Candidate Profile

Destinations & Ports
History - Classical
Marcus Sherwood graduated from the University of Manchester with an Honours degree in Classics and went on to enjoy a successful career in education. He is an experienced and well respected speaker who has travelled widely in Europe as a teacher and lecturer in Classical History. Since his retirement he has enjoyed lecturing on cruise ships, both as a Classical Historian and as a Destination Lecturer.

His special enthusiasm and expertise is in tracing the influence of ancient civilizations on our modern culture, and bringing this alive to his audience. Marcus is passionate about the real history and legacy of the past, including the Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians and Egyptians, but he also enjoys exploring the colourful myths, legends and artworks that have evolved over the centuries.

As Destination Lecturer Marcus draws on his many years of foreign travel and extensive knowledge of popular destinations to help cruise passengers get the very best out of their ports of call. His lively presentations cover history, geography and culture, along with useful information to help passengers enjoy fulfilling visits ashore.

Marcus is a popular and enthusiastic speaker, and in his lavishly illustrated presentations he engages his audiences with pace, passion and humour. At home he enjoys a range of active pursuits, including golf and choral singing. He also keeps fit by training for indoor rowing competitions; he has been European champion, a national record holder, and is currently British champion in the Masters category.


1. What have the Romans ever done for us?
It is commonly accepted that our Western civilisation is indebted to the Ancient World of the Mediterranean in many ways. But what is the real legacy of the Romans? This lecture examines the major aspects of Roman civilisation which laid the foundations for our own way of life. In areas including law, medicine, hygiene, civil engineering, viticulture, education and language, we can trace our own practices back to the origins, development and knowledge provided by the Romans.

2. Caesar and Cleopatra
The Romans successfully conquered and dominated the Western Mediterranean, founding a mighty empire and reshaping Europe. This is the story of Julius Caesar, arguably the most famous of those conquerors, whose military campaigns changed the map of Europe for ever. Much more than an outstanding general, he brought to Rome a revolution in science, art and architecture, and his life marked the turning point in Rome’s history from Republic to Empire. Also a serial philanderer, his story is completed by his encounter with the remarkable legendary beauty, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, who was the cause of his ultimate downfall.

3. Foundation to Empire
The renowned poet Vergil wrote the pre-eminent work of Roman literature, his epic poem the Aeneid, and dedicated his magnum opus to his patron, the first Roman emperor Augustus. This lecture describes how Vergil cleverly traced the origins of Rome, and his emperor’s ancestry, through the travels and adventures of its hero Aeneas, a Trojan prince escaping the destruction of Troy. These colourful tales, from the famous love story of Dido and Aeneas to the fierce battles for supremacy in Italy, contribute much to our understanding of the Roman passion for conflict, their love of gladiatorial combat, and their reverence for their warring gods.

4. Dionysus, God of wine, women and song
This entertaining lecture looks at the significance of the Greek God Dionysus (Roman Bacchus) in the development of viticulture and wine drinking for health and pleasure. The celebration of this god also led to the evolution of the Greek and Roman Theatre and Drama.

5. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
This lecture traces the origins of this famous list and describes the history of each of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, mighty constructions designed in man’s bid for a measure of immortality.

6. Mediterranean: the "Middle Sea"
The Mediterranean Sea was a major influence on the cultures of the ancient civilizations located around its shores. The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used the “Middle Sea” for trade, colonization and war. This lecture provides an introduction to those four civilizations and describes how this mighty waterway influenced the course of their histories, customs and culture.

7. Carthage
The Phoenicians established at Carthage in Tunisia one of the most powerful states and commercial centres in the ancient Mediterranean. From the story of Dido and Aeneas to the battles of Hannibal and his elephants, this lecture describes the legacy of the Phoenicians and their conflict with the Romans.

8. Byzantium - The Lost Empire
The Byzantine Empire flourished for more than a thousand years, yet its history has been suppressed in the West. This lecture explores the emergence of Byzantium as one of the most powerful economic, cultural and military forces in Europe.

9. The first Odyssey and other tales
The term “Odyssey”, implying an adventurous journey, is derived from Homer’s epic poem telling the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the siege of Troy. This lecture, marrying legend and history, traces the extensive influence of this story on later art and literature, its inspiration for other explorers, and its particular significance to the Romans in the story of the foundation of their city.

10. The Athenian Empire
The emergence of Athens in the 5th century BC as the leading city in Greece is often described as the Golden Age. In a remarkably short space of time this single city spread its influence across the Mediterranean and nurtured some of the world’s most remarkable artistic achievements in architecture, sculpture and literature. This was the age of the Parthenon in Athens, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the age of the statesmen Pericles and Themistocles, of the dramatists Sophocles and Euripides, and of the philosopher Socrates. This lecture describes how and why Athens rose to such pre-eminence, and the conditions that lead to such a burgeoning of talent in so many cultural and intellectual fields.

11. Hercules – Man or Superman?
The Twelve Labours of Hercules were scattered around the Mediterranean, and these mythological events are commemorated in a variety of real locations. This lecture recounts these stories and their connections to locations such as the straits of Gibraltar and other popular ports.

12. Troy – Myth or History?
The legend of the Trojan War has been an inspiration to story-tellers, poets, artists and film-makers throughout the ages. This lecture investigates how much truth lies behind the myth, and how the development of archaeology has aided our understanding of remote events.

