The official luxury cruise line of the RCGS

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The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Cunard®: both proud custodians of storied pasts. The RCGS, founded in 1929 by Canadian geologist and explorer Charles Camsell along with 27 others who shared his vision to champion Canada’s immense geography. Cunard, founded in 1829 by Halifax-born entrepreneur Sir Samuel Cunard — whose statue now stands in the Atlantic city’s port — after winning the contract to bring mail from England to North America aboard the RMS Britannia®. That transatlantic service continues on Cunard’s flagship, RMS Queen Mary 2®.

From those beginnings crossing the vast waters that separate Europe and North America, Cunard has continued to pioneer on its journey to becoming one of the world’s premier luxury cruise lines. At various points, Cunard ships have been wooden-hulled, paddle steamers and iron-hulled and have served in wars, hosted prime ministers and feted royalty. In 1881, SS Servia became the first ship to introduce rooms ‘en suite.’ A year later, the Parthia Evening Post became the first known example of a ship’s newspaper. In 1893, Cunard became the first to introduce refrigeration at sea. The list goes on, with Cunard introducing, at different points, the first ships to have bridal suites, gymnasiums, health spas, on-board branches of Harrods, Planetariums and theatre boxes. 

Both the RCGS and Cunard have come a long way, and today both share core principles, geography, and the desire to explore and understand Canada’s lands and cultures. 

The Society will partner with Cunard through their Insights enrichment program on their Alaska voyages — out of Vancouver — and New England voyages — out of New York. Through this partnership, the Society aims not only to explore the beauty and rich culture of these regions, but to educate guests during their time aboard Queen Elizabeth®RCGS Speakers will include explorers, naturalists, geographical experts, Indigenous advocates — and all of them adventurers.


RCGS Speakers

Experience Cunard Onboard Enrichment


RCGS CEO John Geiger aboard the Queen Mary 2 in Quebec City.
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“RCGS Speakers is an exciting onboard enrichment programme. I’ve personally had the pleasure of sailing aboard three of the Cunard ‘Queens,’ including Queen Victoria’s first transatlantic crossing, and without exaggeration, they are the most beautiful ships plying the ocean today. I look forward to rediscovering the Queens during the 2023 Alaska season, and am so excited for others to experience that legendary Cunard White-Star hospitality as we build this partnership over the coming years.”

—John Geiger, CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society


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Brian and his wife Dee have been leading wilderness adventures with small groups for nearly four decades, traveling to all seven continents. Both have had a lifelong keen interest in the biological world, and their expeditions have all focused on nature. 

Dee pursued a career in medicine, working as a family doctor for 25 years. She balanced her time between looking after patients and leading trips with Brian. She retired 10 years ago to work full time with him on pursuing their nature guiding lifestyle.

Brian’s 30-year career at the Calgary Zoo was split between being the Director of Education and Director of Conservation. For over 20 years, he was a part-time Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary. Presently, he’s the owner of and co-producer of

Brian is a weekly guest naturalist on Calgary’s CBC Radio, and for many years, was a regular guest on the Discovery and National Geographic channels, using much of his own wilderness adventures and wildlife films to tell stories about the value and importance of nature. He’s in high demand as an international speaker, presenting at some 40 events a year.

Drew Feustel for Queen’s College at the NASA Rocket Park on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.
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Drew Feustel

Drew Feustel is a professional astronaut who served for 23 years with NASA. He has flown to space three times, was Commander of the International Space Station (ISS) during his 197 day mission to the ISS in 2018, and was promoted to Deputy Chief of the NASA Astronaut Office in 2020, and acting Chief Astronaut in November 2022. Drew has conducted 9 spacewalks in the vacuum of space and is third among all U.S. space walkers for aggregate EVA time. At NASA, Drew was instrumental in the selection of the Artemis II crew and the development of several Astronaut candidates. He also has extensive experience supporting private astronaut missions to ISS, development of surface exploration suits and systems, and managing risk within the human space program.

Prior to joining NASA in 2000, Drew worked for the Exxon Mobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas, as an Exploration Geophysicist, designing and providing operational oversight of land, marine and borehole seismic programs worldwide. During his Ph.D. studies at Queen’s University from 1991-1995, Drew worked as a Geophysicist for the Engineering Seismology Group, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, installing and operating microseismic monitoring systems in underground mines throughout Eastern Canada and the United States. He attended Purdue University, Indiana, for his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Geology and Geophysics. Prior to university, Drew attended community college in Michigan and worked as a Certified Mechanic restoring antique Jaguars at an automotive restoration facility.

