Future cruises update at August 2014

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Since our last general cruise update in April 2014 we have: opened bookings on 5 more cruises. In all we now have 9 cruises/tours booking through to mid 2016 published a two-year cruises catalogue 2014-16, available as a PDF download or printed catalogue firmed up major speakers all our cruises over the next 2 years completed our 5th cruise – a 10 night cruise around the British Isles introducing a new win a free cruise opportunity Click here for a compact two-page PDF version if you prefer it to this lengthy post Win a free cruise Book any Unlock the Past cruise and be in the draw to win a future Unlock the Past cruise up to AU$2500 value – or one of 12 additional prizes – AU$6000 in prizes in all. The prizes will be drawn in early January 2015 from all who make a booking between 12 May and 31 December 2014 – for any future Unlock the Past cruise open for booking. Click here for details. Download our all new Genealogy cruises catalogue.  We have recently published our first ever genealogy cruises catalogue – 16 pages of information on all our coming cruises … and more. It is available as a download or as printed catalogue. Here you will find in a handy reference format with: details of all 8 cruises now booking from October 2014 to July/August 2016 information on our planned European river cruise in July/August 2016 information on our Norfolk Island conference and tour – just over 10 weeks away comparisons with land holidays comparisons with land conferences what some of our international speakers – and some of our cruisers have to say about UTP cruises For more information and to download your copy click here. If you would like a printed catalogue and/or if you could use a quantity to distribute to your family history group or elsewhere please contact us at inquiries@unlockthepast.com.au Here is an overview of the latest situation with each cruise tour, including booking status for each. 5th cruise completed – rated best ever Our British Isles discovery cruise is now behind us. From anecdotal feedback and early responses from our post-cruise survey this is rated as our best cruise ever. Our group was smaller than usual, but we had an outstanding speaker line up, probably the most interesting itinerary we will ever have, amazing weather throughout and the most supportive cruise ship staff of any cruise. See the excellent reports of this cruise by Helen Smith and Alona Tester (scroll down on both to see earlier reports). 6th cruise – Eastern Australia, 3 nights 23-26 October out of Sydney – book now while there are still cabins available – 10 weeks to go A short cruise with great two day...

Read More

Unlock the Past Cruises Catalogue

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

A catalogue of coming cruises. A handy reference for all coming cruises from late 2015 to August 2016 See how the cruise holidays compare with land holidays See how our conference see compare with traditional land conferences Testimonials from our international presenters and those who cruise with us Updated 15 October 2015 with new revised version of catalogue Download and browse and browse our 16 page guide to cruising with Unlock the Past cruises. It is also available as a printed catalogue on request. Click here or on the catalogue graphic above to download the catalogue. If you write click the link or graphic you can save the PDF file to a location you choose on your...

Read More

Research Help Zone

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

by Helen Smith One of the great pluses of the Unlock the Past cruises is the scheduled Research Help Zones (RHZ). These are wonderful opportunities to get help in your research from experts in their field. There are formal scheduled sessions where an expert will be available to answer questions. This may be one on one sessions or perhaps in a small group.             I have had the pleasure of helping people with their brick wall problems for a number of Cruises and Expos now and it is great fun and there have been a number of happy dances performed! One thing I have noticed though, is that a number of people are not getting the maximum benefit from their consultations. This is perhaps because they did not realise the Research Help Zone existed and did not come prepared. They came and mentioned they have a problem but couldn’t remember a date or who married whom, which is easy to do, particularly when you have a few generations with the same or similar names. This makes it very difficult to provide the appropriate answers that would work to explode that brick wall.             So how do you prepare for maximum success? To get the most out of the RHZ you need to be prepared well ahead of time. In fact now is the time to start! First work out what the problem is: perhaps a marriage you can’t find, an ancestor that has disappeared, you can’t pinpoint where they originated etc  It is important to write down the problem. Then determine what information you already have and where you found it and write that down. Determine what documentary evidence you have, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate etc but please, only bring legible photocopies of your original records. Do not bring your originals, leave them safely at home. Bringing a USB with scans may also help. Determine where you have already looked, what you found including negative findings as this helps give the background and saves duplication of effort. Remember to bring a printed family group sheet and pedigree chart for the people in question. You know the ins and outs of your ancestor, but it may not be as clear to others. Writing down this information and putting it together so that all the information is available when you ask your question of the person at the Research Help Zone means you will get the maximum benefit and hopefully then we will be doing Genealogy Happy Dances with you! Apart from the formal sessions there are also opportunities for informal sessions where there may be a group of...

