Lecture on What You Love, and Cruise for Free!
A great many cruise lines give free sailings to "presenters" able to speak brightly about issues of broad public interest
Ms. Higgins adds that in terms of destination talks, "since many of our upscale passengers have already visited a large part of the world, we try and focus on topics they're likely not to have previously encountered. For example, on a Seabourn voyage to Vietnam, in addition to booking speakers to relate tales of the Vietnam War, we had a professor who lectured about the country's textiles, art, and the interaction between crafts and daily life in Vietnam. We also had an economist who talked about the strength of Southeast Asia's position in the global economy."
Among other recent Cunard onboard presenters were a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who conducted writing workshops and a New York City-based travel writer who lectured westbound QE II passengers about shopping strategies in the Big Apple. And, on Cunard as elsewhere, it doesn't hurt to be famous. Actress Patricia Neal has given talks including clips from her films. And Ted Koppell has also crewed on Cunard.
Aboard the popularly priced lines, there's less emphasis on the speaker's celebrity:
Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises
Royal Caribbean and its sister brand Celebrity Cruises frequently book speakers, but primarily for voyages lasting longer than seven days. Usually, the talks are destination oriented, although they also book historians. It emphasizes that speakers must be more than merely knowledgeable and wants to avoid anyone who might deliver a lecture in History 101.
Clipper Cruise Line
Clipper Cruise Line's ships--carrying up to 138 passengers--regularly book naturalists who not only give scheduled talks but lead shore excursions. They're quite selective. We seek out professional biologists or natural historians. And it pays people because their expertise can really enhance passenger experiences at our ports of call. These include Alaska, the Sea of Cortez, Venezuela's Orinoco River, Costa Rica, China, Japan, and New Zealand.
Norwegian Cruise Line
This venerable operator of large, popularly priced ships also books speakers, primarily those who can describe ports of call or discuss food or their new book. Norwegian also operates a large number of "theme" cruises on such topics as sports and music. The line will host speakers whose expertise matches each sailing's theme. A line spokesperson suggests that those interested call the reservations department to see what themes are featured and for what sailing dates.
Princess Cruises regularly welcomes speakers who can talk about relevant ports of call. They always have a naturalist aboard our Alaskan cruises but we welcome experts in world affairs, art, and maritime matters. For Asian cruises, Princess also hosts cultural historians who lecture on the history and customs of the places they will soon visit.
Costa Cruise Lines
Costa Cruise Lines also brings along lecturers, but only on Caribbean sailings. Typical themes that passengers have found appealing include astrology, finance, history, and yoga.
And incidentally, Carnival and Premier Cruise Lines are among the few lines that don't normally trade lectures for cabins.
Presenting Your Credentials
To contact the cruise lines directly, be sure to contact the Entertainment Coordinator or Director of Onboard Guest Programs (and give serious thought to enclosing a videotape of your presentations).