Unlock the Past’s 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise – Geneacruising Part 1

Well, I’ve got my feet back on land after spending the past 10 days aboard the “Voyager of the Seas” cruise ship, for the 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise which was organised by Unlock the Past. And while it was great fun, and non-stop learning, it is nice to have a working computer that I can blog with. (Note: it’s really not convenient when your laptop dies on the first day of your trip, it does kinda put a halt to the onboard blogging). So bear with me, as I do some catchup posts.

As there is a lot to report this will be spread over several posts, as it’ll be easier for you to read, but also easier for me to write 😉

Sunday 10 February 2013 to Thursday 14 February 2013

This post is a report on the first five days, which covers the day we boarded, through until the day we arrived in Noumea.

I want to give you more of a report than just “lovely room, great food – with an amazing choice, super friendly staff etc. etc” but not a big long day-by-day, talk-by-talk report either. So this will be something in between.

the Voyager of the Seas docked at Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour
with the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the left, and the Opera House on the right

Boarding was painless. Even going through Customs was easy, just a few bits of paperwork to fill in and hand over, then show the lovely person your passport (those photos are as bad a driver’s licence photos aren’t they – they never look like you!) Anyway, all was good, we got given our “Sea Pass” card – which is THE all important card to have when going cruising. This little credit card size thing, lets you get on and off the boat, lets you into your room, says where you are seated for dinner (in the main dining room), and lets you shop without having to whip out cash or your own credit card! So this card stays with you all day, everyday.

The Geneacruisers from ‘our group’ were also given a Unlock the Past name tag, which then allowed them into our meetings.

top card: Royal Caribbean’s Sea Pass Card
bottom card: the Unlock the Past 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise name tag

As we whizzed though baggage drop, and customer we got to board early which was awesome, as this allowed us to check out the Conference Rooms (all three of them that we have for the entire cruise), and then go find where to get lunch on this ship.

Some of the Unlock the Past organisation team lunching
in the Windjammer Cafe
L-R: Alan Phillips, Anthea Phillips, Rosemary Kopittke, and Helen Smith

As the ship wasn’t leaving until 8pm, after lunch was spent wandering around the ship discovering it. It also gave us time to get the internet organised. I bought a package of 10 hours for $150 ($0.30/minute), which allows me to use my laptop in any of their six designated ‘hotspots’ (various bars/cafes etc.) around the ship. Well, as I mentioned before, after getting it all up and running, my laptop died (not to mention my camera too – who’d have thought!!) so I became a regular at the Internet Cafe which is onboard.

one of the two levels of the internet cafe/library on the Voyager of the Seas ship

Anyway this is a genealogy cruise so let me tell you something about that. At the time of writing this I had been to 11 talks and as cliche as it sounds, have learnt stuff from every single one!

The talks I sat in on were: migrating ancestors (Paul Milner), how to choose genealogy software (Louis Kessler), Legacy Family Tree (Jan Gow), the Parish Chest (Paul Milner), Family Photo Book (Rosemary Kopittke), Structuring a family history (Carol Baxter), English Parish Registers (Paul Milner), Behold genealogy software (Louis Kessler), social media for genealogists (Jill Ball), Scottish Kirk Session & Poor Records (Paul Milner) and more. And there’s still four more full days of talks to go!!

the first talk of the 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise, Paul Milner’s
“Follow Your Migrating Ancestors”

The speakers have been great (based on those that I’ve been to and also feedback from others). There’s been the occasional tech glitch with the microphone and projector, but these seem to have been largely sorted. There’s some people from our group wanting to catch up with others in our group to see if they happen to be related, and a story that did emerge was that two geneacruisers discovered they grew up three doors away from each other. So you just never know.

two of the key presenters on the 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise:
left, Paul Milner (US) and right, Louis Kessler (Canada)

We have had fabulous weather with it being between 25C-29C and mostly sunny everyday, not that we have actually noticed much as our Conference Room is down on Deck 2, and there are no windows to see the sun and sea. But as we are all here for a genie conference most of us didn’t really notice. But the wives of the speakers seem to have taken to cruising and have been out and about enjoying cruise life.

if you wanted sun, Deck 11 of the Voyager of the Seas was the place to be.
Sun beds in the shade, others in the sun, the hot tubs, the spas and of course the pools!

[Note: when I mention ‘WE’ throughout, I am referring to the Unlock the Past/Gould Genealogy team: Alan, Anthea, Rosemary, Helen and myself.]

Related Posts:
Unlock the Past’s 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise – Geneacruising Part 2
Unlock the Past’s 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise – Geneacruising Part 3
Unlock the Past’s 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise – The Geneabloggers


One Response to “Unlock the Past’s 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise – Geneacruising Part 1”

  1. Jill Ball says:

    Always wondered who was in the “Unlock the Past” team. Mystery now solved, thanks, Alona.

    I had great fun too and can’t wait for throughput 4th cruise in February 2014.

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