Read More

Celebrity specials on
3 Unlock the Past cruises

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Airlines run special promotions from time to time – and so do cruise lines. Celebrity Cruises have just announced some great bonus offers for those booking on eligible cruises from 1 June to 31 July 2014. Book before the offer closes on 31 July 2014 Three of our cruises are eligible for these bonus offers: 6th Unlock the Past cruise – Eastern Australian cruise on Celebrity Solstice. 3 nights 23-26 October out of Sydney. Choose any 1 of the 3 great offers below. 8th Unlock the Past cruise – Baltic cruise – from England or Europe, visiting northern Europe, and Scandinavia on Celebrity Eclipse. 14 nights 11-25 July 2015 Choose any 2 of the 3 great offers below. 11th Unlock the Past cruise – Australian-New Zealand cruise, one way from Auckland to Fremantle (Perth) taking in various New Zealand and Australian ports on Celebrity Solstice. 18 nights from 14 February 2016 (this is still a provisional cruise – but we are fairly confident it will be confirmed soon) Choose any 1 of the 3 great offers below (this is subject to this cruise being confirmed for our group) Simply book an Oceanview stateroom or above on any of the above cruises and choose the offer that’s best for you. Free Classic beverage package for two Free gratuities for two Up to US$300 onboard credit This offer applies on outside cabins and above only (not inside cabins). It does not apply to bookings made before 1 June (those who booked in May had the advantage of a different offer from Celebrity and/or $50 early booking discount). Click here to see full details and terms and conditions of the offer. Go to the Pricing and booking page of whichever of the above cruises you are interested in and contact Ciaran of Clean Cruising to discuss which benefit package/s is best for...

Read More

Southern Australia cruise – February 2014

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Summarising some of the 4th cruise survey feedback On 4 February 2014 245 people set sail on the Voyager of the Seas as part of the Unlock the Past conference group. What lay ahead were eight days of exciting conference and ship activities as we sailed from Sydney to Melbourne, Adelaide, and Hobart before making our way back to Sydney again. With presenters such as Chris Paton (Scotland), Thomas MacEntee (USA), Jane Taubman (England), Kirsty Gray (England), Shauna Hicks (Australia), Jan Gow (New Zealand), Noeline Kyle (Australia), Neil Smith (Australia) and a host of other supporting speakers how could it fail to be a success? We even got a tour of the southern skies with Melissa Hulbert who is an astronomer at the Sydney Observatory. A survey following the cruise (95 respondents) indicated that most people found it a very worthwhile experience and learned much to take them forward in their research. The following extracts are key points from the survey.  Question – How do you rate the ….? Response (%) Excellent/Very good Good  General cruise experience? 79.2 13.4  Voyager staff? 86.6 9.8  Meals? 74.1 21.0  Voyager as a conference venue? 66.3 26.5  Conference organisation on the ship? 56.7 30.1  Speakers and presentations? 86.7 13.3  Networking experience on the cruise? 49.4 25.3  Value for money? 79.5 15.7 Over 6o percent of those responding indicated that their research experience and knowledge had been improved “considerably” or “quite a bit”. No matter how experienced one is in researching there is always something more to learn and or to share with others – Audrey Dillon. Another indicator of the success of the conference is the number of presentations people attended. Of course, there were many competing shipboard activities and sometimes topics were not relevant to cruisers. With over 100 topics on offer in 50 slots there was a range of attendance at presentations – 21% attended 40-49, 24% attended 30-39, 29% attended 20-29, 19% attended 10-19 and 7% attended 9 or less. There were some issues raised around the Research Help Zone and cruiser “interest lists” and these concerns will be addressed on future cruises.   Testimonials It was tremendous to be able to listen and take notes from the presentations available. I was impressed with the speakers’ massive amount of knowledge obtained through their research which they took time … to pass on to us. They are certainly a dedicated group of teachers. I found the speakers very interesting to listen to and I was impressed greatly with the huge amount of knowledge they have gained in their research. It was great to be able to learn from their research. Speakers were easy to engage and interested if a person asked...

Read More

Future cruises update at April 2014

Posted by on Apr 5, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

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...

Read More