In 3 months the 4th cruise will be all over – history!

Numbers have now passed 240 booked – our largest cruise ever. There are only a handful of cabins left. If you are wanting to share a cabin to help with costs please contact email Natalya or Ciaran at Clean Cruising.

RootsTech on the cruise

RootsTech and Unlock the Past have agreed to share two presentations from RootsTech, the largest family history conference in North America, during the Southern Australia cruise 4-13 February 2014. RootsTech at sea! The classes shared on the cruise are sure to inspire and further your desire to connect your family – past, present and future! If you are unable to join us on the 4th genealogy cruise, consider attending RootsTech in person, 6-8 February 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  See Alona’s blog post on this.


We have not put an updated program online for some time, in part because of the RootsTech negotiations and in part because of speaker changes. Some program notes

  • Sadly Linda Elliott, whom we “discovered” on our last cruise has had to withdraw, due to a serious family illness. Linda you will be missed and I am sure I speak for all who know you in wishing you and your son the best in difficult circumstances.
  • Please also remember Chris Paton, one of our lead presenters, who is also facing a demanding and difficult time with his mothers’ serious illness.
  • We will be revising the program in the coming weeks. It should be close to final form, but I plan to run a poll based on this version mainly as a guide to room allocations, which then may need to swap around a bit.
  • Opening and closing “ceremonies” – we have secured Cleopatra’s Needle lounge for what we expect to be the biggest gatherings of our group. Those of you on our 3rd cruise may remember this, even though we did not use it.

A cruise hangout?

Have you experienced a Google Hangout – or a webinar? Cruise presenter, Jill Ball (Geniaus) has recently held her first Hangout on Air and plans more. Unlock the Past also plans a regular program of Hangouts on Air, starting we hope in early December as an information session on the 4th cruise. This would feature a few cruise presenters but will be open to any cruisers (or other interested people) as viewers of the discussion, with some opportunity to submit questions (text) to the featured participants. If we confirm this we will post further notice in a newsletter to this list and in our Unlock the Past and Gould email newsletters, along with basic instructions on joining us. If you want a preview of what a hangout is check out Jill’s first one which is recorded here on YouTube – as all Hangouts on Air are after the event.

Jill has also offered to lead a session on Hangouts on the cruise. We hope to also do a live cruise Hangout on Air during the cruise itself, possibly the evening we are in Hobart overnight.

Surname interests register

We plan to have register of research interests (at least surnames and maybe more) and will send out a form beforehand


We will have the premier bloggers from three continents on our cruise in Jill Ball, Shauna Hicks, Thomas MacEntee and Chris Paton … and more. We had not planned to have “official bloggers” as some events do, but we have decided to list those we know of on our program page. The list there now is just a starter list – we believe it could grow to 15, 20 or more. Please let me know if you have a blog, newsletter or other social media site you may use to report on the cruise – during or after. We would love to add you to the list and hopefully arrange for a blogger get together and photo on board.

Chris Paton and Thomas MacEntee Downunder – a seven city roadshow

If you can’t come on the cruise you can still hear the leading cruise speakers in a city near you. Click here for details and booking (click on your nearest city in the menu at the left).

Shore tours

We are looking to offer genealogically related shore tours in Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart. See program page – scroll to the bottom for further information.

FREE WA cruise information meeting – on a cruise ship!

click here for details and bookings

If you are in Western Australia why not join us for an Unlock the Past cruises info day in WA

  • FREE tour of the Astor, our ship for the 7th cruise (Southern WA) in January 2015
  • FREE Unlock the Past cruises information session. This will be mainly on our 4th cruise for those who are booked and the 7th cruise (Southern WA) in January 2015. We will also give you a preview of our 5th (British Isles), 6th (Eastern Australia) and 8th (Baltic) cruises.
  • Optional lunch at the end of the tour and information session at cost – $25 per person. Limited to a maximum of 30 people

This offer is to our 4th cruise contact list first (those booked or who have inquired). But we will publicise this widely in a day or two to our wider cruise and Gould contact lists. Book now to be sure of a place, especially if you want to join us for the optional lunch onboard lunch (cost $25)

This is a unique opportunity to meet others who will be on the cruise, see the very ship we will be on for the 7th cruise (cabins, meeting and dining areas etc.), learn more about any of our planned cruises (7/8 in all at present), ask questions of cruise line and Astor people – and us. If you have never been on cruise ship before, here is your chance to check one out – FREE. And for $25 you can check out the food too – if you are one of the first 30 people to book the lunch option.

Who else is on the cruise

We will add a list of names of those booked to date in our next newsletter. They will be:

  • name and state only – (e.g. Alan Phillips, SA) as will be on the cruise name tags
  • only give to our group

I assume none of you would object to being on a simple name list. If you do not wish to be let me know beforehand. For now here are some numbers by region:

  • ACT 12
  • NSW 88
  • NT 1
  • QLD 42
  • SA 18
  • TAS 1
  • VIC 29
  • WA 17
  • NZ 19
  • USA 1
  • UK 6
  • SCT 1
  • Sth Africa 2
  • not known 4

Cruise speaker interviews

Alona had added more speaker interviews. Click here to see the full list of those already added and – check again later for more still to come.

Unlock the Past Cruise T-shirts

deadline to order in time for the 4th cruise 1 December 2013

Why not make yourself known as a ‘genealogy cruiser’ by wearing an Unlock the Past Cruise t-shirt. Click here for descriptions, images and links to order.

Other cruises now or soon open for bookings

  • British Isles discovery cruise (5th UTP cruise) – 10 nights 19-29 July 2014 on Marco Polo. This cruise opened with a rush of bookings – over 50 people in the first two weeks.
  • Eastern Australia cruise (6th UTP cruise) – Oct 2014. We are reviewing two quite different itinerary options – a seven (or eleven) night cruise to the Barrier Reef and a three night convict themed cruise out of Sydney (and maybe other themes as well). We expect to decide on this and open for bookings late November or early December.
  • Southern Western Australia cruise (7th UTP cruise) 5 nights – 19-24 January 2015 from Fremantle, WA on the Astor. Now open for booking. We have yet to put more detail up on this, but I can give notice here that the featured presenter will be Dr Richard Reid, one of the foremost military and Irish historians in Australia. Other speakers committed to date are Mike Murray, Dr Lesley Silvester, Helen Smith and Eric and Rosemary Kopittke. We expect a few more to be announced in due course.

Unlock the Past cruises in the media

We have added a page listing the known mention of the 4th and other cruises in blogs, newsletters and elsewhere. Check it out – they are interesting to read and some have advice to help you prepare. And let us know if you do a post yourself or see others we have not listed.

If you have not already done so please have your say in our future cruises survey.

Keep in touch and follow cruise discussions with our occasional cruise newsletters and Facebook page.

This cruise promises to be a lot of fun as well as everything else we expect of it. We look forward to meeting you in 82 days time.

Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past team