When I realized my voyage from Barcelona to Southampton aboard Silver Spirit last month was the final segment of the 2011 World Cruise, the first thing that came to mind was that enrichment lectures would be an outstanding feature during days at sea.
Once aboard I saw the lecture title "Buckingham Palace" and, as expected, the speaker, journalist and author Brian Hoey offered information about that—and even more in his presentations. For instance, he shared tidbits about interacting with the Queen and his second lecture was all about Princess Diana. In a third presentation, he spoke of the "Hollywood Royalty" he had interviewed.
A second lecturer, Bruce Reidel, terrorism expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, a former CIA officer, and a senior adviser to four US presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues, looked back on the events surrounding 9/11 and spoke about how serious a future threat Al Qaeda continues to be. The insights he shared were enlightening and thought provoking.
There's no better time for the cruise line to show off quality speakers than during a World Cruise and an array of renowned lecturers is already slated to host enrichment programs aboard Silver Whisper's first-ever World Cruise in 2012—a 115-day voyage that embarks in sunny Fort Lauderdale and concludes in glamorous Monte Carlo. While guests visit 45 ports in 27 countries stretching from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, the Far East, Arabia, and Europe, an impressive cast of distinguished speakers has been tapped by Silversea to complement their journey. Like me, you can probably only dream of sailing off on the entire World Cruise. But segments are certainly within reach and you can enhance your onboard experience by selecting one with a topic and speaker you find personally appealing.
"World Cruise guests expect a truly extraordinary journey offering broad cultural exploration and intellectual adventure," says Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America. "We searched the globe to find just the right professors and distinguished personalities to share their knowledge and insights. The result is an impeccable enrichment roster that is sure to enhance our guests' travel experience."
Headlined by Emmy Award-winning former anchor of 20/20 Hugh Downs and bestselling author Bill Bryson, take a look at some of the the line-up and when they will join the cruise:
• Hugh Downs: One of the most familiar figures in American television, best known for his 21 years as co-anchor of ABC's 20/20 news program, will host Voyage 4203, Jan 23-Feb 5, Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town.
• Bill Bryson: The celebrated author, whose numerous international bestsellers include the science book A Short History of Nearly Everything, winner of the Aventis Prize, is slated to host Voyage 4206, March 3-14, Singapore-Shanghai.
• Nigel West: Renowned military historian specializing in intelligence, counterintelligence and security issues, his many books include At Her Majesty's Secret Service, will host Voyage 4205, Feb 16-March 3, Mauritius-Singapore.
• Daniel Silke: A politician and international affairs expert, who served four years as a Member of Parliament in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in Cape Town, is slated to host Voyage 4203, Jan 23-Feb 5, Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town.
• Robin Hanbury-Tenison, O.B.E.: Founder and president of Survival International, the world's leading organization supporting tribal peoples, and named by The Sunday Times as "the greatest explorer of the past 20 years," will host Voyage 4202, Jan 7-23, Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro.
• James Bradley: World War II scholar and bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers (his father raised the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima in 1945), will host Voyage 4207, March 14-26, Shanghai-Bangkok.
• Philip Hurst: Historian and world affairs expert, this former deputy director of The Australian Institute of International Affairs, will host Voyage 4208, March 26-April 13, Bangkok-Dubai.
• Tim Hughes, Ph.D.: Former lecturer in political studies at the University of Cape Town and consultant to the BBC since 1994, working as an adviser on national elections, Zimbabwe and Nelson Mandela, will host Voyage 4204, Feb 5-16, Cape Town-Mauritius.
• Dr. Mark H. Elovitz: The internationally acclaimed world affairs commentator and lecturer, who served as a professor of law, a litigator, government advisor, historian and U.S. Air Force officer, will host Voyages 4206-4207, March 3-26, Singapore-Bangkok.
• Dr. Herb Keyser: Author of numerous books and featured on several U.S. television programs, including Nightline, the physician, world traveler and music expert will host Voyage 4209, April 13-May 1, Dubai-Monte Carlo.
Silver Whisper departs on her World Cruise January 6, 2012. For more information, visit Silversea.com.