Once you have all of these parts put together, it is time to start fleshing out a couple of topics and practicing your talk. All of this is long before you will even apply for a speaking engagement with an agent.
BTW on most cruise ships, you will be required to have 4 to 10 talks ready to go. Each cruise has a different requirement for the number of talks they want. The cruise lines will not use all of these talks in the schedule but if there is a day where there is a need for another talk, you will be expected to be ready with your extra presentation.
Get comfortable with speaking in front of a crowd. I have found that audience size really varies with the time of day you are asked to speak and also the subject matter. Generally, you want to have a nice big audience as you are rated for every performance. My suggestion is to practice many times over long before you get up in front of your cruise ship audience. The golden rule here is “the talk you give should not be the first time you have presented when you are on the cruise ship”. All this means is that you need to rehearse, just like any other performance.
So what happens if there is a location where you want to travel and the cruise line is looking for something you have not yet presented?
My advice is to find out exactly what they are looking for and doing some research to see if you can fulfill the need. If you are totally comfortable with the subject matter and feel you can rehearse and present the topic without an issue, then, by all means, make a proposal through your agent. I often present destination talks in locations where I am familiar but have yet to visit. The research and reading books, etc., makes for a very thorough and interesting talk. This will only be of value to the client if you spend the time rehearsing and making sure the details are correct. Nothing is worse than presenting something and your facts are erroneous.
There are many more details about your preparation work, especially if you are given the opportunity to be a speaker. Preparation, before you make an application to an agent, is the key to your success. If you apply and they ask you for some details which you do not have ready at hand, the delay of your response will not be taken lightly. Your motto is to be prepared.
When you are ready, then it is time to find an agent. Cruise ships, in the past, allowed speakers to apply directly but now it is much easier to handle through the use of an agent. Agents vary in the fees per night they charge you ($50 to over $100 per night), so be aware of the costs ahead of submitting a proposal for a gig.
I will not list any agents here as often there are changes in contact information and more agents pop up while others go away. You need to find an agent or two you like to work with and go from there. Presently I work with 4 agents who handle different cruise lines.