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Guest Speakers

Our celebrated speakers have been carefully selected for their knowledge of the art, history, archaeology, architecture, wine and cuisine of the areas we visit. Their informative and enlightening talks will entertain you and bring to life the history of the remarkable civilisations and cultures of the Mediterranean and the Far East.

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    • Dr Sarah Baccianti

      Dr Sarah Baccianti

      Queen’s University Belfast

      Cruises:

      Iceland, Faroes & Shetlands - 2019-07-30
      Dr. Sarah Baccianti graduated with a master in English Philology, English and American Literature, and Sociology of Communication and Mass Media, from the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland. In 2010, she completed her PhD in Old English and Old Norse literature at the University of Oxford.

      Dr. Sarah Baccianti graduated with a master in English Philology, English and American Literature, and Sociology of Communication and Mass Media, from the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland. In 2010, she completed her PhD in Old English and Old Norse literature at the University of Oxford.

      Dr Baccianti’s doctoral research focused on the narrative structure of  historical writings in Old English, Old Norse and Anglo-Latin. She was a visiting researcher at the University of  California, Los Angeles, and taught Old English, Middle English and Old Norse at the universities of Oxford, Lausanne and Cork, before recently being awarded the prestigious Royal Society Newton International Fellowship at Queen’s University Belfast. Sarah’s current research, "Scientific Knowledge in Medieval Scandinavia"  is a study of  the transmission and reception of scientific and medical knowledge in the medieval North, from the 12th to the 14th-centuries, with a particular focus given on texts produced in Iceland and Norway.

      In addition to her primary research, Sarah has started a community-engagement project in Cork, which aims to communicate to students and teachers in County Cork (while extending communication to the general public, media and heritage professionals) a greater knowledge of Viking Age culture in Ireland and more specifically Cork.

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    • Andy Bunten BSc, MSc, DIC

      Andy Bunten BSc, MSc, DIC

      Ecologist

      Cruises:

      Iceland, Faroes & Shetlands - 2019-07-30
      Andy has been an obsessive enthusiast about wildlife ever since he can remember. Educated at Cambridge, Newcastle and Imperial College, he then embarked on a career in nature conservation.  He has worked for local government, wildlife trusts, and, for 26 years, the RSPB. 

      Andy has been an obsessive enthusiast about wildlife ever since he can remember. Educated at Cambridge, Newcastle and Imperial College, he then embarked on a career in nature conservation.  He has worked for local government, wildlife trusts, and, for 26 years, the RSPB.

      He initially worked in RSPB Scotland then headed south to be the Regional Director for the South East of England for 5 years before, in 1991, moving to the North of England to take up the reins of Director there. A highly experienced lecturer, Andy has cruised extensively completing over 20 trips ranging from Costa Rica to the Philippines and from Argentina to Svalbard

      Now an Environmental Consultant, Andy is an enthusiastic traveller and has led wildlife groups to numerous places around the world including the Seychelles, France, Egypt, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Borneo, Norway and Spitzbergen.
       

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    • John Coventry

      John Coventry

      Travel and Special Interests lecturer

      Cruises:

      European Connoisseur - 2019-06-06
      John studied Modern Languages at Exeter and Salford Universities, majoring in French, German, and Spanish. A lifelong thirst for travel was partially assuaged by a stint in America, at the University of Texas, in Austin, followed by a year in the pipeline construction industry, working as a translator/interpreter, in Algeria.

      John studied Modern Languages at Exeter and Salford Universities, majoring in French, German, and Spanish. A lifelong thirst for travel was partially assuaged by a stint in America, at the University of Texas, in Austin, followed by a year in the pipeline construction industry, working as a translator/interpreter, in Algeria.

      John then embarked upon a working lifetime spent in some of the strangest corners of the travel industry.

      At a time when the world was just starting to open up to leisure travel, he was in the vanguard of this revolution as a worldwide tour coordinator, accompanying groups of travellers on trips to a variety of exotic destinations and with a variety of diverse purposes.

      From wildlife photo safaris to transatlantic flights aboard Concorde, from the slopes of Macchu Picchu to the outback of Australia, from the gates of Graceland to the Iron Gates of the Danube, John’s life was a kaleidoscope of people, places, and experiences, some exciting, some disquieting, but all memorable.

      Smuggling a body across the Iron Curtain, being caught up in a revolution in South America, pinned down by sniper fire in San Francisco...these were just some of John’s experiences as he plied his trade around the globe. He went on to become general manager of one of the UK’s most prestigious independent tour operators.

      John’s first experience of ocean cruising was in 1982, around the islands of Indonesia. Since that long-ago cruise baptism, he has sailed the seven seas, as cruise manager, charterer, port lecturer, destinations presenter, and special interests speaker.

      A long time Mensa member and four time Brain of Mensa finalist, John’s range of knowledge and interests is as intriguing as it is eclectic.