13. Olympic Games – the Ancient World
This popular lecture traces the origin, history and events of the Olympic Games in the Ancient World, a sporting and religious occasion celebrated by Mediterranean athletes for over 1000 years.

14. Olympic Games – the Modern revival 1896 - 1936
The second lecture on this theme tells the story of the revival of the Olympic Games in the 19th century and its growth in the 20th century culminating in the notorious "Hitler" Games.

15. Olympic Games – the Modern revival 1948 - 2016
The third lecture on this theme follows the story of the revival of the Olympic Games after WW2, and its development until the present day.

Northern Europe

16. The Baltic Sea
Describes the formation and geography of this inland sea, its great bays, rivers, islands and ports.

17. Tales of the Baltic
Describes major episodes and personalities in the history of the nations around the Baltic Sea.

18. Vikings!
Traces the spread of Viking exploration, conquest and culture across Europe and the Western world.

19. Stavanger: A Fishy Story
Discover the history of a port that has exploited the sea in very different ways.

20. Bergen: Harbour of History
Learn the history of a town founded almost a thousand years ago, a focus of trade and conflict.

21. Alesund: The Art Nouveau Town
Hear about the rebirth of Alesund after a disastrous fire, becoming the leading centre of Art Nouveau in Norway.

22. The Faroes: Islands of Sheep
Discover the origin and development of The Faroes and why they are called the Islands of Sheep.

Caribbean and South America

23. The Age of Discovery
The voyages of the great explorers from Europe to the Americas, including Christopher Columbus.

24. The Slave Trade
An account of slavery in the Western World and the extensive use of slaves on sugar plantations in the West Indies and South America.

25. Pirates!
A short history of Piracy from ancient times to the Vikings and the infamous Pirates of the Caribbean.

26. Charles Darwin and the Voyages of HM Beagle
Hear the story of Charles Darwin, the 19th C naturalist, geologist and biologist who revolutionized theories of evolution.

27. The Falkland Story
Investigate the issues surrounding the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands by discovering the history of their colonization.

28. Cape Horn, the Ultimate Challenge
Discover the challenge of sailing around Cape Horn, the southern headland of South America, known as the End of the World.

Far East

29. Cambodia: legacy of the Khmer Empire
Hear the story of Cambodia from the Khmer Empire to the Khmer Rouge

30. The Kingdom of Thailand
Explore the history of the Kingdom of Thailand and the development of Bangkok

31. Singapore: the Raffles story
Discover the story of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and the founding of Singapore

32. Kuala Lumpur: a world–beating cityscape
Review the development of Kuala Lumpur, from Muddy Waters to the Petronas Towers

33. Chennai: city of the British Raj
Explore the history of Chennai and life under the British Raj

34. Victory in Japan Day
Mark the anniversary of VJ Day and trace the world changing events leading up to it.

All lectures are well illustrated through PowerPoint
Contracts completed with Crystal, Fred Olsen, P&O, Saga, Thomson, Viking and Voyages of Discovery in Mediterranean, Red Sea, Baltic, Atlantic, North Sea and Caribbean.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Mars MA220818 Iceland's Majestic Landscapes 12 Reykjavik Thursday, August 18, 2022
Viking Sea SE220606 Empires of the Mediterranean 9 Venice Monday, June 6, 2022
Viking Sea SE220415 Empires of the Mediterranean 9 Venice Friday, April 15, 2022
Viking Sea SE220403 Mediterranean Odyssey 12 Barcelona Sunday, April 3, 2022
Viking Sea SE211011 Empires of the Mediterranean 9 Piraeus (Athens) Monday, October 11, 2021
Viking Sea SE211001 Greek Odyssey 10 Piraeus (Athens) Friday, October 1, 2021
Viking Jupiter JU200210 South America & the Chilean Fjords 17 Buenos Aires Monday, February 10, 2020
Viking Sky SK191120 Cities of Antiquity & the Holy Land 14 Piraeus (Athens) Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Spirit of Discovery SD008 Myths & Legends of the Baltic 14 Dover Thursday, September 12, 2019
Viking Sun SU171215 The Viking World Cruise 2017 - 2018 140 Miami, Florida Friday, December 15, 2017
Viking Star ST170909 Viking Homelands 14 Stockholm Saturday, September 9, 2017
Saga Pearl 11 P2169 Northern Lights Adventure 15 Southampton Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Viking Star ST170215 West Indies Explorer 10 San Juan Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Viking Star ST170205 West Indies Explorer 10 San Juan Sunday, February 5, 2017
Viking Sea SE160916 Empires of the Mediterranean 9 Venice Friday, September 16, 2016
Viking Sea SE160904 Mediterranean Odyssey 12 Barcelona Sunday, September 4, 2016
Viking Sea SE160904A Catalonia to Greece 21 Barcelona Sunday, September 4, 2016
Saga Pearl 11 P2150 Flavours of France and Spain 14 Southampton Friday, April 22, 2016
Viking Star ST160221 Grand Mediterannean Tour 14 Barcelona Sunday, February 21, 2016
Saga Pearl 11 P2145 Continental Christmas Markets 5 Southampton Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Crystal Serenity V5326 Magical Mediterranean 12 Monte Carlo Sunday, October 25, 2015
Viking Star ST150915 Mediterranean Odyssey 12 Barcelona Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Viking Star ST150903 Mediterranean Odyssey 12 Venice Thursday, September 3, 2015