Note: since this blog was written the 2nd mid-2015 cruise has been dropped – and subsequent cruises renumbered

There has been considerable development in cruise planning since our last update blog in November 2013. We have:

  • 3 cruises currently open for booking – British Isles, Eastern Australia and Western Australia
  • 4 more cruises expected to open for booking later this month or next
  • a European river cruise now open for registrations of interest
  • other cruises we are considering for 2016-17

A quick overview of these can be seen under the cruises tab on this website, but here is a more detailed run down.


5th cruise - British Isles discovery cruise, 10 nights 19-29 July 2014 – book now
This cruise is well advanced with bookings, but there are still places available. We have recently added Eileen and Sean Ó Dúill to our team of presenters for a strong Irish focus on our program. We have had preliminary discussions about history/genealogy related shore activities or ideas at a number of places we visit, including Invergordon, Stornoway, Tobermory, Dublin and Guernsey. Several have also asked about doing something in London. Nothing turned up on these yet, but those booked for the cruise will be advised nearer the time.


6th cruise - Eastern Australia, 3 nights 23-26 October out of Sydney – book now
a short cruise with great two day conference program–25 topics in up to 2 streams. 7 different mini themes and 7 different presenters:

  • Queensland genealogy—Shauna Hicks
  • New South Wales genealogy—Carole Riley
  • Victorian genealogy—Susie Zada
  • Digital resources online—Rosemary Kopittke
  • Convicts and Norfolk Island—Cathy Dunn
  • Family Tree Maker—John Donaldson
  • Technology and social media—Jill Ball … plus general topics from each presenter

Unlock the Past Norfolk Island conference  - 29–31 October 2014 – book now

A genealogy/history conference on Norfolk Island in October 2014 with  Shauna Hicks, Australia’s most sought-after genealogy/history presenter and Cathy Dunn, leading 1st Settlement Norfolk Island historian and overall early colonial convict specialist. This conference is planned as a tie in with the 6th Unlock the Past cruise, but may be done on its own independently of the cruise. Conference features:

  • a three day conference—with 12 to 15 sessions
  • Research Help Zone sessions for expert one-on-one or small group advice
  • most people stay 5 to 7 days on the island, giving plenty of time to do Norfolk Island tourist things – and interact informally with other like-minded people
  • special offers on Unlock the Past guidebooks in conference bookshop and over $1000 worth of prizes

Do both the cruise and the Norfolk Island conference and get $100 off the conference 


7th cruise - Western Australia, 5 nights 19-24 January 2015 – book now
This cruise coincides with Albany’s Anzac Centenary: Albany was the gathering point for the convoys carrying the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and New Zealand Expeditionary Force (later to be known collectively as the ANZACs), that departed from Albany in November and December 1914. A well-balanced cruise with 2 days in ports (Esperance and Albany) and 2 days at sea for a great conference with Dr Richard Reid, leading military and Irish historian, Mike Murray, Dr Lesley Silvester, Helen Smith, Eric and Rosemary Kopittke and Jill Ball.


8th cruise - Baltic cruise – from England or Europe, visiting northern Europe, and Scandinavia
14 nights 11-25 July 2015 – a group allocation and conference space has been applied for and if confirmed this will be one the two major cruises planned for mid-2015 from Britain/Europe. We hope to open bookings for this later in April.


The previously numbered night cruise has been dropped from the schedule 
This has been planned as a second cruise to the Baltic, but we are still waiting on further cruise schedules to choose from (expected mid to late April). It has been suggested that this 2nd cruise in the region might be offered with a quite different itinerary – either to Norway/Iceland or the Western Mediterranean – to offer a quite different choice.


9th cruise - Transatlantic relocation cruise UK/Europe to the US - 12-14 nights late 2015
A major conference cruise, with wide ranging program, including migration themes and a team of leading international presenters. This will most likely be late October or early November 2015. We hope to open bookings for the transatlantic cruise later in May 2014.


10th cruise - Australian-New Zealand cruise. We are considering two different options here – based on a recent quick survey of preferences, and other considerations.

  • 12-14 day one way or 2 way cruise between Auckland and Sydney, taking in various Australian and New Zealand ports
  • 16-18 day one way cruise from Auckland (or Sydney) taking in various New Zealand and Australian ports and ending in Fremantle

We have provisionally requested group space on an 18 day cruise (14 February – 3 March 2016) from Auckland to Fremantle, visiting Bay of Islands – Tauranga – Wellington – Akaroa – Dunedin – Dusky, Doubtful & Milford Sounds – Sydney – Melbourne – Adelaide – Esperance along the way. This is a bit longer and a bit more expensive than some others done to date. But we are giving you good notice to help planning and it has several advantages over the others.

  • best range of port days in both Australia and New Zealand
  • more sea days than any we have done to date, allowing for the most significant conference we have done so far, but with a more measured schedule because of the extra days
  • with more conference time than usual we can offer more of the best range of international speakers
  • with more stops at major cities there is the possibility of more shore seminars than we have done before
  • this cruise, if it is finally confirmed and chosen, will be on Celebrity Solstice, one of the finest of the big cruise ships to operate from Australia

11th cruise - European river cruise - 7 nights  along the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel in June/July 2016. If we get 100 to 120 people we will charter an entire river ship. Register your interest now, to give you priority option on this cruise should demand exceed capacity.

Early 2017 cruise - an Australian top end cruise – one way from Fremantle, via Bali, Darwin and various Queensland and New South Wales ports to Sydney.  This cruise is polling well in our 2014 cruise survey. No commitment has yet been made to it but it is a good possibility.


Beyond those listed above – some other major itineraries that will be considered for 2016 and 2017. All these are polling well in our current survey.

  • England to Australia (36-40 nights) late 2016 or 2017? – follow your ancestors’ voyage!
  • Alaska cruise
  • Barrier Reef cruise
  • River Murray cruise
  • other shorter regional cruises

Tell us what you would like – with our  2014 future cruises survey. There are just 25 days left to do this survey, if you have not already done so, to be in the draw to win a FREE Cruise – or one of several other cruise discount vouchers.