Psst … wanna cruise for free (almost?)

lectureI mentioned a few weeks back that I was travelling as an ‘Enrichhment Speaker’ on board a cruise ship – and promised to let you know how it went…

Well, this week, I’ll make good on that promise – and let you know how you can get in on it, too …

First up – the headline: yes, it was well worth doing, and I’ve thrown my hat in the ring for another cruise quite soon.

But it IS work – so while you get to cruise and go to all the cool port destinations, you don’t get the same chance to relax on sea-days because you will be preparing your presentations; giving presentations; or conducting post-mortems on your presentations to make them even better next time.

So how does it work?

20150928_064559If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ll know that on sea days, passengers want to be entertained. And informed. Hopefully both at the same time.

Depending on the ship that can take the form of craft classes, line-dancing lessons, even watercolour courses – but common to almost all ships are the ‘Destination Speakers’ and the ‘Enrichment Speakers’.

What’s the difference between the two?

Destination speakers are those men and women who tell you about the ports you are about to visit, about what to watch out for and what to avoid. Sometimes, but not always, they will also spruik the ship’s excursions (although some lines have actual cruise-line staff to do that).

Enrichment speakers, on the other hand, are those presenters who deliver ‘educational’ sessions on sea-days – on topics such as history, astronomy, antiques, geography, culture, military history, forensics and more.

20150929_075254On my most recent cruise, I spoke for example about the history of the South Pacific, famous (and not so famous) travellers, the cruise ship industry, and a media workshop.

That was four 45-60 minute presentations, on sea days – and for (almost all) the rest of the time, I was just a passenger – with all the same benefits that other passengers had.P1010131

Why? Because Guest Lecturers, as they are called, are not actual crew-members; instead they are ‘independent contractors’ who are contracted to deliver their lectures.

And how much do they get paid? Well, nothing – although they do get a cruise for them (and a partner) for free!

So my wife & I got a cabin, all our meals in the main dining room or buffet, use of all the facilities, the same shore visits as all other passengers, etc.

In the case of our recent cruise, we were on a Princess vessel – so the cabin we got was a ‘fleet cabin’ normally used by junior officers. It was quite small, only got cleaned and made up once a day, and had no toiletries / hairdryer / etc – and no folded towel animals, either!20150927_120537

But for $65 a day (the fee I paid to an agency to ‘place’ Shirley and me) we were not complaining!

Again, I have to stress these are a working holiday and hence I couldn’t complain when I had to attend a crew emergency drill for three hours one morning – but if you reckon this is the sort of thing you would like to give a go, contact me on the link below, and I’ll give you the details of the agency that places most Australia-based speakers on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Crystal cruises.

13 thoughts on “Psst … wanna cruise for free (almost?)

  1. Hello Graham, Not sure which ‘link’ I should be using to contact you – but I have often wondered about this when we’ve been cruising. I have a history of training and lecturing at both University and a private training establishment and have considered this as an enjoyable activity during my semi-retirement. I would be interested in finding out more. Thank you, Michael


  2. Hi Graham
    I would certainly be keen to know how this works ad what particular subjects are best. I have been a trainer int he past and have no issue with public speaking and presenting.

    Many thanks for taking the time for providing this information.



  3. I spoke to the boss of my agency today, and she says she’s had a number of responses from people who’ve read this blog. Good that! 🙂

    Seriously, while this IS work, it is also a working holiday – so I can genuinely recommen this if you like cruising!


    • Hello Graham,

      Just a very quick update now that we are back from our Celebrity Solstice cruise….

      I contacted Laureli after you provided the email address and she was very helpful. She provided some advice and information along with the relevant documentation. After completing the documentation (and nominating you as the person that gave me the initial email address) I submitted the form along with our preferred cruise. Just prior to our departure on the Solstice, I received confirmation of booking for next March on the Voyager of the Seas. This is perfect because we are cruising on Voyager immediately prior to the Enrichment Speaker booking – back to back cruises. Works well!!

      Thank you for the information that got me started.

      All the best for the Christmas and New Year period.

      With best regards, Michael >


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