m/s Paul Gauguin

Guest Hosts

Dan Benedict


Journalist Dan Benedict has been writing and lecturing about astronomy aboard cruise ships since being asked to cover an eclipse cruise in 1998, and the intervening years have sent him to astronomical events from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica. He specializes in writing and speaking about items of interest to the casual stargazing passenger that can be easily seen with the unaided eye, such as the appearance of planets, bright stars and their constellations, satellites, meteor showers, and eclipses. He has written astronomy articles for Porthole and shipboard magazines, features for CruiseCritic.com, and a weekly astronomy column for twelve years for The Times of Trenton, New Jersey.

Dan points out that “one of the biggest problems for land-based stargazers is light pollution – unwanted artificial light from buildings, street lights, advertising signs, and other sources – that hides the dimmer sights in the night sky. It’s tough to find a truly dark sky anywhere any more. Many people have never even noticed the Milky Way. But when you are on a ship, you may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the nearest sources of light pollution and air pollution, and you get views of the sky like no place ashore.”

Join us aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin’s as this astronomy expert offers three presentations:

  • “Captain Cook and the Transit of Venus”
  • “Stargazing aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin” (what you’ll see on your specific voyage)
  • “Polynesian Wayfinding: Sailing to Tiny Islands in a Great, Big Ocean”
  • And a special presentation about astronomy in the Southern Hemisphere

He will also lead 30- to 60-minute nighttime star watches that involve identifying the planets, bright stars and constellations (especially those not visible from most of North America and Europe, such as the Southern Cross and alpha Centauri), and other interesting celestial objects visible to the naked eye.

other guest hosts appearing on the m/s Paul Gauguin

Guest Hosts

Classical Musicians
January 22, 2022

Kai Gleusteen and Catherine Ordronneau have established themselves as one of the most important European violin and piano duos since they began working together in 1999. 

Art History Professor
Multiple sailings

Acclaimed academic, Fulbright scholar, author, teacher, lecturer, and art historian and curator Caroline Boyle-Turner is a perennially popular guest host aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. Join us aboard as she enriches your appreciation for our ship’s namesake and his circle of friends.

Owner/Winemakers, Pfeiffer Winery and Vineyards
June 25, 2022

Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer are the owners and winemakers of Pfeiffer Winery and Vineyards, an ultra-premium, sustainable, 70-acre vineyard with an international reputation for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Enjoy a wine lecture and a tasting of Pfeiffer Winery wines when Robin and Danuta join us aboard The Gauguin.

Food & Wine
Dr. Lindsay Whaley and Dr. Charles Urbanowicz, Smithsonian Journeys
September 7, 2022

Join the Tuamotus & the Society Islands itinerary on September 7, 2022, to experience two very special Smithsonian Journeys Experts on language and anthropology in the South Pacific. when Dr. Lindsay Whaley and Dr. Charles Urbanowicz join us aboard The Gauguin.

Distinguished Professor of Cultural Geography
September 24, 2022

The University Distinguished Professor of Cultural Geography at Western Kentucky University, Dr. David Keeling has visited more than 185 countries and studied a wide range of topics, from the geography of exploration and discovery to socio-economic change. Join us aboard The Gauguin as he shares his expertise in a series of fascinating lectures.