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Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2004

Click here for Dave's Cruise Log

Click here for Ken's Cruise Log

Click here for User Comments about the cruise

Click here for a multitude of pictures from the cruise.  (This is a large page and will take a while to load for people with slow Internet connections.)

Click here for info on next years October 2005 cruise.  Book your cabin today before it's too late.

What a Group!

Here is about one half of the Legacy Cruise group that came this year.


Dave's Cruise Log

In the Beginning
Well, the time had finally come. After six months of planning I now had to actually decide what to put into the suitcases. For me it was actually pretty easy. My wife Pegi had spent the previous few weeks bringing home Hawaiian shirts and shorts for my approval. I think I kept them all! Into the bags they went, along with my scuba gear...

The plane flight we took from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida was a "red eye," leaving at 10:30 at night, flying all night, and arriving in Miami at 10:30 in the morning, with a short layover in Atlanta, Georgia. After catching the free shuttle from the airport to the Fairfield Inn, where most of the people on the Legacy cruise stayed the night prior to boarding the ship on Saturday morning, the fun began. People from all over the country and all over the world started arriving. We checked them off our list and handed over their Legacy Cruise T-shirts, which were coveted and destined to become collectors items... As you can see in the picture, the t-shirts were... noticeable. I would call the color "electric green." Others would call it "nuclear green" or "radio-active green." Regardless of the official color name, you would be able to see them a mile away!

After many of the cruisers had arrived we realized that we were famished. A few of us inquired at the front desk and found out that there was a free limo service available that would take us down to South Beach, give us a short tour, and then deposit us at an excellent Italian restaurant for dinner. "Call them up," I said, and within twenty minutes we were on our way. The dinner was great and included a band and a roving singer who went from table to table. After dinner we walked down to the beach and watched a young man build a sand castle. We then went back to the restaurant and caught the next limo back to the motel.

Day Zero (Saturday)
The Fairfield Inn rented a 50-passenger, air conditioned bus to shuttle us to the docks. So, after a nice continental breakfast, we all boarded the bus wearing our flashy t-shirts and arrived at the Carnival Cruise Lines about 11:00. The boarding procedure consisted of a couple of 20-minute lines and a ten minute seated wait. Our luggage was automatically taken from the bus and put on the ship, later to be delivered right to our cabins. (This was just the start of the pampering we would experience for the next week!) We boarded the ship at noon and after the initial shock of how huge the boat was, headed right for the lunch buffet on the Lido deck, which is the ninth floor. (This was just the start of the continuously available food that would be at hand 24 hours a day.)

Since we had boarded early (the normal boarding time is 1:30), we were asked to stay away from our cabins for a while until the stewards had cleaned them from the previous cruise occupants. This, of course, was easy to do because there was a lot of food to eat! We then wandered around the ship to try to get our bearings.

The Ship
The ship, the Triumph, is gigantic to say the least! It consists of 13 floors (decks) above the waterline. Ten of these have cabins on all or a portion of them. It will handle 2758 guests. (This cruise was full.) For those who are interested, the ship is 893 feet long and weighs over 203 million pounds (91 million kilograms)! It cruises at about 21 knots (about 24 mph or 38 kph). It is a floating city.

It has a central atrium that is nine stories high, four swimming pools, lots of hot tubs, a huge water slide, several formal and casual dining areas, a Las Vegas style stage which must seat a couple thousand people, bars, lounges, shops, a casino, an Internet bar, a fitness center, a spa, and lots more. I don't think I found all the places there were on board. We would often get lost as we tried to figure out where we wanted to go. But there were always helpful people around to set us straight. By the end of the week however, we were pretty good at navigating around.

In the afternoon we went to see our room. There are three types of rooms, inside, ocean view and balcony. Ours was inside. That means no windows. No indication of whether if was night or day. When the light were out, it was dark. In the end I think that I would always want an inside room on a cruise like this. It lets you sleep in as late you as want without be awakened by daylight. Our room was on the ninth floor, the Lido Deck. This made it pretty convenient to get to the buffet lines quickly, but a room on any of the other floors would be just as good. There are a multitude of elevators and it only takes a minute or so to get to any floor. Our room had a king-size bed, a nice desk, a couple of hanging closets, two night tables and a good-sized bathroom (head) with a shower. The ship makes its own water on a continual basis so you don't have to worry about how long of a shower you take. They even provide the soap, shampoo, and a hair dryer!

