RSVP Alaska Cruise shore excursion suggestions
June 8th, 2015 7:51 pm

Just gave this advice to one of my clients going on an upcoming cruise to Alaska. I've been there seven times, so, been on a few tours.  Hope this can help! 

When talking about shore excursions a lot really depends on what you personally like to do.  I did a bike ride to a brewery and to see the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and I loved it so much I did it another time. Juneau is all about helicopter tours, dog sledding, glacier hikes, etc.  You should sign up to see the Mendenhall glacier and as a back up, if you want to spend that much money, book a helicopter tour.  They often get cancelled due to the weather, so, don't be too disappointed if it happens.
 I've booked five of them and have actually 
been on only ONE.  In Ketchikan the tour I loved best was to Misty Fjords on a float plane to a bear watching tour and Salmon hatchery.  So very cool. Also, you have to see the Lumberjack show. It's so much fun and the guys are so sexy! 

Sitka is pretty quiet.  I don't really know it, but, maybe whale watching there.  

You can watch whales from the ship, but, they're not guaranteed and are often just a fleck miles and miles away.  Best to do a specific whale watching tour that will get you close up to them. It's amazing to see whales close up.  Same with bald eagles, bears, etc.

The last stop, Victoria, is home to the amazing Butchart Gardens. If you could get a tour there while it's still light out that would be nice. They have night tours, but, you miss so much when it's not lit up by the sun. They have a nice downtown area and the Empress Hotel is worth a look, and, if they have afternoon tea it's quite a gay time.

Who Goes On All Gay Cruises?
May 29th, 2015 8:26 pm
SEX SELLS!  That's the saying and there's proof all over the world for it.  A lot of people ask me about gay cruises and they have trepidation because of the advertising.  There are always beautiful young people in the ads so a lot of people think that's all who go on this.  The truth is, for the all gay big ship cruises with Atlantis and RSVP the average age is the mid-40's and early 50's.  The Caribbean and Mexico cruises tend to be a younger crowd, while Alaska and Europe and Asia, etc., skew a bit older.  There are about equal amounts of couples and singles and in all shapes and sizes (though, there are ususally more bears on RSVP and more "Circuit Type" of guys on Atlantis).  One thing people always tell me after their first gay cruise is that they were surprised by the diversity of the people who come.  
I will add that women make up only about 5% of cruisers on RSVP and Atlantis.  Olivia Cruises is 100% women.  
The smaller all gay cruises, like River Cruises and Tall Ship sailing cruises tend to be a little older than the large ship cruise.  This is because they're much more expensive and there aren't the big dance parties that you get on the bigger ships. The clientele are more mature and intersted in touring and enjoying a more intimate experience.  These are more couples than singles, too, with about 60-70% couples.  Still lots of singles, always.  
So, the bottom line here is that you shouldn't hesitate to take an all gay cruise because you're too old or don't look like the guys in the ad. Don't let 10% of the population stop you from being YOU, uniquely and wonderfully.  We're all different but we're all the same so contact Cruising With Pride today! 
All Gay Cruising
May 27th, 2015 3:46 pm
ALL GAY CRUISING

All Gay cruises are just what they sound like. Companies charter the entire ship for a week or more, and they sell them as an exclusively gay event. 

For large ocean liners, some with over 3000 gays and lesbians, you'll want RSVP or Atlantis.
RSVP and Atlantis are huge companies, bringing on their own top DJ's, sound and light equipment, special hosts and special entertainers. Deborah Harry, Rupaul, Patti Lupone, Roseanne, Deborah Cox, Bob Smith, Deborah Gibson and Kathie Griffen are just a few of the past entertainers they've had onboard.
RSVP and Atlantis host a number of special events through the week. Tropical tea dances, disco dances, leather night, country, toga and an assortment of others dances almost daily through the cruise.
Don't be fooled by the advertising, not all the men on these cruises are gorgeous model types. There are those, but, like in the real world, they make up between 10-20% of the population. Most people that travel on these cruises are average guys like you and me, about 50% singles and 50% couples.  Seeing gays from all over the world and from all walks of life mingling and mixing and having a ball is like gay heaven.

