Feb 21, 2014

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Review of 4th Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise Feb 2014

The cruise left from Sydney then on to Melbourne, then Adelaide, then Hobart and finally back to Sydney. This was my 4th cruise with Unlock the Past as a cruise presenter and as usual I will do an overall review of the cruise. Perhaps the question I was asked most was, why go to Australian ports as it is much more exotic to travel to Pacific Islands such as Lifou, Noumea, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Well I wanted to know what it was like for our ancestors who travelled through Bass Strait (or around Tasmania) on their way to Sydney. There is no comparison between a cruise ship and an old sailing ship but some of the swells we saw going down the west coast of Tasmania made me think that it could not have been a great experience. It would have been even worse in bad weather.  You could almost imagine their relief as they entered the more sheltered waters on the way into Hobart.

So travelling in my ancestors footsteps (so to speak) was one reason I went on this cruise. The second reason is that a number of my long term genealogy friends from around Australia are now also regular cruisers with Unlock the Past. This is an excellent way to catch up with all these friends in a single place once a year. Not to mention making new friends and some people even found they were related to each other.

My third reason is that I am a genealogy tragic and try to attend every genealogy conference I can, whether it is on land or sea. I love the smorgasbord of talks and presenters and there is always something new to learn about. This cruise had an amazing range of speakers including Thomas MacEntee from the USA, Chris Paton from Scotland, Kirsty Gray from England and lots of speakers from Australia and New Zealand. If anything there was too much choice!

My fourth reason is that cruising is a really relaxed way to travel. You unpack once, someone tidies up your room every day, others do all the cooking and cleaning and probably the hardest decision you have to make is what you will select from the menus at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you get peckish in between times, there are little cafes to satisfy your every need.

I did get sick this trip but then you can get sick whenever you travel. It is a bit like the weather, you hope it will be fine for the trip but if not, you have to adjust your plans accordingly. Amazingly I managed to deliver my five talks but did miss some sessions that I really wanted to go to. Hopefully those speakers will be making their handouts available and I can see what I missed. As usual my presentations are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

This was a nine day cruise and it went so fast with five days (or part days) in port and four full days at sea. Even on the part days in port there was usually a session or two to attend. I have published my daily accounts of the cruise in Diary of an Australian Genealogist and a number of other geneabloggers have also written up their experiences (or are still doing so).  There is a list of them in Diary here. I hope I have not missed anyone.

I am not going on the 5th Unlock the Past cruise not because I am sick of genealogy cruising but because I want to go on the 6th genealogy cruise which is a three night cruise out of Sydney followed by an optional 5 day tour to Norfolk Island, another place I love visiting. People can either just do the cruise or just do Norfolk Island or both. This is in October 2014 and already I am looking forward to catching up with genealogy friends and learning more from the various speakers on the program. It should be a real boost to my Australian research including my convict lines.

So I guess I am going to have to restyle myself from a genealogy tragic to a genealogy cruiser tragic because now it is a double addiction! If you have not tried it yet, you do not know how much genealogy fun you are missing out on. Roll on the October 2014 cruise!


  1. Hope to see you again on the 6th cruise in October

  2. Shauna Hicks says:

    Let’s hope our talks are not scheduled at the same time next trip, I really enjoy your tips and enthusiasm for techno stuff that I want to learn more about.

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