Ever wondered how a company like Brand g chooses which cruise lines to charter, and which ships within that line?
Not all cruise lines are alike. Trust us. Some look at gay charters as nothing more than a liquor bonanza. They figure they’ll hire a hot bartender and get some extra wheelbarrows for the cash, and they’ve done their job.
Other cruise lines treat it as an opportunity to introduce their product to an underserved community and to expand the cultural horizons of their staff. And they hire a hot bartender.
Needless to say, we opt for the latter.
There are four basic issues that determine the specific lines and ships that we charter
As you probably know, if you’ve traveled with us or even looked at our schedule of vacations, we favor unique itineraries that: a) you can’t get on an ocean cruise; and b) you can’t get from any other gay cruise company. Sure, we always offer the ever-popular European cruises (three different itineraries – the Rhine, the Danube and the Adriatic in 2018), but the majority of our trips are to far-flung, exotic locales like Asia, South America and India – places where it’s all about the culture.
Our guests are well-traveled, and they expect a five-star product and a little pampering. Many of us may only – for reasons of budget or vacation time – take one or two big trips a year. So why take one on a cruise with worn rooms, middling food service and lousy guided tours, just because it’s a gay cruise? Wouldn’t beautiful spacious rooms (some are all-suite ships), exemplary food and included wines or liquors, and expert guides make you much more inclined to tell your friends what a fabulous experience you had?
Brand g does site inspections to insure that the ship and rooms live up to the marketing hype. (We were just in Europe checking out ships for 2018 and 2019.) We generally favor ships built in the last several years, for their innovations in design and décor. We also only work with the largest and most respected luxury lines in the business.
We’ve all heard – or been involved in, but that’s another story – those incidents on gay ocean cruises that prompted cruise directors to go on stage and ask people to behave themselves. Sexy time breaking out on the dance floor doesn’t give anyone a great reputation. Fortunately, that’s less of an issue on river cruises, since river cruising is truly about travel and culture as opposed to just partying. (That’s certainly not to say that peopled don’t hook up on a gay river cruise; it just tends to be more discreet.)
But what is an issue is the cruise line’s attitude towards the gay community. Any cruise line executive can give lip service to their support; so we look for companies that sponsor gay charity events, and who have departments devoted to gay marketing.
We also demand that the cruise line have frank discussions with their personnel (some, fortunately, do this as a matter of course), so that any staff member on the ship who might have an issue with gay travelers can be transferred off the cruise. Above all else, our guests must be made to feel as comfortable and important as any straight guest would. And since we dress more fabulously, maybe even more important.
We strive to deliver an all-inclusive, luxury product at a very reasonable fare; so we negotiate the best possible price for our guests, both for the cruise itself and for all the attendant extras, like free-flowing adult beverages, pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, transfers, etc. We want to engender such love and loyalty from you that you take every single trip we offer each year. Or maybe at least one. Most cruise lines are very willing to work with us on cruise pricing, because they recognize the value of introducing their brand to well-traveled individuals with a lot of discretionary income.
As you can imagine, we take the nearly seven figure guarantee required to charter a cruise ship very seriously. And we take the happiness and comfort of our guests even more seriously. A brand is only as good as its reputation, and you are our reputation.
Just try to keep it clean on the dance floor.