      As a cruise lecturer, John brings to bear all his experience and expertise in a series of scintillating presentations on a- as you might expect - diverse range of fascinating subject matters.

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    • Clare Coventry

      Clare Coventry

      Craft Tutor

      Cruises:

      European Connoisseur - 2019-06-06
      Clare was born and brought up in the small and historic town of Youghal, in Co. Cork, in Southern Ireland. She was educated at the Presentation of the Sacred Heart Convent, in Youghal. a traditional Catholic school for young ladies. Whilst receiving the full curriculum of subjects, including Gaelic, Clare’s heartfelt interests lay in other directions.

      Clare was born and brought up in the small and historic town of Youghal, in Co. Cork, in Southern Ireland. She was educated at the Presentation of the Sacred Heart Convent, in Youghal. a traditional Catholic school for young ladies. Whilst receiving the full curriculum of subjects, including Gaelic, Clare’s heartfelt interests lay in other directions.

      Her mother was a classically-trained pianist, and her father a fine tenor. Clare and her siblings were all musically inclined from a young age, and Clare formed herself and her three younger siblings (two sisters and a brother) into a harmony ensemble, with their ages ranging from sixteen to just eleven.

      In 1967, they won a grand concours held in Cork City Opera House, and were brought over to the UK on a tour, from which they never returned to Ireland.

      They settled in the United Kingdom, married and had families. Clare and her sisters resurrected their musical career in the 1980’s, culminating in national TV appearances and selection for the Golden Rose of Montreux international awards festival, in Switzerland.

      Clare went on to become a very successful BBC radio presenter, working for BBC Radio Lancashire, and BBC Radio Merseyside, two of Britain’s largest local radio networks. She had her own magazine-type show, interviewing right across the board, from authors to explorers, and from politicians to pop stars.

      As well as musical ability, Clare also inherited from her mother a lifelong love of crafting.

      “With six children to look after, my mother saw it as a necessity rather than a hobby,” reflects Clare. “I’ve just taken what I learnt and absorbed from her, and turned it to another use...teaching”.

      Clare has spent a lifetime singing and crafting. In 2008, she gained her ‘Fascinator of Excellence’ qualification, and since then has appeared on ‘Crafty Beggars’, a TV show sponsored by Hobbycraft.’

      Clare has been singing and teaching her crafts aboard cruise ships for the past seventeen years. Her craft workshops are informative, effective, and great fun. With a unique blend of skill, patience, and humour, she brings to life the adage, “People learn best when they’re enjoying themselves”.

      Please note Clare will not be lecturing but will be performing songs in the Ambassdor Lounge with her sister Marianne, as “Sister Sister!”

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    • Dr Roderick Dale

      Dr Roderick Dale

      PhD University of Nottingham

      Cruises:

      Land of the Midnight Sun - 2019-06-18
      Roderick Dale is Cultural Engagement Fellow with the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age at the University of Nottingham. He is curating the exhibition Danelaw Saga: Bringing Vikings back to the East Midlands and managing the Centre’s public engagement programme. Prior to this, he worked at University College Cork on The World-Tree Project, a community collection initiative that produced a digital multimedia archive of resources for the teaching and study of the Vikings.

      Roderick Dale is Cultural Engagement Fellow with the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age at the University of Nottingham. He is curating the exhibition Danelaw Saga: Bringing Vikings back to the East Midlands and managing the Centre’s public engagement programme. Prior to this, he worked at University College Cork on The World-Tree Project, a community collection initiative that produced a digital multimedia archive of resources for the teaching and study of the Vikings. Roderick earned his PhD on Viking berserks at the University of Nottingham, where he also taught Old English and Old Norse. Before returning to the academy, Roderick worked as an archaeologist throughout Britain. He has appeared on television in Time Team and Ancient Black Ops: Berserkers and has given many radio interviews about the Vikings. He is the author, with Dr Marjolein Stern, of Vikings: Raids. Culture. Legacy.

      Roderick is an expert in Viking-Age warfare, Old Norse language, literature and culture, and reception studies. His primary areas of research are Old Norse literature, medieval and Viking Age Nordic culture, and popular culture depictions of Vikings. He is heavily engaged in communicating academic research about the Vikings to the public, both through public lectures, and by advising authors about Vikings for their books, most recently the English language translation of Makoto Yukimura’s Vinland Saga manga.

      Roderick’s interest in the Viking Age stems from an early age when his grandmother told him stories about the Vikings, and was cemented by his time living and studying in Norway. This enthusiasm remains unabated, and he will happily talk Vikings with anyone willing to listen.

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    • John Ducker

      John Ducker

      The Wine Education Service

      Cruises:

      European Connoisseur - 2019-06-06
      Having been bestowed a number of interesting ‘lives’ which may be revealed as the cruise progresses, John’s principal activity has been as the actor ‘John Leeson’. He has celebrated over half a century’s visibility in theatre, film and television, and latterly as the unseen voice of Doctor Who’s iconic robot dog-companion K9.