“If more people could see Earth from space we would all treat each other, and our planet with greater respect.” —A.J. (Drew) Feustel

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Russell Potter

Internationally known for his books and lectures about the lost Franklin Arctic expedition of 1845, Russell Potter has been researching the history of the expedition and those who searched for it for more than 25 years. Among his books are Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture (2007), Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search (2016), and (as editor) May We Be Spared to Meet on Earth: Letters of the Lost Franklin Arctic Expedition (2022). He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a member of the Arctic Institute of North America, and teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island (USA).

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Patricia Sims

From swimming with wild dolphins and whales to getting up close and personal with elephants in Thailand, award-winning Canadian filmmaker and RCGS Fellow Patricia Sims has always kept a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia has directed documentaries around the world from the Arctic to the tropics, focusing on stories that merge art, science, and the relationships between humans and animals. Her documentaries have been seen on CBC, Documentary Channel, CityTV, BellMedia, TELUS, YLE, ARTE, Discovery Channel, TVAsahi, NHK, NHK BS2, TBS, and shown at the United Nations University.

Patricia founded World Elephant Day August 12, 2012, a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. She did this while living in Thailand, where she produced and directed two award-winning documentaries about the plight of the endangered Asian elephant: 30-minute documentary Return to the Forest and feature-length documentary When Elephants Were Young, both narrated by William Shatner.

As a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Patricia looks forward to sharing her experiences through volunteering as an RCGS Travel Ambassador.

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George Kourounis

George Kourounis has a passion for the Earth’s extremes. He is an explorer, storm chaser, TV host, and Explorer-In-Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He specializes in documenting forces of nature, extreme weather, in wild, remote places with his adventures spanning over 80 countries and all 7 continents. For 25 years he has chased tornadoes, driven into the eye of hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy and rappelled deep into the crater of an actively erupting volcano. Kourounis is best known for hosting 50 episodes of his own globe-trotting TV series Angry Planet.

Join George Kourounis on this 10 night Alaska voyage, calling at Sitka, Skagway, Juneau, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. Find yourself immersed in Alaska’s world of ice and water, where glaciers dominate the landscape and the echoes of gold rush fever still linger in the frontier-style buildings lining the streets.

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Dr. Lynn Moorman

Dr. Lynn Moorman is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where she teaches physical geography, geomorphology, advanced digital mapping, and geospatial technologies. Her research interests lie at the intersection of physical geography, learning sciences, and applied geospatial and visualization technology, including virtual and augmented reality.

Join Dr. Lynn Moorman on this 11 night Alaska voyage, calling at Sitka, Haines, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan and Victoria. Be transported back through time in gold rush towns, and to the edge of the world as you know it, as you sail through fjords flanked by frozen rivers and icy glaciers that defy imagination.

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Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth is one of the world’s premier underwater explorers, and the first person to dive inside iceberg caves. An acclaimed polar explorer, cave diver, author, speaker, filmmaker and climate advocate, Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She leads expeditions into extreme environments to advance scientific and geographic knowledge. Her bestselling book INTO THE PLANET – My Life as a Cave Diver has drawn acclaim from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and O Magazine.

Join Jill Heinerth on this 10-night Alaska voyage that cruises through Glacier Bay National Park and alongside Hubbard Glacier, calling at Sitka, Skagway, Endicott Arm, Ketchikan and Victoria. Glaciers as tall as skyscrapers and towns sprung from gold rush fever provide a window into Alaska’s icy world.

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David Gray

With three decades of experience as a journalist, CBC Radio host David Gray has filed stories from around the world, focusing on Europe and North America. Based in Calgary, David is an avid adventurer, diver, skier, and cyclist. David, a Fellow of the RCGS, has traveled by sea with the RCGS in the Eastern Arctic and Atlantic Canada (including a particularly memorable excursion to Sable Island). He also hosted a conversation with a prestigious panel of Indigenous leaders at the 2018 Fellows Dinner at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, and a more informal gathering of Western-based Fellows at McDougall Center in Calgary.

Join David Gray on this 10 night Alaska voyage, calling at Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. 
Follow in the footsteps of gold prospectors and sail in the shadows of glaciers as you explore Alaska’s frontier-style towns and icy waterways on this roundtrip cruise from Vancouver.

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Joseph Frey

Joseph has travelled to over 80 countries and all seven continents participating in numerous expeditions including NOAA’s Battle of the Atlantic marine archaeology survey of the German submarine U-576. Fascinated by polar sciences, Joseph has taken part in expeditions to the Antarctic, Greenland and across the Canadian High Arctic. Joseph is Vice-President, Board of Governors of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, as well as Chair, College of Fellows.

Join Joseph Frey on this 12 night Alaska voyage, departing from Vancouver, that calls at Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan and Victoria. Be charmed by Ketchikan’s colorful totem poles, keep a watchful eye for humpback whales, and absorb the splendor of skyscraper-tall glaciers, as you cruise through Alaska’s icy fjords on Queen Elizabeth.

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