What a fantastic background you have, so many wonderful ships. I think we're both fans of the small ships and I agree that Clipper Cruise LIne is an unbelievable experience for those who really want to know more about the region they're visiting. I'd love to take Clipper in Alaska, but they're always 100% full!
That's why I like Renaissance so much -- with 685 passengers and single open seating, you meet so many wonderful people. The focus is on the destination, not on-board activities like bingo and karoke. The itineraries are great, the staff experienced. But no lecturers, unfortunately.
There are some unbelievable cruising regions, where you MUST take a ship to experience the area -- the Baltic (St. Petersburg!), Greek Isles, Tahiti. My fantasy itinerary is Jerusalem, Jordan (Petra), Suez Canal, Egypt.