Want to have a great vacation and also learn a bit about genealogy? If so, I heartily recommend taking a genealogy cruise! I speak from experience: I just returned from a seven-day cruise along the Mexican Riviera as part of the 2008 RootsMagic cruise.
This year's RootsMagic cruise included stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. These are very popular Mexican tourist stops, and for good reason: they are neat, and clean and have great food and entertainment. Many of the genealogists went on various expeditions, including jungle tours, ecology tours, rides on catamarans, skin diving, and more. I mostly enjoyed the authentic Mexican food in all three cities.
The three full days at sea were filled by classes and presentations by some of today's leading genealogy speakers, including: Elizabeth Shown Mills, George G. Morgan, Diana Crisman Smith, Gary M. Smith, Bruce Buzbee, and yours truly. The topics included traditional genealogy subjects, covering research methodology, source citations methods, researching Scandinavians, and more. Other topics including digital restoration of old, damaged photographs and the use of Google Books by genealogists.
This year's RootsMagic cruise was on the 2,435-guest Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas with a very soothing day spa, two pools, six whirlpools, a rock climbing wall, and the Masquerade Theatre, scene of several shows. The ship was well equipped to entertain travelers of all ages, from pre-schoolers to senior citizens.
Prices for this cruise varied from $748.84 (inside cabin) to $1268.84 (cabin with a balcony) per person plus airfare to and from Los Angeles, the port of departure and return. I think those prices compare favorably with traditional genealogy conferences, especially when you realize that all food and accommodations are included.
And what food! I know I gained more weight. I even skipped the midnight buffets, but that wasn't enough.
I rather enjoyed the ship's entertainment, which included a show by Bowzer and the Stingrays. Bowzer was one of the founders of Sha Na Na, a very popular rock group in the seventies. I wrote about him in a separate article, but you might be interested in this picture of Bowzer, myself, and newsletter editor Pam Cerutti. You can click on the small thumbnail image to view a larger image.
The entertainers on another evening were illusionist Kyle Night and his assistant, Mistie. I have seen illusionists before, but this duo is top notch. I'm still wondering how they performed those illusions. Mistie also is well known as a former Miss Nevada (2007).
A number of genealogists gathered in the ship's piano bar many evenings, listening to a great pianist and joining in the sing-alongs.
All in all, I'd pronounce the 2008 RootsMagic cruise a success. Judging from the comments I heard, I think all the other attendees will agree. My hat is off to Bruce and Laurie Buzbee, Gary and Diana Smith, Barbara Williams (the lady who packaged the tour) and the others involved in putting on a top-notch genealogy cruise.