Monday, 21 November 2011
Now I'm back on dry land, after a week afloat on MS Westerdam with the Wholly Genes 7th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise. I'd never been on a cruise before, so it was an interesting experience for me. I had to give three lectures, host a couple of breakfast sessions and a number of one-on-one consultations. I already knew four of the other speakers, Pam and Rick Sayre, Dick Eastman and Craig Scott, and the fifth, John Humphrey, turned out to be excellent company too.
There were nearly 2000 passengers, including the select band of Wholly Genes students. As well as the general genealogy lectures there were several sessions dedicated to TMG (The Master Genealogist) software. There was plenty to keep the participants occupied, or else they could play truant and sample the entertainment options of the cruise itself. I have to say that the provision of activities and entertainment on the ship was absolutely relentless; the morning genealogy lectures were in the Queen's Lounge, which is basically a nightclub, and we had to clear out quickly afterwards to make way for the cookery demo. Afternoon sessions were in the ship's main theatre, which has to be the fanciest venue I have even spoken in. We were on directly after the bingo game, but the players could re-group in the nearby casino if they wanted to keep on gambling.
There was a very pleasant library with comfortable seating, but it wasn't an ideal place for a quiet read, because it adjoined the Crow's Nest bar where there always seemed to be a quiz (daytime), or a man playing a guitar (evening). The verandah of my cabin was nice and peaceful, though. The library area was also the internet cafe, where you could keep in touch with the outside world, if money were no object. It was VERY expensive, so I decided to remain incommunicado. Apparently it didn't work properly anyway, and Dick Eastman gave up in exasperation after trying to send out his newsletter . It was quite amusing to see how accustomed many of us have become to being 'always connected' and feel rather bereft when we can't log on. It's nice to be back.