I think the entire Legacy group was signed up for early dinner. That means that we all meet in the London Dining Room at 6:15 for seating at our assigned tables. Since not all of the luggage was yet delivered to our rooms, the first night is come-as-you-are, which in our case meant that everyone was wearing their Legacy shirts. We were a sea of florescent green on the center-main level. The dinners are a sophisticated, first-class experience. A waiter and an assistant waiter place the napkin in your lap and hand you a menu which includes many magnificent appetizers, salads, and gourmet entrees. If you can't choose between two wonderful dishes, order both. I had the sweet and sour shrimp and the steak the first night. Later in the week when they were serving lobster (I love lobster), I ordered two! And the delectable desserts were to die for... Near the end of each dinner, all the staff gets together and puts on a little show for the guests. It might consist of a line dance that everyone is invited to join, or a sing-along, or the macarena...

Then back to our cabin. Wooo, what's on the bed? Some kind of animal... Each night the cabin stewards would turn down your bed and leave a towel animal and a couple mints sitting on top. Each night was a different animal. (Later, during the week, the crew would put on a demonstration of how the animals were made.)

Now off to the Rome Lounge for the evening's entertainment. Each night there are fantastic shows ranging from professional dancers, to comedy, to music. Interspersed are bingo (win up to $1000), Jeopardy, Family Feud, and other games. There was even a talent show consisting of performances from some of the guests. There is also a sing-along piano bar, disco dancing, and a karaoke bar. There is something for everyone.

Pizza anyone? The pizza bar is open 24 hours a day.

Day One (Sunday) at sea
Since we left Miami Saturday afternoon, the sailing has been nearly glass smooth. We are on our way to Cozumel, Mexico. The ship hardly moves around at all even though we are moving at a speed of 21 knots. Of course, it would take quite a choppy sea to disturb a ship weighing 200,000,000 pounds! We will be sailing all day today and through the night and will reach Cozumel about 8:00 in the morning.

Since we have an inside cabin, there is nothing to wake us at daybreak. We do, however, have to get up in time to eat breakfast and then make it to the opening Legacy class at 10:30 in the Rome Lounge. We ate at the breakfast buffet in the South Beach Club. It is great food. I had a nice omelet from the Omelet Bar.

We had two Legacy class sessions planned for each of the three "at sea" days when we were heading for the next port of call. One in the late morning and one in the early afternoon. Most of the classes were taught by Geoff Rasmussen, although we had some others taught by Jan Gow, Robert Carneal, and Rick Stone on various other subjects. All the classes were well attended and each one ended with a couple door prizes being given away.

Tonight was our first of two formal dining nights during the cruise. Everyone was encouraged to dress up as fancy as they could. It was a lot of fun. After dinner, there were many photography stations around the ship that would take pictures of us in front of various backgrounds. The backgrounds were just about anything you could think of, from a picture of our ship, to the staircase of the Titanic. The pictures are developed and then put out the next day in the Photo Gallery for people to buy if they want to.

Day Two (Monday) Cozumel, Mexico
We docked about 7:00 in the morning. People then started getting off the ship to participate in the many tours and activities available there. We debarked at 7:30 to go on the Helaman tour of the ancient Mayan ruins in Chichén Itzá and Tulum.

Our tour started with a short taxi ride from the dock to downtown Playa de Carmen which is the port city on the island of Cozumel off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. From there we boarded a ferry that would take us to the mainland. We then got on two busses that took all 100 or so of us on a two-hour ride to Chichén Itzá.
Chichén Itzá is a fantastic place to explore. Helaman, our guide, is extremely knowledgeable about the culture and practices of the ancient Mayans and explained all the carvings and symbols they used. The highlight was the huge central Pyramid of Kukúlcan. The steps have been restored on two sides of the pyramid so we all got to climb to the top. (My legs were sore for three days!)