      Having been bestowed a number of interesting ‘lives’ which may be revealed as the cruise progresses, John’s principal activity has been as the  actor ‘John Leeson’. He has celebrated over half a century’s visibility in theatre, film and television, and latterly as the unseen voice of Doctor Who’s iconic robot dog-companion K9. Hardly less important has been his professional wine-teaching career, one which has additionally covered many sea and river miles as wine tutor for a number of top smaller-ship cruise lines. As a reputable (and published) family cook his quick-reference guide to food/wine matching, ‘Marriages Made in Heaven’, will be freely available on board.

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    • Hugh Ellwood

      Hugh Ellwood

      Architect and Artist, Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-10-07
      Hugh Ellwood was educated in the classics and went to university in Rome to study philosophy. It was here that art and history became a reality and after four years he returned to Manchester to study architecture. After graduation, he became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He pursued a career as an architect with Building Design Partnership, the largest multi-discipline design organisation in the UK. For 21 years he was a partner in the practice, working on housing, school and hospital projects such as the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and the New General Infirmary at Leeds.

      Hugh Ellwood was educated in the classics and went to university in Rome to study philosophy. It was here that art and history became a reality and after four years he returned to Manchester to study architecture. After graduation, he became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He pursued a career as an architect with Building Design Partnership, the largest multi-discipline design organisation in the UK. For 21 years he was a partner in the practice, working on housing, school and hospital projects such as the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and the New General Infirmary at Leeds.

      For some years Hugh was an external examiner in Architecture at the University of Manchester as well as a visiting lecturer in the history of art and architecture at the University of Central Lancashire. He has also lectured extensively to various societies and organisations on art and architecture and is a Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society.

      During the 1980s he began to sketch with watercolour as a complement to the pursuit of architecture. He prefers to work in watercolour, ink, pencil and pastel. His subjects are mainly buildings, the landscape and the relationship between the two. He prefers to work outdoors, rather than in the studio.

      During the year he spends at least three months with his wife in Switzerland and Italy as well as visiting other places of interest abroad to study, photograph and sketch. The areas of the Italian lakes, Rome and Venice are particular favourites.

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    • Dr. Irene Garcia Losquino

      Dr. Irene Garcia Losquino

      University of Alicante

      Cruises:

      The Norwegian Fjords - 2019-07-17
      Irene Garcia Losquino lectures at the University of Alicante. She received her PhD in Scandinavian Studies in 2013 from the University of Aberdeen, where she also lectured for many years. It was during her time in Scotland that Irene became interested in Celtic, Germanic and Viking cultures. She published the book The Early Runic Inscriptions: Their Western Features with the publisher Peter Lang (New York) in 2015, and, since 2014, has been working on her current research project: Vikings in Spain – Resistance, Settlement and Cross-Cultural Exchange. This project has allowed Irene to return to her home country to do research on Vikings: something she would have never dreamt about before!

      Irene Garcia Losquino lectures at the University of Alicante. She received her PhD in Scandinavian Studies in 2013 from the University of Aberdeen, where she also lectured for many years. It was during her time in Scotland that Irene became interested in Celtic, Germanic and Viking cultures. She published the book The Early Runic Inscriptions: Their Western Features with the publisher Peter Lang (New York) in 2015, and, since 2014, has been working on her current research project: Vikings in Spain – Resistance, Settlement and Cross-Cultural Exchange. This project has allowed Irene to return to her home country to do research on Vikings: something she would have never dreamt about before!

      Irene has been lucky to be an invited researcher at the Universities of Tübingen, Stockholm and Notre Dame (EEUU), as well as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Uppsala, and even luckier to receive two awards for her research from the Royal Gustavus Adoplphus Academy of Sweden. While she doesn't enjoy the cold winters, her many northern travels have allowed Irene to develop insights on different approaches to Viking Studies.

      Apart from her interdisciplinary academic work on different aspects of the Viking Age, Irene has broad experience in the engagement of the general public with research. Irene has presented documentaries about the Vikings, and has spoken about her research at many conferences and invited papers, as well as at a large number of public events, museums and private guided tours to Viking sites.

      On her (very spare) spare time, Irene enjoys snorkelling, martial arts and cooking.

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    • Caroline Holmes

      Caroline Holmes

      Garden Historian

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-10-07
      Caroline Holmes is a Garden Historian of places, people and plants who sifts humour from humus worldwide as a lecturer, broadcaster and an author of 11 books.

      Caroline Holmes is a Garden Historian of places, people and plants who sifts humour from humus worldwide as a lecturer, broadcaster and an author of 11 books. A consultant designer specialising in evoking historical, artistic and symbolic references ranging from the gardens surrounding Notre Dame-de-Calais to devising the planting for The Alnwick Garden’s Poison Garden, Caroline lectures for The Art Society in both the UK and overseas; the RHS, Road Scholar, Martin Randall Travel, and the Plant School.  