It's not all about sex! Sure, it's there if you want it, but, it's not a floating bath house as some have made it out to be. I've been on gay cruises where I've had lots of sex, and I've been on gay cruises where I haven't had sex at all. It's whatever you make it.  You can go to bed early, get up early and enjoy one of the many shore excursions, enjoy the pools and the spas, work out in a state of the art gym, do aerobics, go shopping, see top talent in the showroom, play bingo, gamble in the casino, order room service and watch movies on the cable TV, or just do nothing!   

There are a few small differences between RSVP and Atlantis. Both have done away with cruise lines formal nights, though RSVP still has an optional formal night, Atlantis has done away with all formality.  More and more people love the informality, no packing tuxedos, no dressing up, just casual. Some people love dressing up, though, and, boy can some queens dress! Lots of sparkling tuxedos and some guys even get out their best evening gowns, making a really fun time of it, especially for the ships crew.  On RSVP, again, you can still have a dressy night, if you choose.

RSVP is famous for their Costume Contest. Big prizes bring out the best in the community with amazing creativity.  Atlantis’ big event is their all night White Party. Both have dance parties daily, along with special lounge acts, comedians, and other entertainment throught the cruise, geared specially for the gay community.
 
Average age on Atlantis cruises is about 40-45 years old, while RSVP skews just a little older. Of course, you get some guys in their early twenties and some in their 80's. It's a great mix and a wonderful way to make new friends, experience new places, and feel like the world is yours.

There are also a number of companies who have smaller all gay cruises available, some on river barges, some on larger sailing vessels, Destinations such as Prague, Budapest, India, Costa Rica, Italy, The Dalmatian Coast, The Galapagos Islands and more are all scheduled for 2015/2016 (all are listed on our ALL GAY CRUISES page).  It's a much more casual way of traveling than the big ships, but no less enjoyable. With cruises holding just a few hundred people at the most, they're a more intimate time and at a slower pace than the larger ships, but still with the added bonus of being in our own world for a short time.  Also, on these small ship cruises you can really get into the ports visited and get up close and personal with the culture and people you visit.  There are lots of places that the big ship cruises can't get to and these smaller cruises can take you there.  Also, they often include shore tours, alcohol, and other items that you have to pay extra for on a big ship. They are more expensive, but, the value is amazing. Being more expensive, they're also a little older crowd, on average. Of course, everyone is welcome, but, if you're a big party boy, probably not your scene. Brand "g" and Source Events are the best for small ship all gay cruises.  

For all gay cruises it's usually best to reserve way in advance to be sure to get the best prices and locations and just to get on board. Waiting until the last minute, as gays often do, doesn't always work because these cruises often sell out months in advance.  

To me, the best part of going "all gay" when it comes to cruising is you don't have to worry about the world around you. You can hold hands with your partner without the looks from the outside, you can flirt with a guy and not worry if he's straight or not, you can let your hair down, dance, skip, and play in our world, our way.  



 
Would you share a cabin with a stranger?
May 24th, 2015 8:28 pm
As a travel agent, one of the best things is that we get to travel a lot.  Sometimes our friends or family can't go with us so, as a travel agent I get lots of single travelers who want to share costs, so, I've shared a number of times through the years with clients from different places. It's better than sharing with a complete stranger, but, oftentimes it's really the same. 
I once shared an all gay Caribbean cruise with an older gentleman client of mine. I'd never met him in person, but, he seemed like a nice enough guy and it would save me money (no, we don't always get to go for free).  So, I meet the guy in person on the ship and he's really old (late 70's) and in pretty bad health.  He couldn't get around too much (he was a BIG man), and, had a colostomy bag, and was kind of a mess.  Still, he was a perfect gentleman and very nice.  We had dinner a few times, and, basically did our own things, he preferring the lounge acts, while, I was more of a get out and dance party guy.  
Anyway, it was fine and, though it would have been nice to have a cute, fun, exciting guy to share a room with, the guy I shared with provided the thing that was promised with a share: I saved 1/2 price.  
A few months later I got a call from a guy who was a friend of the old man I shared the cabin with.  He called to let me know that my client had passed away.  He wanted me to know that he talked about that cruise all the time and that it was one of the best times of his life.  So, sharing with a stranger may mean little more than saving money for you, but, sometimes it's a final wonderful moment for someone else.
 
