History buffs and those who want to learn about war-time history in lesser known battlefields, can book an inaugural Mat McLachlan WW2 history cruise to Papua New Guinea.
The 10-night cruise on P&O Pacific Dawn is an exclusive collaboration of Mat McLachlan, Cruiseco and P&O Cruises which departs from Brisbane on 26 August 2020. Prices start from $2599 per person, twin share for an interior room. Only 200 cabins are available.
The cruise hosted by Mr McLachlan and three leading historians will take history-loving passengers on a tailored-made itinerary with lectures, panel discussions, workshops and shore excursions to experience first-hand war monumental sites such as Milne Bay and Rabaul.
Mr McLachlan is an expert battlefield historian and authority on the wars on the Western Front, Gallipoli, the Pacific battlefields of WW2, the Vietnam War and Normandy landing beaches. He has written several history books including Walking with the Anzacs and Gallipoli.
“No one nation embraces its war-time history like Australians. The Anzac legend inspires across generations and we are seeing a growing interest to learn about and visit lesser known and harder to reach battlefields, such as Papua New Guinea,” Mr McLachlan said.
“We are focused on providing a personalised and enriching conference-cruise experience. Our historians will be on board providing plenty of opportunities for one to one discussions. We are also inviting all guests with ancestors who fought in New Guinea to advise us so that historians can identify sites of personal significance – such as the battlefield where a grandfather fought or a grave where a loved one is buried,” he added.
Cruiseco CEO Amanda McClelland said: “Themed cruises are growing in popularity and we are very excited to partner with Australia’s leading battlefield tour company to launch the Mat McLachlan WW2 History Cruise, which we expect to be very popular among cruisers and non-cruisers alike.”
Onboard programs will also include interactive workshops on how to research a lost relative.
Highlights of the cruise will be shore excursions to Milne Bay which was a key strategic location for WW2 in the Pacific. Australian troops arrived in Milne Bay in 1942 to work with American soldiers and carved roads and three airstrips out of jungle and swamp. For the Japanese, it was essential to claim the Bay back to progress their takeover of the island and Port Moresby. On 25 August, 2000 Japanese marines attacked the Allied base and the ensuing battle lasted three weeks with the Allies claiming victory. Today remnants of the Japanese landing barges used in the battle can still be seen.
Rabaul was the scene of Australia’s first battle in World War 1. It was captured by the Japanese in WW2 and was turned into a fortress. The massive military complex served over 97,000 soldiers. To guard against air attacks, the Japanese dug 800 kilometres of tunnels to house barracks, storehouses and a hospital. Today, the tunnels still snake under the island.
The historians who will lead the lectures, discussions and shore excursions are Dr Karl James, the head of military history at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra; Gary McKay, a Vietnam War veteran is a battlefield guide and history author; David Howell is a historian, author and tour guide. He has made over 50 crossings of the Kokoda Track.