      She is Course Director for University of Cambridge’s ICE International Summer Programmes. Her latest television appearance was on TeleFrance 1 on the Field of the Cloth of Gold (2017). She was the presenter of Telling the Stories of England (2016) and has appeared on many BBC Gardening programmes, co-presenting Glorious Gardens, a design and history series in 2004. Caroline has also toured Australia and presented A Sunparched Country for BBC Radio Four in 2008.

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    • Dr Steve Kershaw

      Dr Steve Kershaw

      Classicist

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-04-26
      As a Classics Tutor for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Professor of History of Art for the European Studies Program of Rhodes College and The University of the South, and a lecturer for the V&A.

      As a Classics Tutor for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Professor of History of Art for the European Studies Program of Rhodes College and The University of the South, and a lecturer for the V&A. Dr. Steve Kershaw has spent much of the last 30 years travelling extensively in the world of the Greeks and Romans both physically and intellectually. He has recently published A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths, A Brief Guide to Classical Civilization, A Brief History of the Roman Empire, and A Brief History of Plato's Atlantis.

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    • Sue King M Phil History of Art, BA Hons Phil/Pol, PGCE, MITG

      Sue King M Phil History of Art, BA Hons Phil/Pol, PGCE, MITG

      Art Historian

      Cruises:

      Iceland, Faroes & Shetlands - 2019-07-30
      Born a Londoner (with Scottish and Irish roots), Sue then travelled the world with a military and diplomatic father and husband. A degree in Philosophy and Politics, a Post Graduate teaching qualification and a Master’s in History of Art led to a teaching and lecturing career for students from four-years-old to undergraduates.

      Born a Londoner (with Scottish and Irish roots), Sue then travelled the world with a military and diplomatic father and husband. A degree in Philosophy and Politics, a Post Graduate teaching qualification and a Master’s in History of Art led to a teaching and lecturing career for students from four-years-old to undergraduates.

      Now based in London, and qualified as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for six areas of Britain from London to the South Coast and North to Yorkshire Sue has a broad knowledge of both art and history.

      She now works as a Tourist Guide, Art History Lecturer and Guide Trainer. She has given a series of Art History lectures for American University students studying in London, and for the London Blue Badge course for which she has been Course Director for five years, as well as guiding groups in London galleries and lecturing to various groups interested in art, architecture and heritage subjects.

      Sue is one of the few official guides for the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House, the Foundling Museum and Middle Temple Hall and as a member of the Guild of Freeman of the City of London, and of the Basketmakers Livery Company she is able to participate in the splendid pageantry of their official events and in their charitable activities. Sue is past Chairman of both the City of London Guide Lecturers Association and the British Guild of Tourist Guides.

      Four years of extensive travel in the United States whilst based in Pennsylvania and Washington DC, and visits to Australian relatives ensure that she can make effective links to our passengers who hail from these countries.

      Sue’s illustrated talks on board will bring to life the fascinating art and culture of Iceland and other countries we visit.

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    • Stella Grace Lyons

      Stella Grace Lyons

      Art Historian

      Cruises:

      Renaissance Italy & Historic Islands - 2019-05-25
      Stella Grace Lyons gained her BA in the History of Art with a 1st class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol, and her MA in History of Art at the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice.

      Stella Grace Lyons gained her BA in the History of Art with a 1st class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol, and her MA in History of Art at the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice. In addition, she attended drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, a private atelier that follows a curriculum based on the leading ateliers of nineteenth century Paris.

      In 2017, Stella was selected by the Arts Society to lecture at the launch of 'Drawing Room Discussions' in association with ROSL ARTS, hosted by Guardian arts correspondent Maev Kennedy. Stella lectures regularly throughout the UK, Europe and for cruise ships. Her particular interests include 19th Century British art, the Italian and Northern Renaissance, American figurative artists from the 20th century and the representation of the nude in art. 

      Stella grew up in a family who all work in the arts; her mother is a choreographer, her father runs an animation company, her brother is an illustrator and her grandmother was an antiques dealer. As a child she was taken to galleries and historical houses throughout the UK and Europe and this is when her interest in Art History began. In addition to art, Stella enjoys travelling, good food, theatre, classical music and discovering new Scottish whiskies. You can read more about Stella on her website: www.stellagracelyons.com
       

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    • Dr Thomas Mannack

      Dr Thomas Mannack

      The Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford

      Cruises:

      Dr. Thomas Mannack is Reader in Classical Iconography at the University of Oxford where he teaches Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, and has taught Greek Art at King's College, London. He is an internationally known expert on Greek figure-decorated pottery and studied Classical Archaeology, Ancient History and European Archaeology in Kiel, Heidelberg and Oxford. He gained a first class doctorate at Kiel University. Dr Mannack has published books and papers in English and German on Greek pottery, Greek sculpture, and the reception of ancient art.

