Feedback from the very first Unlock the Past cruise has been generally positive. To hear about the experiences of various individuals, check out:

The following blogs:

First cruise video highlights (4 minutes) – from the week-long History and Genealogy Cruise of the Pacific Islands in March 2011, organised by Unlock the Past. 250 genealogists enjoyed a packed program of genealogy and sight-seeing, and the many entertainment options on P&O’s Pacific Dawn.

Some personal testimonials

I really enjoyed everything on the cruise and was glad to have flown to Brisbane from WA – Jean Duff, WA

I too would like to join in the thanks and praise for a job well done under ever changing circumstances.  Your calm approach was indeed admirable.   No doubt, the computers of we participants are burning up with use aided by all the new information and advice – Diane Foster, WA

Many thanks for organising a great conference and cruise on the Pacific Dawn which was very enjoyable. All of the morning sessions that I attended were very well presented and very beneficial. Also I found that the afternoon sessions in the Dome were excellent. And the great bonus was that I was able to spend over an hour with Jeremy Palmer discussing how to solve a mystery regarding the origin of my wife’s paternal grandfather … If possible, it would be good to have a few “master-class” type of sessions … overall the conference was a great success and congratulations to yourself and all those who helped to make it possible. – Bob Godefroy, Qld

Well done! Jo and I, as first-time cruisers, had a great time. The event itself (ie gen/history) made the cruise for us. … I admit to having reservations at the start as to how 240 people would be able to handle sessions which were limited to 60 at a time, but by the end of the week I hadn’t heard anyone at all complain about missing a session they wanted to attend, so it all worked out well [plus some suggestions for next time] – John Graham, Qld

As I expressed on the cruise, I thought that the initiative was excellent and the work of your team exemplary. It was an ideal way to hold a conference that non-genie spouses could enjoy as well … I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to mix with so many like minded people and I made a number of new friends and contacts. As a consequence of the cruise I have joined the TMG Users Group in Brisbane. [plus some constructive feedback] – Diana Johnson, Qld

Yes it has been a shock coming back home and having to fend for ourselves after being looked after so well on the ship. Jacqui and I certainly enjoyed our time on the cruise and I hope that my contributions to the events were helpful to the attendees. I wanted to thank you and the rest of your team for the wonderful job you all did organising  the event – I know if can be difficult to organise a programme like that when you have a fixed venue and no outside circumstances to worry about, and so to manage it all so well in and around the confines of a ship’s cruise was tremendous. Everyone I spoke to was certainly pleased with the variety and scope of the programme. I’ve put together a small news piece about the cruise for Family Tree Magazine (only 250 words) and I think this will feature in the May 2011 issue. – Jeremy Palmer, NSW (speaker)

We just wanted to thank you for all that you did to make the inaugural Unlock the Past Cruise Conference such a memorable, informative and successful event … Please, please, convey our sincere thanks and best wishes to your dear wife, young Amie and the other staff from your Organisation.  To Rosemary and Eric, congratulations on keeping things ‘on time’ and ‘ticking over smoothly’.  To the session presenters, Shauna, Ron, Mike, Carol and all the others whose names escape me at the moment, plus the individuals who coped so well with noise at the lunch and dinner table sessions, well done. To the two young ladies from Clean Cruising, Jacqui and Lynette, they performed above and beyond to ensure that the guests were well catered for in all aspects.  Their organisational skills are a credit to Clean Cruising and hopefully will be rewarded in some way. It is ‘just’ possible that we may join the Auckland to Sydney Cruise in November, but the bench-mark for cabin and onboard service has been set very high by P & O Pacific Dawn. Again Alan, thank you and the team, plus all those who contributed to make our time at the Conference so thoroughly enjoying – Ron and Janette Redfern, Qld

I had an absolute ball and gained sooooo much information, tips and tricks.  I am very excited to be able to come home and hopefully knock down some of those Stop signs! …  was definitely one of those who wanted to do everything – they were all very interesting topics, and advantageous to anyone who would listen … The lectures were interesting, informative and inspiring. The presenters were fantastic and I am so grateful for their time – not only the presentation itself but the preparation that must have gone into it, and also their willingness to share at the lectures or if you passed them in the hallways. The lunch/dinner tables were terrific and I felt a table of 8 was the perfect size, I could easily hear what was being said from anyone at the table and we were within arms reach to pass materials for browsing (books, maps etc) … Overall though, I really did have the best time, and I would have loved to have gone on the one in November as my research is mainly UK and Ireland, but it is far too close to this one financially and also for those of us that require annual leave from work.  If it had been next year, I would have been there with bells on!  Everyone did the most amazing job and it is very much appreciated. – Kerin Stinear, Qld

Thank you (and your team) for all the hard before and during the cruise.  There were many ‘genealogy beginners’ at the conference, and from the comments I heard, they really got a lot out of it. – Judy Webster, Qld


Some comments on various blogs (click on the blog links above for the actual blogs)

[Comment on Aimee’s Blog] It was great  – Gloria Small and I both really enjoyed the cruise as well as the presentations but we both came home quite tired too – it was well and truly worth it though. I like your comments on why you should go on a UTP cruise. I’ve read Judy Webster, Jenny Joyce & Shauna’s blogs as and they’re all great to give each person’s view. Alan and the Unlock the Past team did a wonderful job – thank you all. I was at the meeting in Coffs Harbour on 28 March with Alan and we’re so lucky that the NSW Expo will be held here in June. Marlene Gordon, NSW

[Comment on Aimee’s Blog] I am still enjoying the feeling of being at sea, and coping with new family history ideas constantly! … I have wsritten my articles for my family history societies’ newsletters, and my plan for going forward with my research –Lesley Abrahams, NSW

[Comment on Aimee’s Blog] Like everyone else I too enjoyed both the cruise and the conference and came home full of knowledge and very tired.   Joyce de Laney

[Comment on Shauna’s Blog] Great summing up of the week, Shauna! I would be hard pressed to think of anything negative about the cruise & the conference, but I did come with an open mind & was ready to enjoy anything. I will be going on a ‘normal’ cruise in future so I can experience a full itinerary of touristy things, but the chance to do this genealogy cruise was fantastic. – Maureen Arthur

[Comment on Shauna’s Blog] I totally enjoyed the cruise as well and the same as you would love to repeat it all again. It was great to be among like minded people. My fear was that maybe some of the talks/presenters would go way over my head but I was extremely happy that everyone presented in an easy to understand format. – Nanette

[Comment on Shauna’s Blog]… I thought it was a great cruise and thoroughly enjoyed myself the whole time, ashore and aboard. I couldn’t resist visiting Aimee’s site after reading yours! It was great to catch up with you again … Bring on the next Cruise… – Merle Grinly

[Comment on Shauna’s Blog] Thank you Shauna for a great read with your blog it encapsulated the cruise brilliantly – My friend Deb and I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, although we were a bit brain dead at the end … all in all had a wonderful time, and didn’t gain any weight either. – Hazel Labka

[Comment on Shauna’s Blog] Thanks Shauna for all your contributions, the presentations and the blog. My non-genie husband even attended your first talk on the different sailing conditions, then and now and he enjoyed it. Working from a home office where I rarely get to talk to people face to face I had a wonderfully social week and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Even tho some of the venues and arrangements available to the conference were not always ideal, I thought Alan and his team did an amazing job to surmount so many obstacles. The first week back at work was something of a rude shock … – Diana Johnson