Nexion Escape Spring 2020 - Page 21

What’s a typical day on the river like for you, and what topics do you share in your enrichment lectures? What will cruisers experience on these rivers? Bobby: I give talks in the show lounge on topics specific to where we are, which include the history of travel on that river. This could include talks on James Buchanan Eads, an inventor and self-taught engineer who designed and built the first road and rail bridge to cross the Mississippi River at St. Louis; the effect the rivers had on the Civil War; controlling levies and locks; how to read channel markers; and several talks that introduce the riverboat vessel itself as well as what guests will see. You’ll also find me in the Lincoln library where the maps and charts are located on the American Duchess. We’re also the audio/visual guys, so I manage the lights and sounds for shows and movies and serve as stage manager. Laurence: I cover a considerable range of topics, often two different topics daily. Perhaps a casual chat and a more formal presentation, usually heavily illustrated with slides. Topics include maritime navigation, geology, archaeology, cultural history including Native American cultures and peoples, past and present, early explorers, Lewis & Clark, the Fur Trade/Hudson Bay Company, Oregon Trail, settlement, railroads, steamboats, highways, dams and hydropower, wildlife, salmon migration, predators and fisheries, the history of the Hanford Site's WWII and Cold War history and more! Additionally, I give art gallery tours and talk about the history of the vessel while escorting guests to the bridge for a pilothouse tour. I am out with guests at all hours of the day, including at dawn and sometimes as late as 1-2 a.m., when we go through the locks. Plus, I typically host at least one entertainment show most evenings and occasionally perform a little musical or comedic “shtick” in the Paddlewheel Lounge late at night. Laurence: On the Columbia, there’s attention to geology and natural history, as the scenery lends itself to that. And, because of the itinerary, I’m able to give a presentation with a continuous historic thread. I start with pre-history and end with the Cold War era. In essence, I see what I offer as a week-long collegiate-level seminar on the cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. I also try to keep it focused on storytelling and drama, and to add in a little comedy now and then. When on our other rivers or the Great Lakes, every cruise itinerary is different, so the Riverlorian must cover an even wider range of material, at least as far as geography is concerned. On the Mississippi River, it’s more focused on maritime navigation, stories and legends from the river, and various ports of call, which are always changing. Jerry: All rivers have their own charm, but following are some features that set them apart: • The lower Mississippi is rich in history and has long expanses of remote areas between the ports. • The upper Mississippi has beautiful bluffs, great towns and many locks that must be traversed. • The Ohio River has quaint villages along with big cities, and large locks and mild currents. • The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers have an abundance of natural beauty with large lakes and mountains. Jerry: I rise early, check the weather forecast, go to the chart room to check on our location and visit with the early-bird passengers. If we are in port, I give pilothouse tours at various scheduled times. My Riverlorian chat will be scheduled each day in the Grand Saloon. On departure from a port, I make announcements from the chart room about the evening cruise and the next port. While cruising, most of my time is spent in the chart room answering questions and announcing interesting sites along the way. As far as lecture topics, they will depend on where we are and to some degree, what passengers ask most about. It is not uncommon for me to change my mind about the topic after a discussion in the chart room. I also have topics that are general in nature that can be presented anywhere. The first day out I always present “Discover the River,” which is an orientation of the cruise, terminology and American Queen history. Laurence Cotton Contact Our Agency to Plan Your Personalized Escape · 19