      Dr. Thomas Mannack is Reader in Classical Iconography at the University of Oxford where he teaches Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, and has taught Greek Art at King's College, London. He is an internationally known expert on Greek figure-decorated pottery and studied Classical Archaeology, Ancient History and European Archaeology in Kiel, Heidelberg and Oxford. He gained a first class doctorate at Kiel University. Dr Mannack has published books and papers in English and German on Greek pottery, Greek sculpture, and the reception of ancient art.

      He has been invited to present papers by many universities and academies including New York, Berlin, Tours, Brussels, Munich, Copenhagen, Vienna, Basel and Zurich. 

      In his spare time, Dr. Mannack is passionate about flat German tin figures, which his wife Sigrid hates, and on which he has published two scholarly article, just to irk her. His daughters, Lilith and Fidelis, have rejected the refined and beautiful field of Classical Archaeology in favour of “Science”, but are occasionally willing to accompany him on cruises (and paint toy figures better than him).

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    • Peter Medhurst

      Peter Medhurst

      Pianist and lecturer-recitalist, Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society

      Cruises:

      Mediterranean Odyssey - 2019-08-26
      Peter Medhurst’s work as singer, pianist and lecturer-recitalist has taken him all over the world, and in the last few years he has toured New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and made frequent tours in Europe, giving performances in Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Salzburg, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris and Spain.

      Peter Medhurst’s work as singer, pianist and lecturer-recitalist has taken him all over the world, and in the last few years he has toured New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and made frequent tours in Europe, giving performances in Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Salzburg, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris and Spain.

      Closer to home, he has presented events at the Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, and the Royal Festival Hall on Beethoven String Quartets, Mozart Operas, Vermeer’s Music Lesson, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Golden Age of Vienna, and 18th Century Venetian Art and Music.

      He has also directed presentations at the Wallace Collection, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, linking the visual arts with the world of 17th & 18th century music making.

      He is a familiar face to audiences of music societies, regional theatres and British festivals as well as to those of arts based organisations such as The Art Fund, The National Trust. He is also a Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society.

      Over the years Peter Medhurst has lectured for the universities of Kent and Surrey, directed a wide range of choirs, vocal ensembles and instrumental groups, and adjudicated and given masterclasses for the British Federation of Music Festivals.

      Peter is director of The Classical Music Company, and part of the triumvirate – with television director David Coleman and television producer Sheridan Dudley – that has formed Blue Thread Medhurst Productions. The organisation promotes special musical events, creates films about the arts, produces recordings and organises specialist music tours to unusual locations both at home and abroad.

      Read more on http://petermedhurst.com ›

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    • Prof Jonathan Phillips

      Prof Jonathan Phillips

      Royal Holloway, University of London

      Cruises:

      Mediterranean Odyssey - 2019-08-26
      Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of numerous books on the Crusades including Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (2009), and (with Martin Hall) Caffaro of Genoa and the Twelfth Century Crusades (2013), as well as The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople (2004).

      Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London.

      He is the author of numerous books on the Crusades including Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (2009), and (with Martin Hall) Caffaro of Genoa and the Twelfth Century Crusades (2013), as well as The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople (2004).

      He is currently completing a book on the life and legend of the Sultan Saladin, the great hero of Islam (publication, Spring 2019). He is also the editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Crusades.

      Jonathan has appeared on many television and radio programmes on the Crusades including The Cross and the Crescent, and The Crusades: Back from the Dead. He was the writer and presenter of the major 6 part US television series Ancient Roads: From Christ to Constantine, a history of the early centuries of Christianity.



      Photo © Erik van den Boom

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    • Bob Porter

      Bob Porter

      Brandenburg Choral Festival of London

      Cruises:

      Come & sing at sea with Bob Porter!

      Bob Porter’s experience as a choir master, conductor and artistic director is back by popular demand. The voyage will include daily singing workshops and a final performance at the end of the voyage, arranged by Bob Porter and the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London.

      Come & sing at sea with Bob Porter!

      Bob Porter’s experience as a choir master, conductor and artistic director is back by popular demand. The voyage will include daily singing workshops and a final performance at the end of the voyage, arranged by Bob Porter and the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London.

      After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Bob worked as a musician and teacher, returning to Guildhall to teach and becoming Head of Wind and Percussion in 1985 - a position he still holds today. In the early 1980s, Bob founded the Brandenburg Sinfonia, the first of a group of orchestras under his artistic direction and later in 2010, the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London.

      Starting with six concerts at St Martins-in-the-Fields, it has now grown to around 120 events annually making it the largest and most significant Choral Festival in the country.

      This year the Festival boasted more than 70 choirs in 67 concerts, covering the standard masterpieces of the choral repertoire along with jazz, barbershop and gospel, also making it one of the most varied and inclusive Choral Festivals!

