Hey Ladies! LezCruise!

This newsletter is all about LezCruise. It's the new year, and like many of you, we've re-evaluated and made some resolutions - which translates in to some significant changes in our business model. And we want to tell you all about them and how they came about. Plus we want to tell you about a cruise we hope to be doing in April of '09.



What's Changing

change

LezCruise is two different things - a website for women to post cruises that they are on, or find cruises that other women are on, and our travel agency. But, over time, we've found that these two things don't always fit together well, plus we've realized that we don't really want to be a full service travel agency (see the article below).

So we've decided to split the two up. LezCruise will continue as a website for women cruisers, but it will no longer continue as a travel agency. Instead, we have set up a separate entity, called Splendid Voyage, that will specialize in small ship and luxury cruises.

Because LezCruise will no longer be a travel agency, we can focus solely on improving its ability to meet its main objective, which is providing women a place to find other women to cruise with. One of the ways we hope to do this is by reaching out to travel agents.

In the coming weeks we will change the website to remove all references to LezCruise as a travel agency, and to enable travel agents to register on the site. A travel agent registered with LezCruise will be able to post cruises, just like any other user, but the cruises she posts will automatically show her agency and contact information, so that women interested in her posted cruise can contact her directly to book it.

Travel agents registered with LezCruise will also be listed on a travel agent page. We hope that this page will be useful to agents and non-agents alike - agents will get a web listing, and non-agents will have a resource to find travel agents who work with lesbians and have posted cruises with lesbians on them. We aren't going to vet agents initially, other than to verify that they are, indeed, travel agents, but we will remove any agents about whom we receive valid complaints.

We also plan to change the website to allow users (agents and non) to submit articles to run in the newsletter. This helps us, of course, because newsletter content can be a challenge at times. But we hope that it will also be of benefit to our users, especially travel agents, who will be able to refer to their agencies and even to specials and promotions that they might be running (of course, a submission that is purely marketing copy has little chance of being selected - the article should be of general interest to users). And readers will then hopefully be exposed to a wider range of experience and information than we can bring by ourselves.

Our new Splendid Voyage agency will not have an association with LezCruise beyond what any other registered travel agency will have - posting cruises and perhaps submitting newsletter content. Any Splendid Voyage newsletter content will be clearly listed as such.

Right now we are envisioning this as a free service, with the option of accepting donations to help defray administrative costs and buy ads to drive traffic to the site. We will also sell advertising space on the site if there is interest in that. But we don't know for sure how this will all work - we are still in the process of ironing out the details. We will send out another newsletter, updating you on all the scoop, when we have implemented all the website changes.



And Why

Question We initially thought of LezCruise as a networking site where women could find other women to cruise with without having to pay the markup of an all-women cruise (see sidebar). Then we decided to make it also be a travel agency (see sidebar some more).

Our plan was to grow the travel agency as a supplement to our primary business (computer consulting) and live happily ever after.

But, alas, we discovered that there was a lot about being travel agents that we didn't like. And that we really only want to sell luxury travel, which is not what the majority of people who visit LezCruise are interested in.

So, what to do? Our first thought was just to close down LezCruise, but neither of us felt satisfied with that - Mary likes maintaining the website and the newsletter, Lis has a handful of clients she enjoys working with, and we both enjoy being involved in the travel industry (in our minuscule way).

So the split seemed like a good solution. We'll both continue in our day jobs, and Mary will have the sideline of maintaining the website and the newsletter, and Lis will have the sideline of a tiny niche travel business. The happily ever after part of the plan remains unchanged.



Tahiti, April 2009
On the Paul Gauguin

tahiti Our tenth anniversary will be in April 2009 (yay for us!!). And since we have long wanted to sail Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin, we figured what the heck. Let's do it for our anniversary.

The Paul Gauguin is one of the ships of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a luxury line that has spent the last several years competing with Crystal Cruises for the title of Best Cruise Line - they generally trade off first and second place finishes. We love them both very much (who wouldn't), but tend to slightly prefer Regent.

Plus we have read and heard that the Paul Gauguin is one of the best cruise experiences there is. One of the stops is at a private island, with drinks and food and water toys and such (all included). We know a person who has sailed the Paul Gauguin - she said "That private motu day was the best day of my entire life, and I've given birth to children." That pretty much sold us.

Of course, you get what you pay for, so as you can imagine, a Paul Gauguin cruise is a bit pricey (especially if you want a balcony, which is what we're shooting for). Our house has already started hinting that it would rather we spent our anniversary money on a new roof. But we are going to try our best to get there - especially since there is a slight chance we might talk another couple in to coming along.

Care to join us?



A Little Background

Computer

In 2004 we decided we wanted to go on a cruise, and started looking for a Caribbean cruise for the following spring. As we researched, we were torn between an all-women cruise with its huge markup, or a regular cruise with its boatload of straight people. We eventually chose the the regular cruise, and had a lovely time.

Later, we were discussing this with some friends, who were also trying to decide on a cruise. One of them said "There should be a website or something where you can just look up and see if there are any other lesbians on a cruise." We said "There should be a website like that" and immediately set about building one.

As we made plans for the website, Lis decided that it should be a travel agency, too, and we could book the cruises that we helped women find. This seemed reasonable, as Lis is totally in to researching and booking travel. And so LezCruise was born.


Current Cruises
What's posted at LezCruise

Ship

There are currently several cruises posted at LezCruise.

Two are Caribbean cruises posted, on Princess and Celebrity.

There are also 2 Alaska cruises posted, on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, and 2 Europe cruises, on Royal Caribbean and Carnival.

There is one cruise each for Australia/New Zealand and Hawaii, both on Princess.

And finally, one Transatlantic cruise on Holland America.

Please be sure to post any cruise that you may be going on - the more cruises are posted, the more useful the site is!