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A Higher Purpose on the High Seas

Speaking in Tongues: Language
Master the local lingo by the time you disembark in Montevideo or Marseilles—without paying extra. Crystal's Symphony offers Spanish and French courses on any leg of its 104-day world cruise. Eighteen-day segments from $7,835 per person, double; 800/820-6663; www.crystalcruises.com. • On Holland America's 108-day world cruise, Spanish, French, and, of course, Dutch classes are open to all guests. Sixteen-day segments from $6,289 per person, double; 877/724-5425; www.hollandamerica.com.

That's Entertainment: Speakers
Special guests are a component of most cruises—from entertainers (Alan Arkin, Regis Philbin, and Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers will be sailing on upcoming Seabourn excursions) to composers (A Chorus Line's Marvin Hamlisch is appearing on Crystal) to experts in their fields (astronaut Scott Carpenter, James Billington of the Library of Congress, and historian Sergei Khrushchev—the son of former Soviet premier Nikita—are participating in Royal Olympic's Enrichment Series). Travel Dynamics International (TDI), a small-ship company, emphasizes educational itineraries led by seasoned lecturers. Aboard the new 92-passenger Sun Bay, TDI runs the program Coexistence of Cultures and Faiths, with talks on Christianity, Islam, and Judaism on its Seville—Morocco—Seville sailing, March 19 through 30. It's led by Reverend James Parks Morton, Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf, and Rabbi Leonard A. Schoolman. Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel and CNN's Jeff Greenfield are heading a similar series November 5 through 16. $6,295 per person, double; 800/257-5767; www.classicalcruises.com

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