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    • Dr David Price-Williams

      Dr David Price-Williams

      University of London

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-10-07
      David Price-Williams has a first degree from the University of Wales in Ancient Near Eastern languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic etc.), with a subsidiary in Attic and Koine Greek. His post-graduate work and his doctorate, from the University of London, is in Near Eastern archaeology. His first overseas archaeological field work in the eastern Mediterranean was in 1969 as a field surveyor at the classical site of Knidos in Turkey. He then worked for the Smithsonian Institution as an archaeological field surveyor on excavations in the Near East before directing his own field research in the same area through the early 1970’s.

      David Price-Williams has a first degree from the University of Wales in Ancient Near Eastern languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic etc.), with a subsidiary in Attic and Koine Greek. His post-graduate work and his doctorate, from the University of London, is in Near Eastern archaeology. His first overseas archaeological field work in the eastern Mediterranean was in 1969 as a field surveyor at the classical site of Knidos in Turkey. He then worked for the Smithsonian Institution as an archaeological field surveyor on excavations in the Near East before directing his own field research in the same area through the early 1970’s.

      David has spent many years working in the countries of Africa south of the Zambesi. From 1976 to 1989 he was the director of a multi-disciplinary team of up to twenty scientists from several universities researching the effects of climatic change on human evolution in Africa. He was based in Swaziland, during which time he also oversaw the building of the Swaziland National Museum and where he eventually became Director of Antiquities. 

      David has been associated with the eastern Mediterranean – Greece, Turkey, Jordan and the Near East for more than 40 years. He is deeply involved with all aspects of Near Eastern culture, history and archaeology. 

      David has just retired after thirty seven years lecturing on the Archaeology of Western Asia (Eastern Mediterranean) at the Institute of Archaeology for the University of London Extra Mural Department. He is the author and co-author of numerous academic papers on the area. David has designed and lectured on many tours to Greece, Turkey and the Near East and is very familiar with the archaeological sites in the area. David is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an elected member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, and a life member of the Southern African Quaternary Research Association. He speaks Turkish and reads Classical Greek

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    • Ernest Rea

      Ernest Rea

      Broadcaster

      Cruises:

      European Connoisseur - 2019-06-06
      Ernie Rea is a celebrated broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the best Speech Programme on British Radio. He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles.

      Ernie Rea is a celebrated broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the best Speech Programme on British Radio. He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles. From 1989 -2001 he was Head of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC responsible for all their television and radio programmes nationally and locally. During this time, he spent much time in the United States, brokering co-production television deals with leading American broadcasters. He was closely involved in a variety of key national events, including the Funeral Service for Diana, Princess of Wales. He is in wide demand as a speaker at a wide variety of events, including international inter faith conferences, literary festivals, and academic symposia. 

      In 1997 he was personally awarded the Gold Medal of the International Council for Christians and Jews for his contribution to Inter Faith understanding. He has First Class Degrees in Theology and in History and Politics which helped fuel his passion for the study of world religions and the way in which they impact on the ancient and modern worlds. He was one time Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Education at Manchester University.

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    • Trevor Rowley

      Trevor Rowley

      Emeritus Fellow Kellogg College, University of Oxford

      Cruises:

      Trevor is a medieval archaeologist and historian who has spent his career in lifelong and continuing education, largely at Oxford University, where he was first Director of Archaeology and later Deputy Director in the Department for Continuing Education. He was a Founder Fellow of Kellogg College and is now Dean of Degrees.

      Trevor is a medieval archaeologist and historian who has spent his career in lifelong and continuing education, largely at Oxford University, where he was first Director of Archaeology and later Deputy Director in the Department for Continuing Education. He was a Founder Fellow of Kellogg College and is now Dean of Degrees. For many years he has directed and taught International University Summer Programmes, both in Britain and the United States. He was the instigator and director of the popular Oxford Experience Summer Programme at Christ Church, Oxford. He was a visiting Professor on Stanford University overseas programme and directed and taught programmes for the American National Trust and the Smithsonian. He is a seasoned traveller in Europe and beyond and was a regular guest lecturer for Swan Hellenic Cruises.

      He was Honorary Secretary of the Council for British Archaeology and President of the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society; he is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries

      His main academic interests are in landscape history, the Normans and the Western Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. He has written extensively and his publications include Landscape Archaeology, with Mick Aston, The High Middle Ages, The Normans, An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry and The English Landscape in the Twentieth Century. He is currently writing a book on Landscapes of the Norman Conquest

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    • Dr Mark Spencer

      Dr Mark Spencer

      Forensic Botanist

      Cruises:

      Classic Civilisations of the Southern Mediterranean - 2019-04-13

      Dr Mark Spencer has always been fascinated by plants, the first plant he grew was a hyacinth when he was 4 years old. Originally a horticulturist, Mark trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew where he was particularly interested in tropical ferns and alpine plants. He later studied botany at university and did a PhD in the evolution of aquatic fungi. After university, he worked as a field botanist for a regional conservation organisation, followed by 12 years as a senior botany curator at the Natural History Museum, London. Mark now is a consultant forensic botanist, public speaker and occasional radio and TV presenter. He has also recently joined the Arts Society as an accredited lecturer.

