Educational offerings on board please many cruise passengers

Marcia Levin is currently sailing on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam

Not every cruise passenger wants to zip through the air, box, bowl or zoom through a tube on top of rushing water. Some of us may enjoy watching our friends and relatives take part in any or all of the above, but me? I prefer things like lectures, seminars and how-to classes while I am on a ship.

Ryan Nelson

Over the years I’ve heard lectures on financial matters, politicos explaining their part in history, celebs talking about stellar (at least in their minds) careers, and geologists, astronomers, maritime historians and more. Most of the lectures of been interesting – lots of humor, well-thought out explanations – and overall, highly entertaining. And informative.

Crystal Cruise line, Cunard and Holland America line are leaders in the field of offering enrichment programs for their guests . I learned about astronomy and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on Queen Mary 2, I learned the Suzuki method of piano lessons on Crystal and this is my second Holland America ship where I have taken advantage of free classes in computer technology and digital photography in a digital workshop program HAL has powered by Windows.

For many years my husband took my photos. He lugged around a 50-lb.  bag with lenses, a tripod and a couple of cameras. A year-and-a-half ago a friend helped me pick up a handy-dandy Canon Power Shot. It’s not a bad camera, but my editors are fairly universal in their assessment, I’m not a great photographer. Consequently when I saw that Ryan Nelson, one of HAL’s Microsoft “techsperts,” was teaching five classes a day each cruise, I saw my opportunity.

Some computer classes are as basic as teaching someone to send an email. Others, on how to edit photos and upload to another site, interested me.

Ryan, a Pennsylvania native, spent two years in the Peace Corps in Peru, where he traveled through Central and South America. He has sailed on HAL ships for two years teaching various Microsoft classes. A grad of Dickinson, Ryan enjoys travel, exploring new places and will leave for Europe next week when Nieuw Amsterdam sails on its repositioning cruise to Barcelona for the summer season. It will be his first trip to Europe.

Meanwhile Ryan helps standing-room-only classes learn new tricks on the computers and with their digital cameras.

HAL stresses Exploration. Among the other courses offered on each cruise are cooking classes in the Culinary Center. More about that another time.

Back to my camera.

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