Best Value for your gay dollar
May 24th, 2015 2:44 am
In my opinion, the best value for a fun, all gay vacation, is one of Atlantis Events Puerto Vallarta or Cancun All-Inclusive resort weeks.  For about $1500 per person, plus air to one of the two most accessible cities in Mexico, you can enjoy a fun, and relaxing all gay event.  All your meals, all your drinks, non-motorized water sports, pools, afternoon T-dances, evening themed dances, and lots more entertainment ALL INCLUDED!  Taxes? Included.  Transfers?  Extra.. but only $25-42 each.  They're on sale now for Nov 2015 and May 2016 so check them out on my "All Gay Cruises" tab.  
Brand
May 21st, 2015 10:08 pm
Brand "g" has been taking the gay world by cruise for a few years now and the reviews are in: “We had a wonderful trip and will be looking at Brand "g" first and foremost.  Well organized and truly good value for everything done.”-Doug Pew (Cruising With Pride long time client).
Besides these words there are tons of others who've told me about the same. Great guys, well organized, great value for the money and always a quality product.  Check out my "All Gay Cruises" tab above to see their offerings on our Cruise Calendar.
My favorite vacation-South Africa
May 19th, 2015 3:33 pm
I took a trip to South Africa in 2000.  It remains one of the best trips I've ever taken.  It's really far, so, not an easy place to visit, but, once there, it's like you're in a different world.  In Johannesburg we visited Soweto, where Nelson Mandela lived. It's basically a shanty town with over 4 million people.  Driving through the immense poverty and seeing the humble home where one of the greatest world leaders lived is inspiring. It reminds us that no matter where we're from we can make a difference in our world.
  (new friends in Capetown)

From there we took a short flight to go on a 3 night safari.  Our little camp was so lovely and rustic and we had a family of wart hogs that had little piglets that hung out at this little water hole.  We took daily safaris and saw elephants, giraffes, lions, water buffalo, rhinos, hippos and so much more.
  
It's amazing to turn the corner on the road and see a humongous elephant right there in the road.  Scary and exciting.  So beautiful and awe-inspiring.  After our safari we flew to Capetown and enjoyed another few days there during their 2nd Pride Festival.  Lots of gorgeous Africaans men.  Very friendly, very fun little clubs.  Also, we took a drive through the wine country and ate at a Game restaurant and had Kudu and other exotic meats you can't get anywhere but in Africa.  
They have penguins in Capetown, too. Who knew??  Such great memories. I look forward to going back to Africa some day.  
Five Reasons to Use a Gay Travel Agent...
May 11th, 2015 1:13 am

Top 5 Reasons To Use A Gay Travel Agent (ME)...
1. Save time (I do the shopping for you)
2. Save money (I get you the best deals)
3. One stop shopping (I can do it all for you, air, hotels, tours, transfers, insurance)
4. Years of experience (I've been in the biz over 20 years, and have traveled to 6 continents and over 50 countries!)
5. Keep it in the family (support gay business)

About Us!


Cruising with Pride is a division of Worldview Travel (founded in 1974), a full service travel agency.

Cruising with Pride, specializing in All Gay and Gay Group Cruises and Tours, has been around since 1996, the same year Worldview Travel became a member of Virtuoso, a prestigious consortium of travel professionals that offers its members additional value and special benefits. Virtuoso limits their membership to only the highest rated and highest producing agencies. In fact, fewer than one percent of the travel retailers in North America are accepted for membership into Virtuoso.

Cruising with Pride's goal is to provide its clients with attentive customer service, good value and the most comprehensive listing of All Gay and Gay Group travel options - on land and sea - available in the current market today.

 
 
 

Tom Stephens

As Chief Operator of Cruising With Pride, Tom has been in the travel industry since 1993. After a year in Hawaii and a wonderful trip to Europe, he decided travel was his passion, and, being gay, specializing in gay travel seemed the perfect fit. He came onboard Cruising With Pride in 2003 and has not looked back. It has been the perfect place for him to grow as a travel consultant and hosting gay groups, traveling on gay cruises and tours, and working with a mostly gay clientele has been an amazing joy for him.
 
