Did you know that many cruise lines regularly hire guest speakers for their customers’ trips? Yes, they do!
It was on a cruise ship that I learned my writing could yield me two free cruises. Since then, I’ve taken several wonderful vacations, with a companion, and all I’ve had to do was teach between one and three one-hour classes. You can do the same. All you need is a love of words, which you already have if you are calling yourself a writer.
Here’s what I mean. When I submitted my first cruise proposal, the movie Postcards from the Edge was popular. Capitalizing on the movie’s title, my proposal was titled “Postcards with an Edge.” I suggested that passengers would want to send friends and family postcards that boasted more than: “We’re having a great time. Wish you were here.”
The cruise line agreed. And, my sister and I happily agreed to an Alaskan cruise, on which we encouraged fellow travelers to write haiku poems about the beauty of this magical state.
Think about it. When between destinations, cruisers are often interested in more than the over-crowded swimming pool, the pocket-draining casino, and the bar (that they’re still recovering from after last night’s bender). If you’re not inclined to offer a class that encourages unique postcards, suggest a lecture that focuses on the culture of the destination. To illustrate, if it’s a cruise to Hawaii you are seeking, you could talk about the history of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. Or, if you are more scientifically than historically inclined, you could talk about what causes volcanoes, and what dangers lurk for nearby residents.
Let’s say you’re tempted by the thought of a riverboat cruise up and down the Mississippi. You could make a presentation about the cuisine of New Orleans, or the racy history of Natchez, or the influence of zydeco music.
The possibilities are endless!
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Here’s what you need to know. You can hire a broker to find the cruise line, the destination, and the dates you are seeking. Brokers typically charge $50 to $100 a cruise-day for their fee. (Note: You have to pay your own transportation to the launch site.) A list of brokers is here:
Want to avoid the broker fee? Contact the cruise line directly, addressing your inquiry to the person in charge of the guest speaker program. You may be asked to provide a short video of yourself in action. If possible, have an audience of at least ten people so reactions and interactions can be shown.
YOUR SPECIALTY MAKES YOU SPECIAL
No matter what kind of writing you do, there’s a proposal waiting within you. Fiction writers could, for example, create a fun class centering on flash fiction. You’d hand out characters whose names and one-line descriptions are connected to the cities on the voyage. Class members then develop plots and—if drama-prone—they could enact the plots in flash vignettes.
If you write non-fiction, there are innumerable ways to fuse your specialty with the special stops the cruise ship makes. As a non-fiction writer, you are used to doing research. So, you should have no trouble aligning the place with your prose. And, whatever your typical focus, you have topics available from A (architecture) to Z (zephyrs) and many, many alphabet-stops in-between.
What about a class on memoir writing? Cater to the seniors who are taking cruises in their twilight years. Everyone has a book in them!
Your subject matter (and travel opportunities) are limited only by your imagination!
Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer whose clients include Lockheed Martin, Allied Signal, Department of the Interior, and Navy SEALS. She writes extensively about education, business, self-improvement, and careers and has adjuncted at UCLA and National University. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was named a main selection by the Executive Book Club. Principled Persuasion, a more recent title, was designated a Director’s Choice by the Doubleday Book Club.
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