All Aboard for a Titanic lecture Christopher Ward at a Waterstones book signing
You might reasonably have supposed that the LAST thing anyone would want to hear about while on a cruise would be the sinking of the Titanic. You might also have thought that the LAST career the grandson of a Titanic bandsman might consider would be that of a lecturer at sea.
Jock's grave in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Jock's grave in Halifax

Don't miss Titanic: The Aftermath
Watch an excerpt of my documentary, Titanic: The Aftermath, aired on Easter Sunday on the Discovery Channel.

But if you did, you would be wrong on both counts. In my new late-life career as a lecturer on cruise ships, I have discovered that the Titanic is hugely popular subject with passengers. Perhaps I, too, take comfort in the fact that there are enough lifeboats for everyone on board and that there are no icebergs in sight - at least, in the Med.

It all started in April 2012 with an invitation from Saga to join the Saga Pearl as a speaker on a 'Titanic themed' cruise to commemorate the centenary of the sinking, calling at all the ports associated with the great liner: Southampton, Belfast, Liverpool, Cobh, and Cherbourg.

My talks somehow led to an invitation to speak later that year on the Fred Olsen ship Braemar on a Mediterranean cruise - 'fortunately, we're a long way from the nearest iceberg', said the highly entertaining Entertainments Director who introduced me. But again, Titanic proved to be a popular topic with passengers.

I've now become a regular on the cruise circuit and, thanks to my Fleet Street background, have expanded my repertoire of lectures to include privacy and the media, the royal family and the press, and how to survive a catastrophe. If you're a regular cruiser, you may have caught some of my talks on P&O's Aurora on its world cruise last year, or on Thomson's Spirit in the Med, or Fred Olsen's Balmoral in the Baltic.

Last September I flew to New York to join Cunard's magnificent Queen Mary 2 for a 14-day voyage up the Eastern Seaboard of the USA and Canada, with ports of call from Newport Rhode Island to Quebec. For me, the highlight of the voyage was weighing anchor in Halifax, where I had time ashore to lay some flowers at Jock's grave.

My next booking is on Cunard's Queen Victoria (Cruise V520) leaving Athens (Piraeus) for 14 nights from 29 August to 12 September 2015. It's a wonderful voyage, with ports of call in the Dardenelles, Istanbul, Anzac Cove, Volos, Mykonos, Bodrum, Santorini, Salerno and Rome. Have a look for yourself:

I'm joining the ship in Athens on September 5th, disembarking in Rome a week later, so hope to catch you then.

If you can't make it, you might consider one of Cunard's New Year short breaks. I'm giving a lecture on cruise V601 - five nights on Queen Victoria from December 29th 2015 to December 3rd 2016 with ports of call in Amsterdam and Bruges. For me, it's work, of course - for you, it could be just the excuse you need to leave the house and the washing up to your nearest and dearest after the Christmas Festivities. See in the New Year with you on the Queen Victoria?
Read serialisations of this incredible story in the following publications:
Mail Online
The Gleaner
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'A heartbreaking story wonderfully told' Julian Fellowes,
creator of Downton Abbey
And the Band Played On
Buy now on Amazon
And the Band Played On
Order the book online from Amazon or through the website of the publishers, Hodder and Stoughton. Also available as an iBook from Apple's iBookstore.
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