Cunard has announced an exciting new line-up for Alaska 2023's ‘Insights’ enrichment program with one of the most recognized personalities of outdoor adventure – Bear Grylls OBE – headlining the season.
Grylls will be joining Queen Elizabeth's maiden 2023 Alaska voyage, roundtrip out of Vancouver on June 8, where he will share his experiences as one of the youngest climbers of Mount Everest, bestselling author, TV presenter, and all-round adventurer. This will be Bear's first appearance on a cruise ship and the first time he returns to Alaska since his memorable visit with President Barack Obama in 2015.
Guests aboard this 12-night voyage will experience the stunning Glacier Bay National Park, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Hubbard Glacier, with port calls in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and more. Award-winning naturalist Dr. Rachel Cartwright and a Cultural Heritage Guide from Alaska Native Voices will also be featured on this voyage as guests luxuriate on Queen Elizabeth through the breath-taking landscape of Alaska.
Cunard will offer six additional voyages in the region throughout June, July and August, each showcasing a different explorer as part of the ‘Insights’ Program.
Guests will have the opportunity to hear from marine archaeologist Mensun Bound, known for his recent discovery of Shackleton's ship Endurance; British mountaineer Kenton Cool, who has summited Mount Everest 15 times, including leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ben Fogle in their respective expeditions; Ann Daniels, one of Britain's leading Polar explorers and the first woman in history to ski to the North and South Poles as part of an all-women team; and Felicity Aston MBE, polar scientist turned explorer, award-winning author, TV presenter and world-record holder for being the first woman to ski alone across the Antarctic.
"I've been a fan of Bear Grylls since Man vs Wild and I'm thrilled that our guests will be able to see him live on Queen Elizabeth next year," said Matt Gleaves, VP of Commercial for Cunard in North America and Australasia. "Alaska is all about exploration and our line-up of world-class pioneers will bring the adventure onboard; it will be an experience not found anywhere else."
The full line-up of onboard Insights speakers in Alaska 2023 include:
Bear Grylls (June 8)
Bear Grylls is probably the most recognizable face of adventure on the planet. The former 21 SAS soldier was one of the youngest climbers of Mount Everest, despite breaking his back in a free-fall accident only months earlier. Bear's TV shows include the legendary Discovery show Man Vs Wild and the hit show Running Wild with Bear Grylls, now in its seventh season on National Geographic Channel. His Running Wild guests have included President Obama (in Alaska), Roger Federer, Julia Roberts, Prime Minister Modi of India and most recent Hollywood stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.
Bear is a family man, a bestselling author who has sold over 20 million books, the Honorary Colonel to the British Royal Marine Commandos, and the first-ever Chief Ambassador to 55 million young Scouts worldwide.
Kenton Cool (June 20 and 30)
Kenton Cool is an English mountaineer and mountain guide. He is one of Britain's leading alpine and high-altitude climbers and has summited Mount Everest 15 times, including leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes' 2008 and 2009 expeditions and Ben Fogle's 2019 expedition.
He has completed over 20 notable expeditions in the Greater Ranges and in 2013, became the first person to climb Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse in a single push without returning to base camp. He has also skied two 26,000-foot mountains and guided a successful expedition to the summit of K2. He has also led expeditions through Alaska including North America's highest peak, Mount McKinley.
Pen Hadow (July 7)
Explorer and Adventurer Pen Hadow was catapulted to international fame when he became the first and only person to complete one of the last great polar challenges - solo, without re-supply, from Canada to the North Pole. It took him three attempts over 15 years to achieve this single feat at the 'bleeding edge of exploration'. Pen has a strong connection with Alaska in his adventures, including attempting to sail to the North Pole from Nome, Alaska.
Ann Daniels (July 17)
Ann Daniels is one of Britain's leading Polar explorers. In 2002 Ann became a world record holder when she reached the North Pole despite unbelievable arctic conditions and became the first woman in history to ski to the North and South Poles as part of an all women team. This journey has never been repeated.
In 2009, Ann took part in the first Catlin Arctic Survey over a period of 100 days, 1000km crossing of the ice cap in temperatures as low as -58ºF. The survey set off from Alaska, walking, skiing and on occasion swimming stretches of open water to reach the North Geographic Pole. Ann is described by The Daily Telegraph as one of the top 20 Great British Adventurers of all time.
Felicity Aston (July 27)
Felicity Aston MBE is a Polar Scientist turned Explorer. In 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across the Antarctic, a 1744km/1084m journey that took her 59 days and entered her in the Guinness Book of World Records. She has also created and led record-making ski expeditions to both the North and South Geographic Poles with international teams of pioneering women; skied frozen rivers and lakes in Siberia; driven 2,236 miles to the Pole of Cold (the coldest inhabited place on Earth); flown across the U.S. in an airship; and run the Marathon Des Sables footrace in the Sahara. An award-winning author of three books, professional speaker, and occasional TV presenter, in 2016 Felicity retraced the route of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush and spent time mining for gold in Alaska and the Yukon to co-present a series for the BBC.
Mensun Bound (August 7)
Known as the "Indiana Jones of the Deep," Mensun Bound has conducted wreck surveys and excavations all over the world in a career that spans 40 years. During that time, he excavated one of the oldest known shipwrecks (600 BC). In 2019 Bound stunned the world with his discovery of Admiral von Spee's flagship, Scharnhorst, which had been lost in battle during WWI. That same year Bound was Director of Exploration for the first search to find Shackleton's ship Endurance. In 2022 the search resumed and on March 5 the Endurance was found and, as predicted by Bound, it was upright, largely intact, proud of the seabed in an excellent state of preservation.
For more information about Cunard, visit www.cunard.com.