To finish up writing about the 5th Unlock the Past cruise I just wanted to write a few last thoughts on it all, as well as some thankyous.
The cruise itself went really, really well, as did the conference. In fact, it really was the best run conference of all of the genealogy cruises that I’ve been on (meaning the 1st, the 3rd and the 4th cruises). Sure there were two late room changes, but that wasn’t any real drama, as we were simply directed to the alternate room which was either on the same deck, or one deck up. And sure one shore tour was late returning which resulted in one talk having to be cancelled since the speaker was on the tour, but those who wanted to go Jackie’s talk on Family Historian caught up with her when she was available to chat in the Research Help Zone area.
The speakers whose talks I went to were great, and the destinations visited were all amazing. They probably weren’t places I would have visited otherwise, but still all were really interesting to see. So all up it went really well.
Now I know this couldn’t have happened without some behind-the-scenes help from both various crew on the Marco Polo, as well as various members of the Unlock the Past organising team. And while there’s over 200 crew on board the Marco Polo (an no, I didn’t meet them all), I just wanted to mention a few who I personally believe deserve big thankyous for their effort!
Julie – Guest Services Manager
So firstly I’d like to say a big, big, bit thankyou to Julie, who is the lady who made so much of it happen. As part of the UTP organising crew, I was in on lots of the behind the scenes happenings that the rest of the geneacruisers wouldn’t have known about. So trust me when I say that Julie played a HUGE part in making things run well. Some even credited her with the absolutely fabulous weather we had all cruise. Personally I wouldn’t put it past her, but whoever was responsible for the weather did an awesome job! Not a drop of rain the entire way. Thankyou for everything Julie!
Alex – Stage Manager
While I didn’t personally have a lot to do with Alex, he deserves a big thankyou here. Others in the UTP organising team were working with him to make sure all of the bits (plugs, powerboards, connections, microphones, projectors, sound, lighting etc.) worked for each of the presentations, which since people came to hear the presentations, is really a big deal. So trust me having a stage manager on hand to fix any issue was a big help. Thankyou Alex.
Asish – Assistant Chef
The next person I want to thank was a guy who I saw every day in the buffet, and that was Asish who is the Assistant Chef. He was always there at every mealtime to say a friendly hello, and always wanting to know if the food was ok? Well in fact I found the food great. Ok, it didn’t have the mega-huge-buffet that the Royal Caribbean ship did, but this ship only caters for 800 not 5000, so you simply can’t expect the same choice. Still, there was always a good range of breads, rolls, salads, hot foods, as well as breakfast-y things at breaky time, and desserts at lunch and tea (the chocolate mousse and cream puffs were simply awesome). And I even discovered that they offer afternoon tea. However I made it there once – purely because I shouldn’t each too much junk. But if you love your cakes, slices, not to mention the scones, jam and cream – it really was tasty. So I presuming that Asish had something to do with the yummy, tasty food – So thankyou Asish, but not forgetting the others also involved in the food preparation either.
And while I’m on the topic of food, some would query why I chose to eat at the buffet rather than the main dining room. Well, it’s simple really. At the buffet I can get the same food quicker, and in the portions I want, and also I’m not stuck having one main meal – I can have a bit of the lamb AND the fish if I want! That’s my reasoning anyway, and I’m sticking to it.
Oleksandra – Cabin Steward
Now on to the cabin. I shared a room with Helen Smith, a Premium Twin Inside room on deck 7. So while it didn’t have a window or a balcony as we were “inside”, it was incredibly roomy – much more room than I’ve had on any of the previous cruises. Anyway Oleksandra was the cabin steward for the area where our room was, and I must say that she did a magnificent job of keeping Helen’s and my room looking spick and span. Not only did she make the beds everyday and clean the bathroom, but she also tidied up piles the paperwork and other bits that we’d leave around the cabin, so we could guarantee that when we came back to the cabin it would look awesome. So a big thankyou to Oleksandra, you really know how to clean!
Wardika – Photographer
Wardika is the ship photographer (well, one of them) and as such played an important part not just for our group, but all cruisers, as he photographed people out an about going on their tours and ashore, as well as on the ship as well. All of which creates great memories, if you want to buy the photos. He was also the guy who took the Unlock the Past group photo and all the others at the cocktail party on the last night.
But apart from being a great photographer, he’s a great guy to talk to. I did what seems to be my usual thing of finding a place onboard and parking myself there, and on this ship it ended up being the Palm Garden. There were comfy chairs, it was quiet, there was sunshine coming in through the windows, and there was a powerpoint (important factor that one) – so while I didn’t have internet, iI could still use my computer. However as I later discovered, the Palm Gardens is also right near the area where the photographers set up the photos they have taken so people can look at them, as well as doing any sales. Not that this was a problem, as I was simply parked in my comfy chair just doing my thing – but I did become a bit of a fixture there, and as such was getting to know the photography staff a bit. So thankyou to Wardika for the great photos and chats.
Alona – Violinist
In Australia my name is really, really unusual. Unusual to the point that I have only ever met one other person with my name in my whole life, and least until the cruise. That was when I discovered that Alona was the violinist onboard. And although it is spelt the same, it is pronounced quite differently. Still I’m taking it as being the second person I’ve ever met with the same name. And thankyou Alona for letting me take a photo with you.
So there you go folks, that pretty much concludes my wrap-up of the cruise, though I’m sure I will think of more later that I should have added in – I always do.
For those who have been on a genealogy cruise, or who haven’t yet, but are interested, maybe I’ll see you on a future one. As Unlock the Past have so many planned for the next two years, I simply can’t go on them all, but I will be going on their 8th cruise (the Baltic one) in July 2015, and the 11th cruise (NZ to Australia) in February/March 2016. So maybe I’ll see you there?