LezCruise News
February 2007


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.

in this issue
  • Have you been receiving our newsletters?
  • 9 New Cruises on our Web Site
  • Meet our Users - Idgie
  • Cruising 101 - What's included in your cruise fare?
  • Oceania Cruises - free air to Europe!

  • Meet our Users - Idgie

    Last month we awarded our 4th Qtr LezPoints award to Idgie but we didn't tell you a thing about her. This month we make up for that.

    Idgie (on the right), whose real 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, sailing to the Bahamas on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas.

    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 at sea.

    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 interested in Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America which 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 cruise fare.

    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 are 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 nights.

    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 cruising.

    Have you been receiving our newsletters?

    Recently we heard from a user who said she hadn't received a newsletter from us in two months. This alarmed us since we had sent them out. We have been experimenting with different software programs to send our newsletters and we're worried that the one we prefer gets caught up in spam filters.

    If you did not receive our November or January newsletters, please help us out by sending us an email at cruise@lezcruise.com. Thanks!

    9 New Cruises on our Web Site
    Idgie on the right

    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.

    Quick Links...


    LezCruise Blog

    LezCruise Find A Cruise page

    LezCruise Reviews page

    LezBlog - TV-Free Lodging

    LezBlog - Crystal goes trans-fat free

    LezBlog - Airfare sale to Tahiti, Paris,NZ