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Dan Benedict literally cruises through life.  He has cruised to Antarctica to see the glaciers and the penguins…. to Iceland and Greenland to see the spectacular Northern Lights…  to Sydney, Australia for the Olympic Games … and in 2001, he was in the South China Sea for the “Leonid” meteor storm which was expected to be the best meteor storm in the next hundred years.

Of the 152 countries that are reachable by ocean-going ships, Dan has sailed to 81 of them.

And what’s even more amazing is the price tag for all of Dan’s cruising…

There isn’t one.  All 81 cruises were free. 

“I kind of came in through the back door,” says Dan.  “Actually the first time I was on a cruise ship, I was on assignment doing a newspaper article and I thought, boy, I really like this.”  

The next year he received an invitation to give a lecture on astronomy aboard the ship…  and he’s been cruising ever since.  

Is Dan’s degree in astronomy?

No, his background is in education and communication.  But his hobby is astronomy and that’s what gets him on the boat.

And there are plenty of other options for folks wanting to break into the cruise ship circuit.

For example, if your field of expertise is interior design, you could do the same thing – exchange a presentation on Art Deco, shopping at flea markets, and what to look for in antique stores, focusing on the destinations passengers will be visiting for a free cruise.

Or if you’re an artist, you could talk about drawing, painting, photography, scrapbooking or sculptures.

Not a hobbyist?  Cruise ships need doctors, lawyers, dancers, massage therapists, yoga instructors, golf instructors, and surfers, too.
They also need people who can talk about card games, flying planes, cooking and barbecue.

Whatever specialty you choose, you should know that your work days won’t be long.  “I work on the days we are at sea – usually for about 45 minutes each day,” says Dan.  “And, I get port days off.  You know, 45 minutes is not a bad work day.”

What’s more… Dan has always been able to bring along a guest, free of charge. And he even profits from his trips, taking advantage of the experience by not only lecturing on board, but also writing travel articles about each destination.

“I consider the time I spend visiting the ports as research,” explains Dan.  “I can always find something interesting to write about from my experiences.”

Dan’s articles have been published in The (Trenton, N.J.) Times and Cruise Critic, as well as many other publications.

Not only has he seen parts of the world he would never have been able to see on his regular income, but he really enjoys what he does.  

So Dan’s our inspiration for this week.  Stay tuned for more details about cruising for free and what others are doing to see the world by cruise ship without charge.

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