Review of 10th Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise to New Zealand and Southern Australia

11 March 2016

Celebrity Solstice at Tauranga New Zealand

Celebrity Solstice at Tauranga New Zealand

This is an overview report of Unlock the Past’s 10th Genealogy Cruise. I have already done three daily reports. If you missed them, catch up with

Overall it was a great cruise and not just because I managed not to fall over and hurt myself this time. It was an excellent genealogy program with 79 lectures that you could attend, with no two sessions on at the same time. No having to choose which one to miss out on! I ended up going to 44 of the talks and took lots of notes and ideas to follow up now that I am back home.

The great thing about a genealogy cruise is that you don’t have to worry about mundane things like housework, cooking or even travelling to a conference venue each day. Plus you have the shipboard attractions and ports of calls when you are not attending genealogy talks. Ports of call this trip were Auckland, Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, touring through Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds, then Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Even with all those ports there were still eight days of genealogy sessions from 9am to 9pm. More than enough for everyone and many people attended most sessions. For me the highlight speaker was Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist who gave 10 talks including a few on DNA. A couple of talks were American case studies but the methodology applies no matter where you are researching. I also liked Paul Blake (UK) and Louis Kessler (Canada) and all the Australasian speakers. It is the overseas speakers who mainly attract me to a cruise, last year on the Baltic cruise it was the opportunity to hear Cyndi Ingle (of Cyndi’s List) in person that was the highlight.

A cruise means that you get the opportunity to talk to speakers in a social setting as well, either over dinner, having a drink or elsewhere and of course, people also take advantage of the research help zones to ask their problem questions. All of the speakers are readily approachable and willing to help if they can. Also fellow attendees have a wealth of experience and knowledge and are willing to listen to other’s research problems.

Itinerary of 13th Unlock the Past cruise

Itinerary of 13th Unlock the Past cruise

I had such a good time I am already booked on the 13th Unlock the Past cruise to Papua New Guinea in July 2017. Quite a few of the people on the 10th cruise have also said they are going too which is fantastic. We can all catch up again next July. I’m not on the 11th and 12th cruises simply because I had other commitments and you really can’t cruise all the time, can you?

It is always hard to think of negatives when you are having so much fun, but for me I think an 18 night cruise is a bit long. I was starting to long for my own pillow and bed and to not eating and drinking so much. Even though I promised myself that I would not give in to the dessert option every night, the temptation was far too great, especially when the waiters are disappointed that you don’t want to try the chef’s special of the day.

But now that I am home, I am longing for someone to make the bed, tidy up, cook my meals and entertain me!

I am a self confessed, genealogy cruising fan and I am already looking forward to my next one in 2017. If you have not yet tried genealogy cruising, check out Unlock the Past’s cruises to see what is coming up. It is a great way to make new genealogy friends, learn lots from fantastic speakers, travel to new places and without some of the hassle associated with attending land based genealogy conferences. Roll on July 2017 and my next genealogy cruise!

The Nile -Australia's Largest Online Bookstore


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

Related Posts

Review on the Family history show 20 Feb 2021

Review on the Family history show 20 Feb 2021

In pre Covid times, I used to try and get to as many Australasian genealogy conferences as I could in person. Catch up with friends, meet speakers and network with colleagues. Travel may have disappeared for a while but all is not lost. One of the few benefits of...

Australia Day 2020 Challenge: C’mon Aussie

Back in 2014, one of my favourite bloggers, Cassmob, issued an Australia Day Challenge C'mon Aussie geneameme in which I participated. My answers are below plus an update (in bold) six years on. CLIMBING YOUR FAMILY’S GUM TREE My first ancestor to arrive in Australia...

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2020

Each year, for the last few years, Jill Ball (aka Geniaus) invites us to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions in a blog post. Write as much or as little as you want and complete as many statements as you wish. If you wish to...

Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day & Frederick Trevaskis

Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day & Frederick Trevaskis

Six years ago, on 8 November 2014 I blogged about Frederick Trevaskis and how he died on the battlefield in Belgium on 13 October 1917. Each ANZAC and Remembrance Day I like to do a tribute to one of my military ancestors. Frederick Trevaskis was a distant cousin (my...



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.