The landscape is very flat so we could see "forever." We then got back in the busses and headed for Tulum, about an hour away. Tulum is on the coast and is quite spectacular. When the tour was over we all returned to the ship via bus, ferry, and taxi. We had to be back on the ship by 9:30 so it could leave port by 10:00.

Day Three (Tuesday) Costa Maya
The fourth day was originally supposed to be another "day at sea" while we headed for Grand Cayman. However, hurricane Ivan had done tremendous damage there so we went to Costa Maya instead. Costa Maya is only one night's cruising south of Cozumel so we arrive this morning. This port was specifically built for cruise ships and is fairly new...and fairly small, consisting of mostly small shops. There was also a beach where you could snorkel and swim. Scuba diving was also available from an enterprising family down the coast a ways.

Day Four (Wednesday) at sea
We left Costa Maya last night and are now headed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This was another Legacy class day.
We had lunch in the Paris Dining Room at the stern of the ship. Our table overlooked the water where we could "see where we used to be." Again, the food and entertainment on the ship was unforgettable.


Day Five (Thursday) Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ocho Rios is on the north coast of the island and wasn't affected too much by hurricane Ivan. With the exception of a couple of boats peaking sideways up out of the water, you would not know that a hurricane had gone through. Ken and I started the day by doing some scuba diving. It was fantastic. The water was warm and the underwater landscape was intoxicating. After the diving we joined up with our wives and some others and rented a taxi to take us to the famous Dunns Falls. The day was hot and it was luxurious to be in the cool water of the falls. None of us wanted to leave.

We left port about 4:30 and headed back towards Miami.

Tonight was the second formal dining night. Before dinner we arranged to have a group photo of all the Legacy folks. I think that about 100 of us showed up for the picture. (See the photo at the top of this page.)

Day Six (Friday) at sea.
Again, another Legacy class day. The final session in the afternoon was a question and answer period with Ken and I.

During the cruise we have been hearing about the path and progress of hurricane Jeanne. When we started the cruise, everyone thought that she would be long gone before we got back to Miami. However, when she got up off the coast of Florida, she decided to do a big loop out to the east and then back towards the coast again. The captain of the Triumph, of course, had been watching this development during the entire cruise and had decided to try and beat the hurricane to Miami so that we could all get off and get home before she hit. This is why we left Jamaica earlier than normal yesterday. So, today we all noticed that we were going faster than normal. About 23 or 24 knots. Of course, we were all secretly hoping that we would not be able to get back in time and would have to stay on board a day or two longer...

This evening things got a little tense. Some people had called the airport and found out that all flights after 9:00 a.m. tomorrow were cancelled and the airport was closing. Our current arrival at Miami was supposed to be 4:30 in the morning so some people changed their flights to get out before 9:00. An announcement was made on the ship that we were trying to get back into port but they didn't know if the port would be open when we got there. Pegi and I decided to just wait and see what happened...again hoping that we would have to stay on the ship.

Day Seven (Saturday)
At about 4:30 in the morning an announcement was made on the ship's intercom that the seas were too rough to transfer the Miami pilot on board to take the ship into port so we would be turning around and heading back out to sea for at least another day. Yes! So, off we went to the southwest, out off the end of the Florida Keys about 170 miles away. We could see four other cruise ships going with us. A free vacation extension...

Day Eight (Sunday) at sea
We cruised in a huge circle out in the ocean all day long with the other ships. Another announcement was made during the day that we would try and go back to Miami Monday morning.

We initially wondered if there was enough food on board for the extra days but were informed that they had plenty for three more days. The fancy dining continued. The entertainment continued. What a life!

Day Nine (Monday)
We arrived in Miami about 7:00 in the morning. All in all the ship had traveled over 2,400 miles during our trip. It took until about noon to get off the ship. In the mean time we called the airlines and found that the soonest we could get a flight back to Seattle was early Tuesday morning. So, we booked a night at the Fairfield Inn, where we had stayed a week earlier. It turns out that several of the Legacy cruisers did the same.

