Alaska, by Cunard

Our Cunard Insights™ enrichment programme offers talks, seminars and discussions by well-known explorers, sports people and other experts in their fields, offering fascinating insight into the region’s past and present.

On select 2023 Alaska voyages

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls is probably the most recognisable face of adventure on the planet. The former 21 SAS soldier was one of the youngest ever climbers of Mt Everest, despite breaking his back in a free-fall accident only months earlier.

Bear’s TV shows include the legendary Discovery channel show MAN Vs WILD and the hit show RUNNING WILD with Bear Grylls, now in its seventh season on National Geographic Channel. His Running Wild guests have included President Obama and Roger Federer and Natalie Portman.

Mensun Bound

Born in the Falkland Islands, Mensun Bound was the Triton Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at St Peter’s College, Oxford, and the director of the first academic unit for underwater archaeology in England. Known as the ‘Indiana Jones of the Deep’, Bound has conducted wreck surveys and excavations all over the world in a career that spanned 40 years. During that time he excavated one of the oldest known shipwrecks (600 BC) and, in 1997, he used saturation diving methods to carry out the deepest shipwreck excavation there has ever been.

Kenton Cool

Mountaineer Kenton Cool, one of the finest alpine climbers of his generation, will join Cunard on board Queen Elizabeth in Alaska. Cool has summited Mount Everest fourteen times, and holds the unique title of being the first person in history to climb the three Everest peaks - dubbed the “Triple Crown” - in one climb, an achievement once thought to be impossible. He will share this and other remarkable life experiences with guests.

Felicity Aston, MBE

Felicity is a Polar Scientist turned explorer. In 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across the Antarctic, entering her in the Guinness Book of World Records. Felicity has also created and led record-breaking ski expeditions to the North and South Geographic Poles, and has driven to the Pole of Cold (the coldest inhabited place on Earth).

Ann Daniels

Polar Explorer Ann Daniels is a world record holder and one of Britain’s leading explorers. Starting out as a mother of young triplets and without any outdoor experience, pure hard work and belief led her to being selected from over 200 more experienced women to take part in her first North Pole expedition. From these humble beginnings, she went on to conquer the South Pole and in 2002, along with her teammate Caroline Hamilton became the first and only women in history to ski to the North and South Poles as part of all women teams.

Pen Hadow

Pen Hadow is a leading explorer of the Arctic Ocean, now dedicated to advancing protection for the wildlife and ecosystem in the international waters around the North Pole. Hadow leads the 90 North Foundation, which is advocating an upgrade of the existing fishing and shipping agreements to create a North Pole Reserve through a subsequent Arctic Treaty System. He is also director of the annual scientific research and public engagement programme, Arctic Mission, which supports the Unit’s work.

Royal Canadian Geographical Society guest speakers

John Geiger

John Geiger is CEO of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and an internationally bestselling author of seven books, including Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible, and Chapel of Extreme Experience: A Short History of Stroboscopic Light and the Dream Machine. He has appeared on many television and radio programmes, and has been featured in major documentary films including Arctic Ghost Ship on PBS Nova, and The Angel Effect on National Geographic Channel’s Explorer. John has received numerous honours and in 2021, he was awarded with the Order of Canada.

Joseph Frey

Joseph has travelled to over 80 countries and all seven continents participating in numerous expeditions including NOAA’s Battle of the Atlantic marine archaeology survey of the German submarine U-576. Fascinated by polar sciences, Joseph has taken part in expeditions to the Antarctic, Greenland and across the Canadian High Arctic. Joseph is VP, Board of Governors of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, as well as Chair, College of Fellows.

Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth is one of the world’s premier underwater explorers, and the first person to dive inside iceberg caves. An acclaimed polar explorer, cave diver, author, speaker, filmmaker, and climate advocate, Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She leads expeditions into extreme environments to advance scientific and geographic knowledge. Her bestselling book INTO THE PLANET – My Life as a Cave Diver has drawn acclaim from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and O Magazine.

George Kourounis

George Kourounis has a passion for the Earth’s extremes. He is an explorer, storm chaser, TV host, and Explorer-In-Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He specialises in documenting forces of nature, extreme weather, in wild, remote places with his adventures spanning over 80 countries and all 7 continents. For 25 years he has chased tornadoes, driven into the eye of hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy and rappelled deep into the crater of an actively erupting volcano. Kourounis is best known for hosting 50 episodes of his own globe-trotting TV series Angry Planet.

Dr. Lynn Moorman

Dr. Lynn Moorman is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada, where she teaches physical geography, geomorphology, advanced digital mapping, and geospatial technologies. Her research interests lie at the intersection of physical geography, learning sciences, and applied geospatial and visualisation technology, including virtual and augmented reality.

David Gray

With three decades of experience as a journalist, CBC Radio host David Gray has filed stories from around the world, focusing on Europe and North America. Based in Calgary, David is an avid adventurer, diver, skier, and cyclist. David, a Fellow of the RCGS, has traveled by sea with the RCGS in the Eastern Arctic and Atlantic Canada (including a particularly memorable excursion to Sable Island). He also hosted a conversation with a prestigious panel of Indigenous leaders at the 2018 Fellows Dinner at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and a more informal gathering of Western-based Fellows at McDougall Centre in Calgary.

Dr. Dave Williams

Dr. Dave Williams is an astronaut, aquanaut, pilot, emergency physician, scientist, and CEO. He has flown to space twice, once on the space shuttle Columbia and once on Endeavour, logging over thirteen million kilometers in space and over seventeen hours of spacewalks. He holds the Canadian spacewalking record and was the first Canadian to have lived and worked in space and on Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research habitat. He is the recipient of seven honorary degrees, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

On all 2023 Alaska voyages

Alaska Native Voices

Alaska Native Voices is an industry leader in cultural education and interpretation, welcoming visitors to Alaska for 18 years. Guides share not only traditional knowledge and perspectives but also share the balance of contemporary life while embracing culture and tradition.

Through their cultural interpreters, the Native Voices provide guests with a historical and cultural view of the ties the Huna people have to Sít’ Eeti Gheeyi (Glacier Bay National Park).

Dr. Rachel Cartwright

Rachel is a naturalist and researcher, currently focusing on the behavioural ecology of humpback whales, mostly in Hawaiian waters. She holds a PhD in Conservation Biology and teaches at California State University, Channel Islands.