Inside Scoop on Geek Cruises

by Derrick Story

As you've probably figured out by now, I was gone last week. Gone gone. I was on a Holland America ship sailing back and forth to Mexico. This was my first stint on the staff of a Geek Cruise. And as a cruisin' newbie, I learned a lot of things.

For starters, the Geek Cruise concept solves what was previously my biggest concern about this type of excursion: what to do during the days at sea. We had full-blown conference tracks that ran half day sessions from 8:30 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon. That was followed by a group activity, such as the "Woz Hour," then off to dress for dinner and head to the dining room. In other words, no need to wander aimlessly about the ship looking for something to do. More like fall into bed around midnight with your head full of ideas.

On the non-conference days, we were in port. I had the entire day (8 am to 5:30 pm) to explore Cabo San Lucas (Monday) and Mazatlan (Tuesday). On Wednesday I was able to stay out until 10 pm in Puerto Vallarta. Some people chose to participate in the excursions that were available. I may do that in the future, but this time I wanted to explore the cities and the villages. The upshot was I got some great pictures and experienced many wonderful interactions.

The juxtaposition of teaching in geek conferences at one moment then suddenly finding myself on the streets of Cabo the next was invigorating. I think Neil Bauman, head geek who assembles these events, is on to something here. It's also a clever way to attend a conference and bring your partner -- claiming it's a true vacation.

Macworld Magazine is the primary sponsor for these events. I posted photo galleries for them on Tuesday and Friday. There, you can see images from both the conference side and while in port. You might also want to check out the blog posts from the Macworld editors. Lots of insightful info there.

My view of cruise vacations has certainly changed as a result of this experience. I think this is a creative, mind stimulating approach. The next two Macmania excursions are scheduled for July and the end of October. Something to think about...