Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is described by the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’, and he has broken many records and led expeditions to the world’s remotest regions. Amongst his many achievements, he was the first to reach both Poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, he led the team that discovered the lost city of Ubar on the Yemeni border, and he is the oldest Briton (at the time) to summit Everest.
Talks: Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be joining for part of the - (3 days only) Colours and Castles of the Rhine cruise (August 20, 2019 departure). He will give two talks on his expeditions and his personal motivation.
Terry Waite CBE, an official of the Church of England, made three trips to Lebanon in an effort to free western hostages, but on his third attempt in 1987 he was taken hostage himself and held captive for five years. Before his release in November 1991, he was frequently blindfolded, beaten and subject to mock executions. Since his release he has become a bestselling author and has devoted his time to humanitarian activities founding Hostage UK in 2004.
Talks: Terry will be joining the end of Historic Cities of Europe (July 13, 2019 departure) and the beginning of the Prague and the Danube cruise (July 13, 2019 departure). He will give three talks on his experiences as a negotiator and hostage, as well as his perspective on world affairs.
Ann Widdecombe is a former politician who was a Privy Councillor and the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Maidstone from 1987-1997. Since her retirement she has made numerous television and radio appearances, is a popular novelist and writes a weekly column for the Daily Express.
Talks: Ann will be joining the end of the Prague and the Danube cruise (October 23, 2019 departure) and the beginning of Historic Cities of Europe (October 23, 2019 departure). She will be giving three talks on her time in politics, as well as her experience on Strictly Come Dancing and her primetime television shows.
Tom Hart Dyke
Tom first shot to international prominence in March 2000 when he and his travelling companion Paul Winder were on a plant hunting expedition in the Cambodian jungle. They were captured by warring guerrilla factions while trekking through ‘The Darien Gap’, and he was held captive for nine months. Since his release, he has been busy building the ‘World Garden’ at his home in Lullingstone Castle, Kent.
Talks: Tom will be joining the Tulips and Delights of North Holland cruise (April 3, 2019 departure). He will be giving three talks during the cruise about the story of his capture and his subsequent plant hunting expeditions to develop his World Garden.
Stephen was the original producer of the BAFTA award-winning television series Springwatch, as well as Big Cat Diary and Birds Britannia. He is the author of best-selling books on birds and British wildlife, and writes a monthly column for the Guardian.
Talks: Stephen will be joining the end of Voyages Across the Continent (June 8, 2019 departure) and the beginning of Contrasts of the Danube (June 22, 2019 departure). He will be giving three bird talks on subjects such as the Danube Delta, sounds clips of the best-known bird song and how birds get their names.
Martin Bell OBE is one of the best-known and most highly regarded names in British television journalism. As a BBC reporter he has covered foreign assignments in more than 90 countries and 11 wars. He is a British UNICEF Ambassador, was a Member of Parliament for Tatton from 1997 to 2001 and is sometimes known as ‘the man in the white suit’.
Talks: Martin will be joining the end of the Historic Cities of Europe cruise (August 20, 2019 departure) and the beginning of Prague and the Danube (August 23 departure). He will give three talks on his experiences in reporting from around the world.
Ian Skelly is a national broadcaster, an internationally published author, a filmmaker and concert presenter. He has long been a familiar voice on BBC Radio 3. He is the host of the station's biggest show, Essential Classics, which plays the best in popular classical music and features celebrity guests.
Talks: Ian will be joining the Vienna and the Blue Danube cruise with a classical music theme (October 4, 2019 departure). He will be giving three talks about famous composers such as Richard Strauss, Mozart and Bruckner.