The 'Enrichment' Factor


Windstar Cruises have onboard wine tastings and lectures


“Enrichment” is a huge draw for many cruisers eager to learn, experience and immerse themselves in a hobby, favorite activity or new skill. Looking ahead to 2010, agents have a range of savory choices for enrichment-hungry clients—from politics to culinary arts, from dancing to language arts.

Here’s my New Year’s wish list of enticing enrichment cruises I’d like to take in 2010!

Bedouin Camp and Washington Insiders

If Middle East culture, history and politics is a client’s passion, consider Crystal Cruises’ annual President’s Cruise, an “Arabian Treasures” voyage departing May 12. It’s hosted by Gregg Michel, the line’s president. The exotic itinerary features Dubai, UAE; Muscat, Oman; Aqaba, Jordan; Luxor/Safaga and a Suez Canal transit to Alexandria/Cairo, Egypt; and Athens, Greece.

An optional pre-cruise program in Dubai comprises a two-night hotel stay plus a lavish welcome dinner at a Bedouin camp in the desert dunes. Expect traditional Arab music, henna artists and belly dancers. Getting a sense of the Middle East landscape and culture is a great precursor to the voyage, with appearances by Peter Bergen, CNN terror analyst and author; General Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and John Hanny, former White House chef.

Michel will also host a President’s Shore Excursion to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. For 2010, Crystal’s new two-for-one, 14-day cruise fares start at $7,200 per person double, including $1,000 per person “As You Wish” shipboard credits and complimentary air transportation from North America. The Dubai pre-cruise stay is $599 per person.

Orcas and Small-Ship Enrichment

If an intimate, small-ship experience with enrichment closer to home is more valued by your clients, Cruise West operates a Pacific Northwest Coastal Escape through the shimmering waterways of the San Juan and Gulf Islands, as well as to Victoria and Vancouver, B.C. Seven-night cruises are planned on April 25, May 2, and September 11, 18 and 25 aboard the 102-guest Spirit of Endeavor.



Princess Cruises’ 12-night Alaska family cruisetour includes a two-night stay at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge


Enrichment-wise, guests will be treated to lectures and presentations from experts knowledgeable about marine wildlife, native culture and history. Zodiac excursions allow guests to explore coves and waterways without the crowds, and get close to landscapes and wildlife, including the orcas of the San Juan Islands.

Cruising roundtrip from Seattle, the ship will call at Nanaimo, which began as an 1800s trading post; Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park, B.C., accessible only by a small ship; Victoria, the capital of Vancouver Island; and the historical Port Townsend. Guests will also experience Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, as well as art galleries and a lively public market at Granville Island in Vancouver.

Cruise fares begin at $2,999 per person. Clients who book and pay in full for a September departure by January 15, 2010, will save up to $300 per person.

Chef’s Classes and Cooking Demos

Holland America Line organizes cooking classes in epicurean style in a permanent Culinary Arts Center onboard every ship in cooperation with Food & Wine magazine. Guests enjoy culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking lessons on every cruise; celebrity guests sail on certain departures.

Delivering an exotic cooking flair, Chef Marisol Koczal Simon from Caracas, Venezuela, will sail onboard Prisendam from April 9-26, 2010, during a portion of the 54-day Grand Mediterranean and Black Sea voyage. Best-selling author of The Lady, The Chef and The Courtesan, Simon holds an honorary Chef d’Cuisine degree from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI.

She’ll perform cooking demonstrations and conduct hands-on classes—teaching guests the lore of exotic ingredients, introducing them to new foods and honing their cooking skills. Port calls include St.
, France; Livorno and Civitavecchia, Italy; Sochi, Russia; Bat’umi, Republic of Georgia; Istanbul, Kusadasi, Trabzon and Sinop, Turkey; Vólos and Piraeus, Greece. Cruise fares begin at $3,799 per person double.

Learn a New Language

Parlez-vous francais? If your client’s New Year’s resolution is to learn a foreign language, they could begin with any of 13 languages onboard Celebrity Cruises, courtesy of a new partnership with Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone courses will be offered on every Celebrity Cruises sailing (except for sailings on Celebrity Xpedition). Guests can participate in group or online classes. They may even select a language appropriate for the region to which their ship is sailing, thereby putting their onboard learning to practice when they go ashore.

Family Cruisetour Immersion

Combining family-focused enrichment, exploration and many extra inclusions is the goal of Princess Cruises’ new 12-night Alaska family cruisetour, comprising a seven-night Voyage of the Glaciers cruise and a five-night land tour. Guests spend one night at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, two nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and two nights at Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge.

Families will travel on a jetboat, pan for gold, take an interactive tour of Denali National Park, and discover what it’s like to live in Alaska’s sub-zero winter temperatures in an Arctic Blast adventure. Kids may also participate in a Junior Ranger program at Glacier Bay National Park. This cruisetour is offered at a 25 percent discount with fares from $1,743 per person double for the first and second berths, $1,191 per person for the third and fourth berths.

Vino, Vino, Vino

As part of its Signature Collection Host Series, Windstar Cruises welcomes Jay Schuppert, president, Cuvaison Estate Wines, onboard a seven-day sailing of the Wind Surf from Lisbon, Portugal, on April 4. Formerly with Kendall Jackson, Schuppert also served previously as executive chef for the Crystal Palace Restaurant, Aspen, CO.

He’ll host a wine lecture as well as wine tastings—giving clients a chance to mix and mingle with a renowned vintner and culinary expert. Wind Surf’s itinerary includes Tangier, Morocco, as well as Spain’s Málaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia. Fares start at $2,399 per person double.

While these are my favorite enrichment options for the coming year, share yours on AgentNation at We’ll feature the best in a future web story.



For those passionate about Middle Eastern history, culture and politics, Crystal Cruises serves up an “Arabian Treasures” voyage