Sail with a mainstream line and you get mainstream stuff: beer, Bob Marley, boa-wearing showgirls, and maybe a few bars of Beethoven to add class. Sail with one of the ultra-luxury lines and you get . . . NPR's Scott Simon and David Broder of the Washington Post.
As we move into 2007, the luxury lines are firming up the lists of featured speakers who'll sail aboard select cruises, interacting with passengers and offering lectures, classes, and workshops.
Regent Heads Alaska-Way with PBS Personalities . . .
On May 12, Regent Seven Seas' Seven Seas Mariner will sail north from San Francisco to Southeast Alaska, carrying 700 passengers and a complement of public TV and radio personalities. Part of the line's "Spotlight Series" enrichment program, the Spotlight on Public Broadcasting cruise was created in partnership with local PBS stations nationwide and Artful Travelers (tel. 206/617-9098; www.artfultravelers.com), a Palm Springs based specialist in arts- and culture-based travel.
Guests may participate in interactive presentations and panel discussions while at sea, specially designed shore excursions in port, and private cocktail events and dinners hosted by the featured guests. PBS and NPR personalities scheduled to sail include:
Scott Simon, a Peabody Award-winning correspondent and host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday.
Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, the longest-running public affairs program on public television, and senior correspondent for The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.
Ric Burns, an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer best known for his epic series New York: A Documentary Film, and for co-producing and co-writing the celebrated PBS series The Civil War.
Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report, political analyst for the National Journal Group, and one of the leading authorities on U.S. elections and political trends.
Scott Ellis, an award-winning director of Broadway and off-Broadway musicals, comedies, and dramas. Director of the PBS Great Performances shows "Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall" and "My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies."
Other guests include David Lee (co-writer and co-producer of The Jeffersons and Cheers and co-creator of Wings and Frasier); several noted chefs and winemakers; travel photographer Paul Sutherland, whose work has appeared in National Geographic and Newsweek; and naturalists from Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society, leading lectures on Alaska's ecosystem.
The 11-night cruise will visit Astoria (Oregon), Seattle, (Washington), Prince Rupert and Seymour Narrows (British Columbia), and Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, and Sitka (Alaska), ending in Vancouver on May 23. Per person fares start from $3,998. Mention booking code PTVatSEA when reserving in order to get access to PBS events.
. . . Hosts Weather Honcho in the Eastern Caribbean
On March 13, Regent takes a completely different tack, with noted meteorologist and hurricane specialist Max Mayfield sailing as special guest on Seven Seas Mariner's ten-night eastern Caribbean itinerary, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale. The former director of the Tropical Prediction Center of the National Hurricane Center, Mr. Mayfield will lead guests on a non-hurricane-season exploration of hurricane behavior and meteorology, offering three onboard lectures.
Port calls include the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos. Per-person prices start from $3,948. Kids 17 and under can sail free when sharing a cabin with two adult passengers. (Offer available for new bookings only.)
. . . and Offers Art Travel Program for Cruising Aesthetes
Rounding out Regent's offerings, the line and its sister-company, Regent Hotels, have also created a new experiential "art travel" program called the Regent Art Experience. Offered aboard ship and in port as part of Regent's "Circles of Interest" program (a program of expert-led lectures, excursions, and events themed around a common interest), the program will partner with noted museums to offer art-related shore excursions and onboard enrichment programs.
For the first art-focused program, the line has partnered with Diane Camber, executive director and chief curator at Miami's Bass Museum of Art, to lead three Seven Seas Navigator voyages through the Mediterranean, departing July 19 (9 nights, Barcelona to Monte Carlo), August 11 (7 nights, Monte Carlo to Civitavecchia/Rome), and August 18 (7 nights, Civitavecchia/Rome to Venice). Camber's art excursions will be held in the ports of Sorrento, Venice, Monte Carlo, and Florence/Livorno. Guests will have the opportunity to explore Roman ruins, survey Michelangelo's masterpieces throughout Florence, and view the private collection of billionaire collector Francois Pinault at Venice's Palazzo Grassi. Onboard, Camber's lectures will provide insights into the life and work of various artists, including Gaudí, Miró, Picasso and Caravaggio.