Pegi and I rented a Ford Explorer and took several other people from the motel out to the everglades and went on an airboat ride among the crocodiles.

Day Ten (Tuesday)
We got up early (2:00 a.m.) and headed to the airport to catch our flight home, arriving in Seattle at 10:30 a.m. Now we are back in the normal grind, refreshed by our experiences - and we can't wait for next year's cruise!

It was so nice to be able to meet so many Legacy users on the cruise and to get to know them.  I would never want to go on a cruise alone!  Having lots of people in the group made it so much fun.  Everywhere we would go on the ship we would see people we knew.  It was an unforgettable experience.  See you all next year...

Dave Berdan
President of MyHeritage Ltd.



Ken's Cruise Log

The Legacy 2004 cruise was a seven day Western Caribbean cruise which set sail on 17 September 2004 to the ports of Cozumel, Mexico; Costa Maya, Mexico and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.   We had a huge success selling out our 100 reserved cabins very quickly.   In Cozumel about half of our group (about 100 of us) took the tour of the Mayan ruins.  This was a dream come true as I have always wanted to visit the ancient ruins.  Seeing pictures of them is fun but you cannot comprehend the splendor of them without being there to see for yourself the amazing architecture and culture that they had.   Our tour guides brought the ruins to life with their stories and knowledge they shared of the ancient inhabitants.

Our shore excursions were a lot of fun.  Many went snorkeling or hung out on the beach or visited the shops.  Some went sailing or swimming with the dolphins and a few even took a submarine ride.  The authentic Mexican food was great, especially the guacamole dip.  In Costa Maya there was Scuba Diving with incredible visibility with incredible canyons of coral and we even ended up swimming upstream in what seemed like a never ending school of fish.  With all the diving I have done I have never experienced anything so spectacular as seeing millions of sparkling fish swimming past completely surrounding us in an array of vivid colors all in synchronized movement.  Costa Maya was a very natural tropical jungle without all the commercialism.  Ocho Rios was another great place to visit.  I heard from many about all of the shore excursions they took.  Because of the crystal clear water which was about 85 degrees I just had to go scuba diving once again.  I thought that would be all the time we had but we ended up getting back in plenty of time to take a taxi to the Ocho Rios water falls.  The falls are something you just have to experience.  I could have spent the whole day playing in the cool water.  You get to climb up the falls and there are all kinds of pools that you can sit in or swim in.  It was a little slippery and I fell a couple times but usually just into a pool of water which was so refreshing.  You have to see the pictures.

We had three days of Legacy classes and everyone there whether new to Legacy or very experienced all learned new things.  I heard even a couple of our beta testers who know Legacy very well say they had learned several new things about Legacy.  Geoff, Jan Gow and Rick Stone taught some great classes and the last class users were able to ask questions of Ken McGinnis and Dave Berdan the developers of Legacy.  All who were in the classes came away with a new excitement of Legacy and lots of great ideas to help them progress their research.

Our group had so much fun that I didn't want to come home.  In fact most were wishing we could spend a couple extra days and because of hurricane Jeanne we were able to spend two extra fun filled days at sea.  You heard that right!  They were headed back but Jeanne hit about the same time we were supposed to dock in Miami so the ship spent two extra days off at a safe distance.   We ended up with a 9 day cruise!!!  The only reason I got off the boat was because I felt like I'd explode from all that I had eaten and couldn't chance any more temptations.  We had so much fun.  It was a memory of a lifetime, one I'll never forget and will always treasure.

Ken McGinnis
Vice President of MyHeritage Ltd.


Here are a few comments we received about the cruise.

