Many of our group were family history 'beginners' (or close to it), and they seemed to find the lectures very helpful. Experienced genealogists who have heard many of the talks before probably picked up a few new tips or were reminded of neglected research tasks on their 'To Do' list. I suspect that all of us learned something useful during informal chats in places like the queue for breakfast!
Many people asked why I was not one of the speakers. For me, the cruise was primarily a much-needed holiday after two very difficult years. The genealogy component was a bonus; and I enjoyed making new friends and catching up with colleagues whom I rarely see. I've attended more than one hundred genealogy events, but this was my first cruise, so you can probably guess which aspect of the week I found most appealing!
Here are some extracts from my 'cruise diary':
|Harbour at Port Vila, Vanuatu|
|Made from oranges & pineapples|
The outstanding non-genealogy event today was Meet the Captain, an entertaining and informative question-and-answer session with Captain Neil Turnbull. He told a story about a drunken passenger who fell overboard and was rescued and back on the ship within seven minutes (impressive!) I also loved the story about 2000 Australians going to the front of the ship to see a tsunami. (If there is a tsunami warning, the ship heads for deep water where a tsunami has much less impact.)
Saturday: I overslept and missed most the view of Brisbane as we came up the river, docking at 6am. The disembarkation process was incredibly well organised. In no time at all we were off the ship, had collected our luggage and were through Customs... and the holiday was over!
Would I do another cruise on the Pacific Dawn? Definitely!
Would I go to another genealogy conference on a cruise? Yes, if the speakers, the ship and the route appealed to me. (Some genealogists had family or friends who thought about coming on this cruise but decided they didn't want the hassle and expense of getting a passport.)
With the wisdom of hindsight, what would I do differently if I could do it all again? I would have dinner earlier and make a point of going to all the shows in the Show Lounge or Atrium; and I would book one or two shore tours in advance.
What would I change as far as the conference was concerned? I will need to think about that before the organisers send me a feedback form! Three things spring immediately to mind: (1) Having to rush down each morning to book for talks is no fun (but I realise that P & O's arrangements meant that there was no other option on this cruise). (2) Pin-on name tags would be better, as it was usually impossible to read name tags on lanyards. (3) Themed discussions at lunch and dinner are good in theory, but would work much better at tables for six.
If you were on this cruise, what were your favourite aspects of it? Would you go again?
P.S. - For different viewpoints, and tips from talks that I didn't hear, read what Jenny, Shauna, Aimee and Helen said about the conference and cruise.