Clear skies at sea are great for astronomy lecturers.
Clear skies at sea are great for astronomy lecturers.

While many retirees turn to cruises as a convenient way to see new places, meet new people, and sample new cuisine, some also seek opportunities to learn from the speakers that cruises offer.

Three Academy Village residents will describe their experiences as cruise lecturers in a presentation entitled Lecturers Afloat at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 14) in the Arizona Senior Academy Great Room.

Virginia Cornell says the most enjoyable part of her cruise ship lecturing experience was the chance to travel to places she’d “never been, and wanted to go,” as she worked for several companies, such as Princess Lines. Most memorable were the opportunities to help travelers develop a deeper understanding of places the ship would visit. These lectures—called “destination talks”—provided passengers with color, information, and enthusiasm about upcoming ports and opportunities.

Beginning with the last appearance of Halley’s Comet, Michael Chriss initially lectured for Royal Viking and Silver Sea cruise lines. He turned for his current series of cruise lectures to Holland America, traveling to and from Barcelona, between Vancouver and Honolulu, and in the historically Spanish areas of western South America. A retired astronomer, he merges Astronomy and the Humanities, an approach he developed over many years of teaching and currently includes in his University of Arizona courses and in his occasional lectures at the Senior Academy.

Don Behnke’s lectures addressing musical themes have extended from the first, “Toast to the Tenors,” to the most recent, “Ticket to Ride,” about the Beatles. Behnke has enjoyed working for the Oceania, Crystal, and Silver Sea cruise lines, with travels from Europe to Africa, South America, and Asia. In being a “lecturer afloat,” he takes particular pleasure in memorable sites such as the Manaus Opera House, and in the opportunity to meet interesting passengers of varied backgrounds.

Written by Sarah Dinham, Academy Village Volunteer


Cruise Ship Lecturers Share Their Stories:Sept.2016