8th Unlock the Past Cruise: Only 6 Weeks Away

The old saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun”, but I also say time flies when you’re busy. And unless you’re a kid, lets face it … time just flies!! I mean, does anyone really want to know that JUNE is only says away? How can it be, when Christmas just last month, right?

Anyway, after having been coming for so long, the 8th Unlock the Past Cruise is almost here. It is just a mere 6 weeks until we board (or as my little app says 1 month, 1 week, a few days). And I have no doubt those 6 weeks will fly by.

While this is Unlock the Past Cruises 8th cruise, it is their first one to the Scandinavian and Baltic region of the world. And for me, this will be the trip of a lifetime –  for a whole bunch of reasons. And let me tell you why!
Baltic Map

Firstly it will my first time to any of the destinations it stops at:
– Southampton, England
– Bruges, Belgium
– Berlin, Germany
– Tallinn, Estonia
– St Peterburg, Russia
– Helsinki, Finland
– Stockholm, Sweden
– Copenhagen, Denmark
While there are a heap of organised tours at every one of these destinations, I think I’ll just do what I usually do, and that is simply head ashore and wander around, and see what I see.

8th cruise - group of presenters

Secondly there is a seriously awesome list of guest presenters on this genealogy cruise!
– Carol Baxter (Australia)
– Carol Becker (United States)
– Tony Beardshaw (England)
– Chris Braund (England)
– Tricia Fairweather (Australia)
– Janet Few (England)
– Caroline Gurney (England)
– Shauna Hicks (Australia)
– Cyndi Ingle (United States)
– Eric Kopittke (Australia)
– Rosemary Kopittke (Australia)
– Paul Milner (United States)
– Gordon Nuttall (United States)
– Chris Paton (Scotland)
– Helen Smith (Australia)
– Jane Taubman (England)
– Barbara Toohey (Australia)
I’ve heard a number of these people present before, and found them excellent. The others I am looking forward to hearing for the first time. I’m feeling that on this cruise I going to be a “genealogy sponge”, and I shall do my best to soak up everything I can. We’ll see how that goes! You can read the bios of all the speakers here.


8th Unlock the Past Cruise program

8th Unlock the Past Cruise program

The third reason, is the program. A great conference requires not only great speakers, but great topics. And while it’s not 100% finalised, it’s pretty close to what it will be, and currently there are 70 different topics listed, in 52 sessions. Just a few of the topics covered include: health history, which information is correct?, scanning and restoring old photos, DNA, caring for your family archives, crafting a good book, Evernote, diaries and letters, foreign language tools for English-speaking genealogists, ask grandma, bride ships, and timelines! As I’m not one to go out on deck as sunbake, there’s a good chance you’ll find me hanging out in the conference rooms most of the time. You can  see the full program here.


My fourth reason for being so excited about this cruise is the ship! That’s right. The ship itself. We’re sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse for this cruise, and it is like nothing that I’ve been on before.  The video above gives you a tour of the ship as it was a few years ago, and honestly it looks spectacular. But if that wasn’t speccy enough, it’s been upgraded since then. You can see some pictures of how it looks now on the Celebrity Cruises website.


My fifth reason is one that helped me make the decision to go is family. The ship stops for a day at Helsinki in FInland, and I am hoping to catch up with some distant reli’s there. My great grandpa, Otto Winter, left Finland in December 1902 as a seaman, and after spending 5 years travelling the world onboard cargo ships, he jumped ship in Queensland, Australia, and the Australian branch of the Winter family began. Although he kept in touch with his family, he never went back to visit them or his homeland. So for the first time in over 100 years families from both sides of the world are hoping to catch up.


If all of this sounds enticing to you, and you wonder why you haven’t yet booked. It’s not too late. Come and join in the fun. There are still cabins available. You can find details of pricing and cabins from this link, and then click on the BOOK NOW button, with will take you to the booking agent Clean Cruising.

So the countdown is ON! And the weeks will fly by. And the Baltic cruise will be here before I know it, and probably before I’m ready for it.

As I’ve done with past genealogy cruises, I’ll blog about the happenings and sites when I can, depending on time and internet connection.  But to say I’m just a little excited is an understatement. Can you tell??

7 Responses to “8th Unlock the Past Cruise: Only 6 Weeks Away”

  1. Pauleen says:

    What a great time you’ll have Alona, and what a special thing to visit Finland to honour your ancestor. Looking forward to hearing reports from my genimates.

  2. Glenice Gare says:

    Good for you, Alona- you deserve it.
    I’m not really jealous, I’m not really envious, but……
    Have a wonderful time

  3. Alex says:

    Alona that ship and the program look AMAZING! You will just have the best time with all those lovely people I am sure. Enjoy!

  4. So jealous! I did the 1st cruise to New Zealand and promised myself to do another. It was great. Looking forward to your posts about it

  5. Sorry I’m missing the opportunity to sail with some of tbose fab people. Those ports are amazing – you’ll have z beaut time.

  6. Jane Taubman says:

    > that is simply head ashore and wander around

    Don’t forget you can’t do that in Russia, unless you have a full Visa (at 135GBP). So you’ll need to do a Ships tour or another organised one.

  7. GenieJen says:

    Sounds fabulous, Alona – sure you’ll have an amazing time both on and off the ship.

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