Candidate Profile

Destinations & Ports
History - Art & Culture
History - General
Travel & Destinations
A native of San Francisco, Professor Pilant received his bachelor’s degree (political science – major – and philosophy – minor) at Loyola University of Chicago, and subsequently attended both the University of Illinois where he obtained his Master’s in Medieval and English Reformation history, and did studies at the University of Notre Dame and at the Rome Center of Loyola University.

After a teaching stint in Austin, Texas, Dr. Pilant moved to the Bronx, where he taught high school for seven years while he was obtaining a degree in educational administration and his doctorate in historical theology. He received his doctorate in 1997, and completed his studies at Fordham with the M.B.A. in marketing and information systems. Since that time, he has also participated in MOOC courses, most recently with the Università di Sapieza in Rome.

He has taught for over three decades at both Fordham University (NY) and Saint Peter’s University (NJ).

Since that time, Dr. Pilant has worked extensively in the field of enrollment management at several local graduate institutions of higher learning. He came to the County College of Morris with the rank of Assistant Professor in 2005, focusing on early and medieval European history. Since then he has also taught honors’ division courses, as well as Early Modern and Modern European history. He has also taught the History of Russia during the spring term for several years, and developed a course in Middle Eastern history. He was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in April 2011, and full Professor in 2017. He went on on sabbatical during the Spring of 2018. During that time, he worked on materials and talks dealing with European art history, as well as on the development of Christianity in the Mediterranean world.

Over the years Professor Pilant has had memberships in several professional societies, including the American Academy of Religion, the American Catholic Historical Society, and the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals. He has published several articles for edited essay collections, book reviews, and is working on research for several potential projects. He gives public talks on a variety of historical and cultural subjects, both at the County College of Morris and, since Fall of 2011, for the great Horizons Project, sponsored by the Morris School District. He has also done editorial work, creating instructor manuals and testing materials for Norton Publishers.

Professor Pilant has been an avid traveler, having spent part of his college senior year in Rome. Since 2010, he has given numerous presentations on cruise ships, dealing with art, culture, and history, on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and, most recently, Viking.

He has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the Bene Merenti award from Fordham University, as well as national recognition with the NISOD award from his tenure at the County College of Morris.
Cruise talks having been given in the past include:


Italian Art and Architecture
- Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo
- Michelangelo and his artistic temperament
- Why Michelangelo Matters
- Three Ages of Michelangelo
- Michelangelo's Rome
- Rome: City of Faith and Fountains
- Saint Peter's (San Pietro in Vaticano)
- The Development of Saint Peter's Square
- Venice - La Serenissima
- Five Venetian Churches Not to be Missed
- Ravenna: Byzantine Treasure

Antonin Gaudi
- The Barcelona of Antonio Gaudi
- The Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)

Late 19th/ Early 20th Century Art and Artists
- The late career of artist Vincent van Gogh in Provence
- Picasso and Matisse in the development of French art
- The Early Career of Picasso from Malaga to Paris
- Claude Monet and his Gardens at Giverny

Western Art History (General and Topical)
- Gothic Architecture: the First Cathedrals
- Romanesque Architecture
- Gothic Architecture
- Renaissance Architecture
- Ivan Mestrovic: The Rodin of Croatia
- A series on Modern art, including Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso

HISTORY (Cultural, Political, etc.)

Ancient Egypt/Alexander the Great
- Egypt: Gift of the Nile
- Egypt: The Pyramids
- Alexander and Alexandria
- A series on Egypt and its three kingdoms

Judeo-Christian History
- Three Patriarchs of Ancient Israel: Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph
- The Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam
- Constantine and the Challenge of Leadership

Greek and Middle Eastern History to 1500
- Hagia Sophia and ancient Constantinople
- Ancient Petra and the Nabateans
- Trade and the ancient World
- Greece: It all began with an apple
- Sex, Violence, and Destiny in Ancient Greece
- The Mysteries of the Parthenon
- The New Acropolis Museum
- Santorini: Living on the Edge
- The Mediterranean's Big Bang
- The Silk Road and Trade

Greece/Middle East since 1500
- The Empress Elisabeth of Austria and the Achilleion Palace (Corfu)
- The Suez Canal
- The Trucial States and the history of the Emirates

Ancient Rome and Pompeii
- The Origins of Ancient Rome
- Diocletian and the Division of the Roman Empire
- Pompeii: City in Cinders
- Everyday Life in Pompeii
- Ancient Split and the late career of the Emperor Diocletian

