Candidate Profile

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History - Maritime
Franz Schneider enjoys giving talks on cruise ships because of his love of the sea. Onboard, Franz will give talks about maritime topics (ocean liners, ocean racing, and navigation) as well as several topics of general interest. Franz’s first voyage was as a child on the Queen of Bermuda, starting his passion for ocean liners. He gives a talk about some of those experiences, including passages on the last two liners powered by steam: the Norway (built as the France), and the Regent Sun (built as the Shalom). He also gives a talk about Cunard’s Legendary Queens.

A sailor all his life, Franz became active in ocean racing as a teenager. He sailed many thousands of miles with Ted Turner, starting with races from Bermuda to Denmark in 1966, and from California to Honolulu in 1967. In the 1970s, Franz was Turner’s navigator in many ocean races including the classic Newport to Bermuda, and Miami to Montego Bay races. He was also the founder of Landfall Navigation, a firm that offers navigational supplies and services.

When not at sea, Franz has a dual career as an academic and a professional money manager. A holder of three degrees from Harvard University, he has taught there since 2001— most recently teaching courses about Psychopaths and Law & Psychology. He holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. For the past 28 years, he has also been a private trustee as well as a registered investment advisor.



The Bermuda Triangle: Myths and Realities
The public has long been fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle— a vast area of ocean in which all sorts of strange things have happened to ships and airplanes. Franz Schneider will describe some of the incidents attributed to the Bermuda Triangle as we sail through these waters. He will discuss some of the real phenomena that can present a challenge, and will also explore some of the myths that continue in the public mind.

Avoiding Disaster — Starting with the Titanic
The public has long been fascinated with disasters. For many, it is not because of morbid curiosity, but rather a desire to understand why they occurred, and how the risk of future disasters might be reduced. In this talk, Franz will describe some of these disasters, starting with the sinking of the Titanic, and ending with the Challenger space shuttle. How did these terrible events happen, and what was learned in their aftermath?

Making it to the Finish Line
The huge group of Americans known as “baby boomers” are now about to retire— if they haven’t already. As they contemplate their golden years in a time of increasing lifespans, they often worry about possibly out-living their assets; and if they don’t, what will happen to those assets. In this talk, Franz will summarize some key aspects of estate planning, including taking steps to ensure that the disposition of those assets honor your wishes. Franz will also discuss strategies to preserve the value of your assets against the corrosive effect of inflation, and will describe investment vehicles that may boost your income without taking on excessive risk— including convertible securities, real estate investment trusts, and master limited partnerships. The goal of this talk is to identify the tools that will ensure that you make it to the finish line!

The Pan American Saga
At one time, Pan American was the world’s best known airline— having introduced air travel on a global scale while becoming the “world’s most experienced airline.” In this talk, Franz will relate the history of Pan Am and its famous founder— Juan Tripp, showing slides of its aircraft, including: the Boeing 707 that made flying across the Atlantic routine; and the Boeing 747, which created a mass market for air travel. We will see the devastating effect that Pan Am had on North Atlantic ocean liners, as well as how Pan Am fell victim to airline deregulation in the late 1970s.


A Life on Liners
As a child, Franz Schneider’s family often visited his grandmother in Bermuda. Their voyages on the classic liner Queen of Bermuda started Franz’s passion for ocean liners, and he will talk about some of those experiences. Other classic liners discussed in his talk are: the Queen Elizabeth 2, which Franz traveled on in her 1969 maiden year; the Regent Sun, originally built in 1964 as the Shalom; and the Norway, originally built as the France in 1962. The latter two ships were the last ocean liners powered by steam.

Cunard’s Legendary Queens
After crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat in 1966, the next voyage Franz Schneider took across the Atlantic was three years later aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2. When he met some of the deck officers, they were eager to hear what it was like on a sailboat out on the ocean, and he was fascinated by these officers’ life at sea. With the success of the QE2, Cunard regained its place at the pinnacle of ocean liners, as exemplified by the introduction of the Queen Mary 2, the last true ocean liner ever built. Through his voyages on the QE2 and other Cunard ships, Franz started exploring the rich history of the line. In this talk, Franz describes four legendary Cunard Queens, and he follows the careers that some of the young officers he met went on to have— becoming Captains, and Commodores of the Cunard fleet.


Ocean Racing with Ted Turner I – Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific
Franz Schneider started racing with Ted Turner in 1966 when Ted competed in a 3,600-mile race from Bermuda to Denmark with his Cal-40 yacht Vamp X. In this talk, Franz starts with a video clip taken aboard one of Ted’s yachts during the start of an ocean race. Then, a brief history will be given of how races across the Atlantic started in 1866, and have continued ever since. The primary focus of the talk is the 20-day race with Ted in 1966, along with some highlights from a race to Honolulu in 1967 in Ted’s yacht Vamoose.

