In this newsletter we continue with some themes
we introduced previously - profiling a LezCruise
user, spotlighting a small ship
cruise line, and providing basic information about
cruising. We also update you on the cruises
posted at LezCruise, and
enlist your help in improving our newsletter.
|Meet our Users - Idgie
Last month we awarded our 4th Qtr LezPoints
Idgie but we didn't tell you a thing about her.
This month we make up for that.
(on the right),
name is Gayle, works in the IT
Department of a
travel agency, and spends all day looking at
cruises. In September
Gayle, her partner, Lorre, and their 17-month old
son went on their first full-length cruise together,
the Bahamas on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of
Gayle says the best part of the cruise was being
able to spend time with family. Lorre's sister and
her husband came along on the cruise, as well as
Gayle's nephew and his wife. Gayle's nephew was
battling cancer and had a good time on the cruise.
Gayle says it was probably his last good week. He
passed away a month after the cruise, and Gayle is
grateful for the time she was able to spend with him
For Gayle, the most uncomfortable part of the cruise
was formal night. "I felt awkward," she says.
"Getting dressed up fancy was one of my biggest
concerns." But everything turned out fine. As for
traveling as a lesbian family, "I didn't see any
stares or anything. We didn't encounter anything
weird or strange."
And what did Gayle find surprising about her first
"real" cruise? "I was most surprised that my
partner enjoyed it. That's one of the reasons we
hadn't gone on a cruise. We like to do things on
our own. We like to be in control of the time in
which we do activities. You have to give up some of
that control with cruising. We were very surprised
that we both handled it well."
Gayle says she's
pretty sure that she can convince Lorre to go on
another cruise. She's intrigued by Regent Seven
Seas and would really like to go to Tahiti where
Regent's Paul Gauguin sails. She's also
in Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America
has an Americana theme and cruises the Hawaiian
Islands. But their next vacation is probably not
going to be on a cruise ship. Idgie is hoping that
next time she reports to us it'll be from Greece, a
trip they've been trying to plan since 2005.
|Cruising 101 - What's included in your cruise fare?
Cruises advertise themselves as all-inclusive but they
rarely are. All I knew about cruising before our first
sailing was what I saw on The Love Boat, and I was
surprised when we began our research to learn that
all those drinks Isaac poured weren't just part of the
Most people don't expect "free" alcohol with their
cruise, but many people are surprised to learn that
soft drinks, bottled water, and juice are usually not
included. Some people also don't know that they are
expected to tip at the end of a cruise. Following is a
very general run-down of what's included and what's
not. This varies from cruise line to cruise line
(we'll get into that a little later).
|Oceania Cruises - free air to Europe!
What first drew me to Oceania was their smoking
policy which is the strictest one at sea. Oceania's
three ships (three identical ships carrying 684
passengers each) are basically non-smoking. There
three designated smoking areas but the rest of the
ship is non-smoking, including the staterooms.
Oceania's ships are beautiful. I recently read a
description comparing the decor to a "luxury country
hotel in England." The state rooms are about the
same size as what you would find on a mass-market
line, but I have read more than one review describing
the bedding as the most comfortable at sea. They
advertise their "Exclusive Tranquility Beds" featuring
Euro Top mattresses, plush duvets, goose-down
pillows and Egyptian cotton linens. I've also heard
from more than one person that Oceania's food is
outstanding. On our recent Crystal cruise a
passenger told us that Oceania's food was better
than Crystal's and we found that pretty amazing,
because the food on Crystal was some of the best
we've ever had, on land or sea.
Oceania ships feature open seating (dine when you
want, with whom you want) in four restaurants, the
main dining room, a steak house, an Italian
restaurant, and a tapas bar. There are no formal
As far as charges go, you will pay extra for all
beverages (similar to Carnival, Royal Caribbean, etc.)
and gratuities are not included in your fare. What IS
often included, if you book early enough,
is air. Oceania is the one of the least expensive
ways to get to Europe. As an example, right now
they are offering a transatlantic cruise from
Barcelona to Miami with stops in the Azores and
Bermuda starting at $1299 per person, including air.
All of Oceania's cruises are 10 days or longer, which
is why we haven't sailed them yet, but if you have
the time, Oceania is definitely a value in small-ship
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9 New Cruises on our Web Site
There are nine new cruises on our web site since our
last newsletter. Thanks to all who posted cruises!
They include four Carnival cruises, 3 Princess, and
one Holland America. There are 3 cruises to Alaska,
3 to the Caribbean,and 3 to Mexico. The dates range
from a Carnival cruise to Mexico leaving this Saturday
to a Carnival Caribbean cruise in January of 08.