By Jeff Guaracino, ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent
Since 1985, over 100,000 guests have discovered RSVP Vacations. Now owned by Atlantis Events—among the best brand names in gay vacations—RSVP Vacations has a new president Randel Roper. Formerly of Starwood Hotels, Randel brings a new energy to RSVP.
RSVP is drawing a diverse group of passengers aboard their trips. According to Roper, women are now 10 percent of their passengers. He anticipates 350 lesbians to join RSVP for their February sailing aboard the brand new MSC Divina for a Caribbean sailing from Miami on February 15th.
One reason for the increasing draw of women travelers is due to the work of Rachel Pearson, RSVP’s first lesbian executive producer who is responsible for operations and entertainment. Women traveling on RSVP will find lesbian comics Jessica Kirson and Poppy Champlin. There are women-only brunches, disco and cocktail hours.
“Our women passengers find RSVP an alternative to Sweet and Olivia,” claimed Roper. Sweet and Olivia cater to lesbian travelers offering cruises and land-based trips.
That’s not to say that gay men—who still account for 90% of the ship—will have to forgo their leather and underwear parties. With more Europeans and South Americans discovering RSVP Vacations, the clientele is diversifying beyond RSVP’s traditional American base.
Even though Roper is brand new as president of RSVP, he says the questions about the RSVP vacation experience remain consistent over the 29-year history of the company. Will I fit in? Is it a floating bathhouse? Roper asks new customers to take a leap of faith as a first time gay cruiser. He promises that it will be the best vacation of their lives. He says an RSVP Vacation is like a gay summer camp.
RSVP Vacations is even more affordable. Since 2011, their prices have dropped nearly 30% while still offering brand new, luxury ships. Prices per person for the Caribbean sailing begin at $899 and $1,200 for a balcony stateroom. The Italian designed ship will sail to popular destinations in the Caribbean with a gay-friendly and welcoming culture: French and Dutch island of St. Maarten, San Juan and a day on a private island. Discount airfares are available on American Airlines. Reserve online or call 800-433-1790. Receive 5% off applicable fares by using Promotion Code: 3724AF. To book a cruise, visit www.rsvpvacations.com.
If you are looking for a European vacation, RSVP will soon announce a five-star luxury riverboat cruise in July 2014 that will end in Amsterdam for the city’s massive gay pride festival.
BRAND G VACATIONS
If a big ship experience isn’t right for you and you are willing to spend a little more for the luxury and privacy of a Royal Clipper ship, you should discover Brand G Vacations. Brand g Vacations has partnered with Concierge Travel to offer a Caribbean vacation that will make your feel like you owned a yacht and could sail anywhere you wanted. The Royal Clipper is a five-masted true sailing ship, which takes you to some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. Sailing in the intimacy of 227 gay and lesbian guests, the six-day voyage will take passengers to the mountainous tropical paradise of Isla Margarita, Venezuela, Grenada, St Vincent and St Lucia. Visit www.brandgvacations.comfor more information.
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Jeff Guaracino is the author of Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.