General Western European/Mediterranean History
- Sicily: What the Greeks (and Everyone Else) Left Behind
- Malta: Crossroads of the Mediterranean
- The Great Plague
- Prince Henry the Navigator and Portuguese Exploration
- Hemophilia: the Royal Disease
- A series on the French Revolution and its aftermath
- The history of Gibraltar

Italian History and Historical Sites
- Death in the Cathedral of Florence, concerning the murder of a Medici prince
- Florence and Brunelleschi's Dome: Completing the Duomo
- Unusual stories concerning religious events and sites in Rome

Great Britain
- Victoria and Albert: The Creation of Osborne House
- The abdication and aftermath of the Duke of Windsor

The Netherlands and Scandinavia
- The Uniqueness of Amsterdam
- The Hanseatic League
- The Vikings: What they were (and what they were not)
- Scandinavian Delights: Three Northern Capitals
- Stavanger, Norway: Growth and Expansion
- Flåm: Fjordland
- Bergen: The World's Village
- Oslo: From the Vikings to the Nobel Prize

- The Alhambra and the Moorish Moment
- The Golden Age of Spain

Russia/Soviet Union
- Death on the Neva: Rasputin and the Romanovs
- The Brothers Grimm
- Ruthless Leaders: Peter the Great
- Ruthless Leaders: Lenin
- Ruthless Leaders: Stalin
- A series on the Rise of Russia

I have given series of talks on nine previous cruises from 2010 to 2018, on Celebrity and RCI — ranging from European history and events, to art and cultural history — on cruises from the Baltic to the Middle East. Topics have included the oil industry in Norway, events leading up to the demise of the Romanovs, art in the south of France, medieval cathedrals, Petra, and the Suez Canal.
Since 2005, Craig Pilant has made two trips to Alaska, several to Canada, and five trips to the Caribbean and Central America. In July 2009, Professor Pilant voyaged to the Baltic region of northern Europe, visiting Saint Petersburg, Tallinn (Estonia), and the Scandinavian capitals. In 2010 he travelled to Central America, this time traversing the Panama Canal. In July 2010 he travelled to Beijing, and subsequently to the Western Mediterranean.

In July of 2011, Professor Pilant successfully delivered a series of five extended talks as a destination lecturer on the Celebrity Equinox, on a round trip from Rome to Istanbul. During the first half of July 2012, Dr. Pilant delivered a series of six extended talks as a destination lecturer on the RCI Independence of the Seas, during a voyage from Southampton, England to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy and back. His topics ranged from the murder of a Medici prince in the Cathedral of Florence, to unusual stories and sites in Rome, as well as the history of Gibraltar and the late career of artist Vincent van Gogh in Provence.

Since that time, Prof. Pilant has given talks on the history of Adriatic and Mediterranean ports (2013), and continued to do so during the Summers of 2014 (Norway), 2015 (the Mediterranean), and 2016 (the Baltic countries, including Russia). He gave a series of talks on Egypt and the Middle East on the Celebrity Constellation from Abu Dhabi to Rome, via the Suez Canal in 2018, as well as transatlantic talks on topics from Henry the Navigator to the post-abdication career of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

In January of 2011, Dr. Pilant led 21 students and several chaperones on a guided student trip to Rome, Florence, Pompeii, Paris, Versailles, and London. Spring break of 2012 found him leading another group of students to Spain, beginning in Madrid and culminating in Barcelona, with a special focus on cities in Andalucía. Subsequent trips brought his student trips to Greece and Italy (2013), and to Great Britain and Ireland (March 2014). Thirty-five travelers accompanied him on tour in March 2015, for an intensive ten-day trip from Venice to Rome, including Pisa, Siena, Florence, Ravenna, and Assisi. Large numbers of travelers also traveled to Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland in March 2016, and to Paris and Spain in March 2017. For the 2018 annual trip for students, the itinerary took his group from Munich (Germany) to Lucerne (Switzerland), Verona, Venice, Ravenna, Assisi, and, finally, Rome (Italy). Since that last trip before the onset of the COVID pandemic, Craig Pilant has retired and is devoting his energies speaking on cruise voyages in Europe and elsewhere.

Prof. Pilant has been in residence for varying periods of time in southern France, near the Italian border, since 2017. He currently maintains his home in northern Rhode Island near the city of Providence.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Jupiter JU230906 Trades Routes of the Middle Ages 14 Bergen Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Viking Star ST230515 Italian Sojourn 7 Venice Monday, May 15, 2023
Viking Star ST230508 Venice, the Adriatic and Greece 7 Piraeus (Athens) Monday, May 8, 2023