Physicist, Oceanographer, Aerospace Technologist, Rancher, Land Developer and Lecturer
Cruise Ship Lecturer 1999-2007
The Celebrity Galaxy in transit - Panama Canal October 1999
How in the world did we get started lecturing on cruise ships?
It was 1999, and besides a major event taking place in our life in that my wife was about to retire from teaching at Ventura College after a 31 year career and we wanted to celebrate that event, another major historical and significant event was taking place where I was born and raised and where my father had worked on the Panama Canal as a tugboat captain and a pilot. This event was due to a major political decision that had been made many years before this that on December 31, 1999 the Panama Canal was going to be turned over to the Republic of Panama, the entire Canal including all of the towns of the former Panama Canal Zone. Panama was to take over the responsibility for the operation of the Panama Canal and all Americans were to be removed and sent back to the United States, including all of military, so all the military bases were also going to be turned over to Panama.
I wanted to see The Canal Zone and go through the Panama Canal one more time while it was still under the control of the United States.
So in October we booked a trip on the Celebrity Lines' Galaxy, a beautiful 2000 passenger ship. We thought it would be the one and only trip we would ever take, so we splurged by getting a beautiful suite with Butler service. The cruise was from Los Angeles through the Panama Canal through the Caribbean to Florida, 15 days of beautiful cruising.
Somewhere while going down the West Coast of Central America, I found out that there was no lecturer coming on board to lecture on the Panama Canal. I went to the Cruise Director and asked him if I could help in any way by giving a lecture on the Canal even though I had no notes and no pictures – just a lot of information and knowledge stored in my head. I told him of my background and that I had spent much of my life on the Canal. He was delighted with the offer and accepted it.
My lecture in the main theater went well. Another lecturer had been put on board in Costa Rica, but the Cruise Director was so excited about my having volunteered that he put us both on the program. I actually ended up giving two lectures.
It all happened so quickly that our heads were swimming, but all of a sudden we were in the lecturing business on cruise ships. All of our expenses were to be paid, and we were to occupy the normal passenger staterooms. The Cruise Line was to make all the reservations and issue all the tickets for travel. What a deal!! That began more than seven years working on four major cruise lines, spending almost half of every year aboard a ship. And we could choose what cruises we wanted to take. The only people that did not enjoy our time on this job were our two grandsons who thought we were gone way too much of the time!