      Mark also has an interest in the history of botany, particularly 17th and 18th century herbariums. He has studied the herbarium of Sir Hans Sloane for over a decade and is the honorary curator of Carl Linnaeus’s herbarium at the Linnean Society of London. Currently he is working on projects on the herbarium of Rev. Adam Buddle a late 17th century English botanist who corresponded with Sloane and the introduction of novel garden plants to London during the 17th and early 18th centuries.

      He is also interested in the impacts of non-native invasive species and is an advisor on several regional and national programmes dealing with their management. He is also committed to engaging with and educating the wider public about the value and interest of Britain’s flora. Mark’s botanical interests are wide-ranging but are particularly focused on the historic and non-native floras of London and the Isles of Scilly. Mark is the Botanical Society of the British Isles vice-county recorder for Middlesex and the Vascular Plant Recorder for the London Natural History Society.

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    • Dr Michael Squire

      Dr Michael Squire

      King’s College London

      Cruises:

      Classic Civilisations of the Southern Mediterranean - 2019-04-13
      Michael Squire is Reader in Classical Art and Archaeology at King’s College London. After receiving a starred first in Classics and a Master’s degree in Classical Archaeology (both at Trinity College, Cambridge), he received his PhD in 2007, with the Hellenic Society prize for best dissertation. Michael has held research fellowships and visiting professorships at Cambridge, Cologne, Munich and Stanford; he also held a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship at Harvard University, and has worked at several Berlin institutes – including the Humboldt University, the Wissenschaftskolleg and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

      Michael Squire is Reader in Classical Art and Archaeology at King’s College London. After receiving a starred first in Classics and a Master’s degree in Classical Archaeology (both at Trinity College, Cambridge), he received his PhD in 2007, with the Hellenic Society prize for best dissertation. Michael has held research fellowships and visiting professorships at Cambridge, Cologne, Munich and Stanford; he also held a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship at Harvard University, and has worked at several Berlin institutes – including the Humboldt University, the Wissenschaftskolleg and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

      Michael’s publications straddle the fields of Classics, archaeology, art history and aesthetics. His first book, Panorama of the Classical World (2004, with Nigel Spivey), has been translated into six languages, and as a doctoral student he co-wrote a guidebook to Rome. Since then he has written around a hundred articles and three further books (including The Art of the Body: Antiquity and its Legacy, 2011); he has also edited eight volumes, on topics including ancient ideas of ‘art’, picture-poetry, Greek and Roman picture-frames, the German Enlightenment and Hegelian philosophy. His work was recognised in 2012 with the award of a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize.

      Michael has always combined his research with an active programme of cultural engagement and education. He is an accredited NADFAS lecturer and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; he has also featured on programmes for BBC Radio 4, BBC television, the BBC World Service and ABC in Australia. Over the last ten years, he has regularly accompanied tours around Italy, the Baltic, Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea, and in spring 2018 he will be curating a London exhibition on Modern Classicisms: Contemporary and Classical Art in Dialogue

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    • Dr. Declan Taggart

      Dr. Declan Taggart

      University College Cork

      Cruises:

      The Norwegian Fjords - 2019-07-17
      Declan Taggart has been interested in Viking history, literature and especially religion since he first discovered the stories of their gods Odin, Freyja and Thor as a child. Now he’s writing about those stories himself and recently published his first book How Thor Lost His Thunder, which challenges its readers to fundamentally re-imagine the deity Thor, even questioning whether Thor was really worshipped as a god of thunder.

      Declan Taggart has been interested in Viking history, literature and especially religion since he first discovered the stories of their gods Odin, Freyja and Thor as a child. Now he’s writing about those stories himself and recently published his first book How Thor Lost His Thunder, which challenges its readers to fundamentally re-imagine the deity Thor, even questioning whether Thor was really worshipped as a god of thunder.

      Declan now works at .University College Cork in Ireland, having been lucky enough to arrive just in time to find Cork’s archaeologists uncovering evidence of the city’s Scandinavian roots. He comes to Cork via studies at the universities of Durham, York and Aberdeen and a lot of research across Scandinavia and Iceland, for which he has won awards and funding from prestigious research bodies like Britain’s Viking Society for Northern Research and Scottish Society for Northern Studies and Sweden’s Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy.

      Declan has taught History and the English language in Scotland and much farther afield and gives talks across Europe to both academic and non-academic audiences, adults and children, about Viking history and religion. He also loves to write for culture magazines and websites, though often ends up writing about history and the Vikings even then.