This summer's art-themed voyages start at $4,796 per person for 7-night itineraries and $5,771 per person for nine nights.
Seabourn Goes for Power, Politics & Punditry
The daily slugfest between George Bush and the new Democratic Congress not enough for you? You can inject a giant slug of politics right into your vacation bloodstream by booking with Seabourn (tel. 800/929-9391; www.seabourn.com) this year.
At the beginning and end of 2007, the line has arranged the services of several noted political and journalistic luminaries to sail and speak on workings of public policy and the news media.
On February 18, Seabourn Pride's 13-night "Rio & the Amazon" cruise departs Rio de Janeiro with David S. Broder aboard. A Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the Washington Post, Broder is also a syndicated columnist whose opinions are carried in over 300 newspapers nationwide. He's the author of half a dozen books on U.S. politics and a regular commentator on NBC's Meet the Press, PBS's Washington Week in Review and CNN's Inside Politics.
On November 20, Robert C. McFarlane will sail aboard Seabourn Spirit's 16-night "Arabia, India & Orchid Isles" voyage, departing Dubai. McFarlane became embroiled in the Iran-Contra scandal while serving as national security advisor to Ronald Reagan and also held key White House posts in the Ford and Nixon administrations. He's the founder of Global Energy Systems and a director of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies.
On December 6, broadcast journalist Bob Schieffer will sail with Seabourn Spirit's 14-night "Asian Capitals & Vietnam" cruise, departing Singapore. The anchor of the CBS Evening News in 2005 and 2006, Schieffer also served as anchor of the Saturday CBS Evening News for twenty years and was moderator of the network's Sunday staple Face the Nation for fifteen years. As CBS's chief Washington correspondent, he has covered presidential campaigns since 1972.
Crystal Gets Well via Cleveland
Got a well-thumbed copy of the Physician's Desk Reference on your shelf? Here're the cruises for you. This year, experts from the renowned Cleveland Clinic will sail with eight itineraries offered by Crystal Cruises (tel. 888/799-4625; www.crystalcruises.com). Brought aboard as part of the line's Creative Learning Institute enrichment program, the medical guests will offer a variety of complimentary interactive classes and workshops, with approximately three classes scheduled per cruise. Doctors from various Cleveland Clinic departments will sail on the following cruises:
January 31: 11-night Panama Canal voyage from Costa Rica to Miami, featuring Dr. Michael Modic, M.D., division chairman of the Neurological Institute Office. Topics will include healthcare screenings, cardiovascular disease, and brain imaging diagnostics.
February 25: 7-night Mexican Riviera sailing, round-trip from Los Angeles, featuring Dr. Michael O'Donnell, Ph.D., director of the department of health and wellness. Topics will include general health, wellness, and prevention.
June 10: 10-night Baltic cruise from London to Stockholm (including St. Petersburg), featuring Dr. A. David Rothner, M.D., Department of Neurology and director of patient education and health information for the clinic's Department of Education. Topics will include neurology and headaches.
June 27: 14-night North Cape cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, featuring Dr. Gary Hoffman, M.D., chairman of the Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Disease. Dr. Hoffman will speak on rheumatology issues.
August 31: 14-night port-intensive transatlantic crossing from London to New York, featuring Dr. A. J. Cianflocco, M.D., from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Topics will include management of osteoarthritis of the knee, the mature athlete, exercise prescription, and healthier golf.
November 4: 10-night Panama Canal/Caribbean voyage from Miami to Costa Rica, featuring Dr. Mark Froimson, M.D., from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who will speak on orthopaedics.
November 9: 10-night transatlantic crossing from Lisbon to Miami (including Bermuda), featuring Dr. Michael Rocco, M.D., from the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, speaking on heart disease issues.
November 19: 12-night Panama Canal/Caribbean Thanksgiving cruise, featuring Dr. Michael Rabovsky, M.D., medical director of the Department of Family Medicine at the Clinic's Beachwood Family Health and Surgery Center. Topics will include prevention and family medicine.
Fares start at $1,890 per person, double occupancy.
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