    Wow, it's hard to top the Cruise we just had!  (With two extra days to top it off!)  I really liked the classes.
Barbara Weed

    I did enjoy the experience of going on a cruise like this. And I don't think I would have done so, if we did not have the Legacy participation. That is, I don't think I would have gone on the cruise without Legacy, and if I had, I don't think I would have enjoyed it without Legacy.  So thanks so much team for thinking of this!!
Jan Gow, New Zealand

    We enjoyed very much the Legacy cruise sep 18th - sep 25th 2004. Learning about genealogy research was great.  Though lectures where focusing on US situations in general it provided many things applicable to us Europeans also with respects to using timeliness, setting up your research etc.  Learned a whole set of things hidden so far in using Legacy.  The whole experience certainly exceeded our expectations.
Cor Visser

    Here are some pictures.  Looking through them I have decided that I need to take a lot more pictures of the ship and all of the activities we enjoyed.  There were fun shows, karaoke, dancing, swimming or laying by the pool.  Lot's of music.  I even found a few winning money (I hope) in the casino.

    I truly enjoyed the classes presented by Geoff and the guest lecturers. I certainly learned several new methods of research and the capabilities of Legacy software, which I've under utilized to date. It was great also talking to other users, sometimes I feel like the only one serious about genealogy.

    It was also great not to have to make my bed worry about what I was
cooking, and not to have my cell-phone ringing at the most in opportune
Doug and Val Connell

    What was my favorite thing - Decisions, decisions?  Hard to really say, but I so enjoyed meeting everyone and realizing the enormity of Legacy Users. What a great group!

    Everything was so well organized, thanks to Christy & Steve Downing and the Legacy team.

    I found the classes very refreshing and informative.

    Also enjoyed the "pampering" - no beds to make, no meals to prepare, no dusting, etc. I had a wonderful time chatting with all the various members of the Truimph Crew - finding out where everyone came from and something about their lives. How very blessed we are in the USA - and how very much we take it all for granted.
Elizabeth Kohler

    My husband and I enjoyed just about everything, especially the two extra days.  We were just not ready to go back on Saturday.  I liked the classes and Dennis liked the relaxation while I was in class.  He is not the Genealogist but he really needed a break from work!  I especially liked dinning with marvelous people who had the same interests as I do.  Since I am poor at names I would like to see more people wearing name tags. But everyone was friendly and approachable.  I liked the way Ken, Dave and Geoff jotted down all suggestions and ideas that we threw out.  With such an outlook Legacy can only get better.
Barbara and Dennis Weed

    I was really glad to get to meet those I got a chance to meet and was disappointed I didn't get to meet the rest of you.  I've received support emails from a couple of you and it's been fun to have a face behind the emails I've received!

    I sure enjoyed the pampering too!  It's so hard to be back to reality - having to make my own bed, cook my own meals, hearing phones ring, no pool to swim in (or even lounge by), no live entertainment.

    I also miss all the walking in climate-controlled, safe comfort!  I think by the end of the week we covered just about every inch of the ship and climbed just about every flight of stairs and I think that really helped me to be able to fit into my jeans when we got back home.
Sherry Holthe, MyHeritage Ltd. Technical Support

    The best part of the cruise for me was no telephone ringing all the time and no board meetings to prepare for, it was the most relaxing vacation I have ever taken.  Geoff and all of the instructors did a great job.  I don't think I will be able to do next years but am planning for the Alaska one.
Donna J. Porter

    My favorite thing was the times we spent together, classroom, dinning, shore excursions, etc.
Robert Carneal

    I'm glad that I was on the cruise meeting some of the people I knew from the [LegacyTest]-list but not some I'd have liked to meet and many new members of the great Legacy-Family.

    Meeting Dave, Ken and their families was one of the many highlights.

    The cruise confirmed my opinion that Legacy is a great international family which is something we shouldn't forget.

    This "week" was a great time for me. Unforgettable!!

    The best part for me was the last part (two days) of the cruise. It was a great for me to be able to help members of the Legacy-Family I had never knew to work with their Legacy or research problems.  That was "Family" research.
Bernhard Scholz

    Great website. Tells the whole story, but you really have to be there to fathom the wonderful experience.  All the more reason to sign up for the 2005 cruise.
Elizabeth Kohler

Click here for a multitude of pictures from the cruise.  (This is a large page and will take a while to load for people with slow Internet connections.)

See Cruise 2005 Information for everything you need to know about next year's cruise!

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