Dr Roger Luckinbach presented Stars That Fall, The Origins & Scientific Value Of Meteorites
- Dr John Haywood gave us deep background with The Norse Greenland Colony about the Viking settlement of Greenland and its mysterious demise. Another lecture by Dr Haywood was all about Viking Seafaring & Navigation, a fascinating talk about how the Vikings built and navigated their ships.
It wasn’t all that long ago that some industry watchers commented on the repositioning of Princess Cruises popular Caribbean Princess to some place other than the Caribbean. The thought at the time: Princess had made a mistake naming a ship after a certain geographic part of the world. Accurate or not, custom built and rebuilt ships are focusing more on specific niches of travel interest. Onboard programming as well has a focus on specific traveler interests. Look for more of this coming to a cruise line you might already sail. This might also be good reason to research other cruise lines in an effort to find one that matches topics of interest.
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