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Celebrity speakers and cruise programs that are anything but boring

Francis Lam of public radio’s "The Splendid Table" will be featured on the National Geographic Orion as a "culinary naturalist." (Ken Duncan)

Cruise lecturers sound downright boring, right? Not anymore. Cruise lines have upped their game when it comes to cultural immersion events on board and on land.

Celebrated experts and pros now hop aboard to teach you about everything from food and wine to architecture and history of the places you’ll visit at ports of call. And isn’t learning what travel is all about?

Here are four upcoming cruises with programs that defy boredom.

1. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic

Francis Lam, host of public radio’s “The Splendid Table,” will join two voyages as a “culinary naturalist” aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. The former New York Times Magazine columnist will discuss the cuisine of the Faroe Islands and explain why foraging makes sense in this remote spot halfway between Norway and Iceland.

Lam will be aboard two 14-day cruises that travel to the Shetland, Orkney and Faroe islands and Iceland — one leaves June 22, the other on Aug. 13 — on the 102-passenger National Geographic Orion. Prices start at $13,690 per person, based on double occupancy.

Info: Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, (800) 397-3348

2. Cunard

Who wouldn’t want to sail with British writer Bill Bryson? The author of “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and “A Walk in the Woods,” about his misadventures on the Appalachian Trail, will be the featured speaker on a 14-night cruise to Croatia, the Greek Isles and Athens in September. Prices start at $1,899 per person, based on double occupancy.

Cunard this year also hosts a nine-night transatlantic crossing themed to New York Fashion Week. Style sensation Iris Apfel, 95, is among five lecturers who will get fashionistas primed for the big show in NYC. The cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2 sails from Hamburg, Germany, on Aug. 29 and arrives in New York on Sept. 7. Prices start at $2,107 per person, based on double occupancy.

Info: Cunard, (800) 7289-6273

3. Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas ups the IQ level on its cruise by bringing along PBS journalists and filmmakers associated with news shows such as “Frontline,” “American Experience” and others. Seminars, panel discussions and receptions with writers and directors are part of the on-board experience. The 10-night cruise sails Aug. 30 from Vancouver, British Columbia, then heads to Alaska’s inside passage and ends in San Francisco. Prices start at $6,999, based on double occupancy.


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