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    • Dr Christopher Whitton

      Dr Christopher Whitton

      Emmanuel College, Cambridge

      Cruises:

      Classic Civilisations of the Southern Mediterranean - 2019-04-13
      Christopher Whitton is a Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge. He was educated in his home town of Lancaster, as a scholar at Eton College, and as an undergraduate and graduate student at St John’s College, Cambridge.

      Christopher Whitton is a Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge. He was educated in his home town of Lancaster, as a scholar at Eton College, and as an undergraduate and graduate student at St John’s College, Cambridge. On receiving his doctorate in 2007 he was appointed to a tenured Faculty position at Cambridge, where he teaches Greek and Latin language and literature; he is also Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics at Emmanuel College. Away from Cambridge, he has been affiliated with Harvard University as a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow, with Basel University as a guest lecturer, and with the Free University Berlin and Rostock University as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. He has published books with Cambridge and Oxford University Presses and writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement.

      Christopher’s research focuses on the literature, history and culture of the Roman Empire, but his interests and expertise extend across the ancient Mediterranean world. A regular visitor to both Greece and the Italian peninsula, he began lecturing on cruises in 2014 and has accompanied groups around the Aegean, the classical sites of Turkey, and the Black Sea.

      Outside his work (and pleasure) in Classics, Christopher is a professional church musician. As an undergraduate he was Organ Student of St John’s College, Cambridge, where he played for the  prize-winning Naxos recordings of works by Finzi, Leighton, Stanford and Walton. Having held positions at Winchester College, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Church of the Advent in Boston and St Bartholomew the Great in London, he now serves as Director of Music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

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    • Prof Brian Williams

      Prof Brian Williams

      University of Aberdeen

      Cruises:

      Land of the Midnight Sun - 2019-06-18
      Brian is the Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and currently holds adjunct professorial positions in the Universities of Manchester and Bristol in the UK, and Dublin in Ireland. He has also held university teaching positions in The Netherlands, Canada and the USA. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and a Member of the Energy Institute, and has published over 100 papers and several books. He has made TV appearances in the UK, USA and Far East and presented Radio 4 programmes for the BBC.

      Brian is the Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and currently holds adjunct professorial positions in the Universities of Manchester and Bristol in the UK, and Dublin in Ireland. He has also held university teaching positions in The Netherlands, Canada and the USA. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and a Member of the Energy Institute, and has published over 100 papers and several books. He has made TV appearances in the UK, USA and Far East and presented Radio 4 programmes for the BBC.

      Brian gained his Ph.D. in sedimentary geology from the University of Wales far too many years ago to admit to, and in 2004 was awarded a D.Sc. degree in recognition of his global contribution to sedimentary research. He is a consultant to, and undertakes training courses for, the Oil Industry and several small geological service companies. He has lectured on Voyages to Antiquity cruises since 2011. His studies have taken him to Australia, SE Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America which has given him the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for rocks and earth processes with adult education classes, industry personnel and students alike.

      In addition to being passionate about Geology, Brian is an ardent Rugby enthusiast [he's Welsh of course !!] and a devoted follower of American Jazz.

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    • Sara Withers

      Sara Withers

      Jewellery Designer

      Cruises:

      Classic Civilisations of the Southern Mediterranean - 2019-04-13
      Sara Withers has been designing and making jewellery for almost all of her working life. Her work concentrates on the use of beads, some self made, some sourced from interesting suppliers. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions and her work has sold in a selection of shops and galleries throughout the U.K., including the British Museum. She is the author of many books of bead jewellery projects. The most recent being ‘The Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques’ and ‘A Compendium of Jewellery Techniques’.

      Sara Withers has been designing and making jewellery for almost all of her working life. Her work concentrates on the use of beads, some self made, some sourced from interesting suppliers. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions and her work has sold in a selection of shops and galleries throughout the U.K., including the British Museum. She is the author of many books of bead jewellery projects. The most recent being ‘The Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques’ and ‘A Compendium of Jewellery Techniques’.

      Sara teaches bead making and jewellery making in several arts centres in Britain including West Dean College in Sussex and the Oxford Summer School. Four years ago a love of jewellery making and travelling was happily combined when she started to give classes on small cruise ships. Another of Sara’s bead related interests is the Arkell bead collection in the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, which she has studied in order to communicate her enthusiasm to others. In 2007 she was one of the speakers at the International Bead and Beadwork Conference in Istanbul.

      During your cruise Sara will be running jewellery making lessons suitable for complete beginners, or for those who have done some jewellery making, with themes ranging from traditional and contemporary knotting, to bracelets and earrings, beading wire necklaces, and resin pedants.

      For more information on Sara’s work and to see more examples of her jewellery, her website can be found by visiting http://www.sarawithers.co.uk

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