 

Life should be an adventure. And traveling can be such a wonderful part of our adventure, because it's the chance to see different things, experience different cultures, and change our perspective just a little.

I got into this business because I love to travel. Over the past years I have been to so many places and my world view has expanded immensely. I realize how lucky I am to have been born here in Southern California. Much of the world is not as fortunate as we are, with our weather, our freedoms, and our possibilities.

I have been involved with community charities over the years. For the AIDS Walk of Long Beach, we did some fundraising cruises, helping to raise close to $10,000 for the charity. Lately, I've been working with a gay run charity, Handing Out Hope www.handingouthope.org, a Non-Profit organization set out to promote community and individual empowerment, through the creation and support of specific and varied projects, both domestic and international. I learned long ago that it's not all about how much you can get, but, about how much you can give, as well.

More than anything, I love helping people to see more of their world. Being a gay travel specialist is very rewarding, helping gay people find places that will be suited to their individual needs and making sure they're going places they will find safe and comfortable. It's a constant learning process which will never end until we die, and I've always got more to learn. It's not a small world, after all.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you will call me to help you with all your travel needs. Remember to take a step or you'll never go anywhere in life.

Tom Stephens


Places I've traveled...

 

North America - Canada: Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria, Montreal, Toronto, Saint Johns & Halifax

Mexico - Cancun, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta (hola, Sergio), Acapulco, Mazatlan, Ixtapa, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada (every year for our Halloween cruise, where we take over a gay club. So fun!!)

Caribbean - Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Jamaica, and dozens of other islands on cruises through the years.

USA - Alaska (many cities on cruises), Hawaii (Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island), San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlantic City, D.C., Portland & Bar Harbor, ME; Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Key West, Atlanta, Philadelphia, & Provincetown.

Central America - Beautiful Costa Rica, Panama.

South America - Peru (with Macchu Picchu, which is magical), Brazil (Rio Carnavale is like nothing else man made you will ever see, and, Iguazu Falls is the most amazingly beautiful thing God made), Uruguay, and Argentina (Buenos Aires!)

Australia - Sydney & Cairnes (Great Barrier Reef, amazing!!)

 

Europe - London, Paris, Rome (most of Italy), Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Zurich, Barcelona, Istanbul, Athens (and the islands of Greece), Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Brussels, Bruuge, Tallin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Malta, Sicily, Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, & St. Petersberg.

Asia - Thailand: the land of smiles, was a beautiful experience. One of my favorite places and I hope to go back one day.
China: Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, with a cruise down the Yangzee River. China is HUGE. It's history is awe inspiring. Bali is on the horizon (Nov 08)

Middle East - Israel. An amazing, spirtual experience. Seeing the metropolitan Tel Aviv, riding on the Sea of Galilee, staying in a Kibbutz near the Golan Heights, seeing Bethlehem, Masada, the Dead Sea and, of course, Jerusalem. Whatever your faith, it is a truly amazing, ancient place, with so much history.

South Africa - Probably the most exciting trip of my life. On Safari, near Kruger national park, our jeep got stuck about 50 feet from a pride of lions! Yikes! We did survive, apparently...

Cruises - I've been on at least 40 cruises (lost count!). 7 with Atlantis and about that many with RSVP. I've sailed with Royal Caribbean the most, Celebrity, Holland America, Carnival, Norwegian, Disney, Star Clippers, and Cunard's QM2. Some day I'll get on Princess, Windstar and Crystal...Every cruise is a different experience and I've never been on a cruise I didn't enjoy (some more than others).

My travels for the future wish list...
Egypt
Madrid (and more Spain)
India (just to see the Taj Mahal)
Jordan (just to see Petra, then, I'll have seen all the 7 wonders of the modern world. I've seen; (1) Machu Picchu, Peru; (2) Christ the Redeemer (Rio, Brazil), (3) The Great Wall of China (Beijing), (4) Chichen Itza (outside of Cancun, Mexico), and (5) The Coliseum in Rome. See www.new7wonders.com
Tahiti
Antartica
Tokyo
Madagascar
Croatia
Transylvania (I'm part Transylvania)
Kenya
Iraq (just kidding!)
Tokyo
Morocco
Ireland
Portugal
Cologne (going in March!)
& More of the USA...it is beautiful here :-)