Ocean Racing with Ted Turner II – The Bermuda & Jamaica races
Franz Schneider became Ted Turner’s ocean racing navigator, starting with the 1973 Miami to Montego Bay race in Ted’s one-tonner, Lightnin’. Franz will discuss why the Jamaica race became his favorite, navigating Ted’s winning performances in 1973, as well as in 1979 with Ted’s 61-foot sloop, Tenacious. Another favorite race is the legendary Newport to Bermuda race, and Franz will describe some of the most memorable Bermuda races that he participated in between 1964 and 1994. He will also talk about recently seeing Ted, who has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.

The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst
An extraordinary ocean race started in 1968—a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world race that offered a 5,000-pound prize to the winner. There were no eligibility requirements, and one of the nine starters was Donald Crowhurst, a businessman in his 30s with little ocean sailing experience. As the rugged conditions forced most of the competitors to withdraw from the race, Crowhurst’s survival strategy came to involve deception. As it looked like he might be the winner, he faced a moment of truth— which drove him to madness— with his voyage coming to a shocking conclusion. The story is now back in the public eye due to two recently released movies, Crowhurst released last year, and The Mercy, which stars Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.


The Art and Science of Navigation
As an experienced navigator, Franz Schneider will introduce passengers to navigation— setting out some basics, and then describing specific navigational techniques, starting with the most basic tools that Columbus used, and ending up with the present day’s high tech navigational systems. He will also present several navigation case studies, including the 1992 grounding of the Queen Elizabeth 2 near Martha’s Vineyard, which occurred due to an error of the local pilot.

Becoming a Navigator
Franz Schneider grew up in a sailing family and learned to sail as a child. Starting at age 12, he wanted to sail on the beautiful yachts that raced on the ocean. As a boy he discovered that one way to realize this dream was to learn navigation. In this talk Franz describes these early experiences which led to his racing to Bermuda when he was 16. In the 1970s, he started navigating winners in several classic ocean races. He continued navigating in Bermuda races through 1994, but by then the widespread use of the Global Positioning System had taken most of the fun out of being an ocean racing navigator.

The Vanishing Art of Celestial Navigation
Since the time of Columbus, mariners have used the sun, moon, stars, and planets to guide their voyages. With the mid-18th century development of accurate time-keeping devices that could go to sea, it became possible to navigate the world’s oceans with a precision of about one mile using celestial navigation. Indeed, until the first truly worldwide GPS system was introduced in the early 1990s, all ships—and many airplanes—still carried sextants when navigating far from land.


Cuba’s Beautiful Cars
Every time Franz Schneider visits Cuba, he is enchanted by the beautiful cars that are seen everywhere—many of them vintage 1950s American models. In this talk, Franz discusses these classic cars, showing pictures of each year’s distinctive models. He also tells how ingenious Cuban mechanics manage to keep these cars on the road, and shows video interviews with some of them.

Operation Mongoose: The CIA and Cuba
Starting with the Eisenhower administration, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency developed numerous operations aimed at bringing about the overthrow of the Castro regime. These efforts intensified under President Kennedy, and featured both ridiculous and deadly plans—none of which succeeded. However, some of those involved eventually figured in the assassination of JFK.

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Ten Days in October 1962
Under Khrushchev, the Soviet Union secretly installed medium-range nuclear weapons in Cuba. When the U.S. suddenly discovered the missile sites in October 1962, it led to a confrontation that tested the administration of President John F. Kennedy. During those ten days, the world came the closest it has ever been to a nuclear war.

In addition, Franz has given talks ashore on these topics that might be of interest aboard cruise ships:

- Psychopaths -- what they are and why, with some case studies

- All About Trusts – An introduction to estate planning

- Investments that can boost your income in retirement
No Cruise Experience details provided.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Sun Princess S004 Sector Indian Ocean & South Africa Odyssey Cruise Sector 13 Victoria, Mahe Saturday, February 8, 2020
Pacific Princess K922 17-Day Renaissance Explorer Cruise 18 Civitavecchia (for Rome) Thursday, December 5, 2019
Regal Princess G936 Caribbean Islander Cruise 10 New York Thursday, October 31, 2019
Crown Princess 3925 Western Europe Passage Cruise 16 Southampton Sunday, September 22, 2019
Emerald Princess E912 (partial) Spanish Passage Cruise 15 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Friday, May 3, 2019
Viking Sun SU181216 Mid Atlantic Crossing 11 Lisbon Sunday, December 16, 2018
Viking Star ST181115 Cultural Cuba 7 Miami, Florida Thursday, November 15, 2018
Viking Star ST181108 Cultural Cuba 7 Miami, Florida Thursday, November 8, 2018