Unlock the Past Cruise March 2011 - An overview
After a 6 hour wait at Brisbane airport, 2.5 hour plane ride to Adelaide, then 40 minute car ride, I finally made it home Saturday night at about 8pm. The shower kept moving the next day but otherwise I was fine with being back on dry land. (Please note: cruise ships have bathrooms that are nice but very compact, and if you're going to feel the ship's sway then it'll be in there. Whatever you do, hang on and don't close your eyes when having a shower. And hope that your shower floor is non-slip, unlike mine, where I had a great time creating my own version of wateraerobics mixed with waterskiing).
I returned home only 0.5kg heavier, which I think is pretty darn good considering other people I have heard about have gained up to 7kg! Tip: just because there's so much food doesn't mean you have to eat it all, and always use the stairs.
Now I shall reflect upon the cruise itself, and shall entitle the next section 'why you should come on an Unlock the Past cruise' (and I'm not just saying this because I work for Unlock the Past - I truly mean it)
- it is a great concept to have a conference at sea, spreading it out over x number of days and having a decent holiday at the same time. My mother would have loved it and I wished she had come!
- I enjoyed it (though missed my husband terribly).
- there were a variety of conference topics and research levels so people could pick and choose what they wanted to attend and when they wanted to attend. Personally my eyes glazes with some of the more advanced topics, but I thoroughly enjoyed the beginners talks. Others would have found the opposite - it's a win-win situation.
- the cruise program gives an alternative if you prefer not to attend a talk or seminar (or if you have only come along for the ride and aren't the one who is actually interested in history or genealogy).
- great food!
- it's a fantastic price for a whole conference, all meals, accommodation, petrol, activities, entertainment, and visits to different countries.
- cruise ships are very efficient in their organisation as they’re been doing it for a while now, so you don't have to worry about much or wait around for service. Disembarking was amazingly quick and organised!
- the level of service is amazing. From those who cleaned the room to the waiters in the restaurant - you ask and you receive.
- the Unlock the Past program gives you focus for your days, and so not only is the cruise fun, it's also educational.
- the hot chocolates are cheaper and better
- you have a chance to meet new people, discuss your research with like-minded researchers, and chew the ear off of speakers and experts (who have no where to hide...)
- did I mention the food?
As this was the inaugural Unlock the Past Cruise there were undoubtedly things which will be altered for any future cruises. However, I can honestly say that I believe it to be a success and hope that all those who attended enjoyed themselves, and all those who did not attend, for whatever reason, will give it some serious thought in the future.