Following are the eight presentations I will be giving as the cruise lecturer aboard Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas sailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Sydney, Australia, September 23 - October 11! Requirements for my program were more exacting than for any previous cruise for which I had served as a member of the entertainment staff, and required me to explicitly tie presentations in with the ports of Papeete, Bora Bora, Moorea, Wellington, Picton, and Sydney, and to include one focusing on Maori culture. Fortunately, I have researched the history and culture of the region extensively over the years for any number of books, articles, and other projects and thus had a wealth of material to draw upon.
"Going Off the Beaten Path in Hawaii": Join travel writer Michael O. Varhola in an exploration of the Hawaiian islands that takes visitors to hidden temples, palaces, and other beautiful and mysterious places. (This lecture is adapted from my award-winning travel article "Going Off the Beaten Path in Hawaii," which anyone interested can read on my TravelBlogue.)
"The Painter of Papeete": Join historian Michael O. Varhola as he explores the Papeete of French artist Paul Gaugin and how he was inspired in his painting by the people and geography of the islands of French Polynesia.
"A History of Bora Bora": Join maritime historian Michael O. Varhola as he explores the history of the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora, from its earliest settlement 1,700 years ago, through its role in World War II, and up to the current era.
"Mysteries of Moorea": Join author Michael O. Varhola as he explores the myths, legends, and mysteries of beautiful Moorea, to include the strange, thousand-year-old pyramid-like sacrificial structures known as marae.
"Xena, Spartacus, and the Lord of the Rings": Author Michael O. Varhola looks at the fantasy film industry that has grown up in and around Wellington and other locations in New Zealand and how it takes advantage of the striking geography of the region.
"The Maori Pa of Picton": Join author Michael O. Varhola as he examines the history and culture of the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand, with an emphasis on the centuries-old Maori settlement on the site of modern-day Picton.
"The Golden Mile": Join true crime author Michael O. Varhola as he investigates the colorful history of crime in Sydney throughout the 20th century, from the gambling houses and brothels of the 1930s through the gangland wars and drug trade of the 1980s.
"ANZAC:" Military historian Michael O. Varhola looks at the role of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and the roles played by the military forces of the respective nations in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.