In 1986, the first all-gay cruise set sail out of New Orleans with 750 guests thanks to Kevin Mossier, founder of RSVP Vacations. Because of the social climate of the time, during the height of the AIDS epidemic and socialized homophobia, Kevin saw a need to create a safe place for gays and lesbians to vacation.
But let’s face it, the gay and lesbian travel market has evolved significantly since the 1980s. When we launched Brand g Vacations, it was my hope to ride the wave of a new era in gay travel, one that would reflect the changes in our community over the last twenty-five years. And while the younger LGBT generation (much younger than me!) may not necessarily seek out an all-gay product as readily as those of us who came out in the 1980s, I believe that there is still a strong need and interest in the experience and camaraderie that are part of traveling with other LGBT guests. However, I also believe that the next generation in gay travel represents a greater mix of men and women, as well as straight friends and family members.
I believe another notable trend in gay travel is culture-focused vacation experiences that offer alternatives to large-scale gay cruises and resort buyouts. For example, Brand g is one of seven other LGBT tour operators either chartering or organizing groups aboard boutique European riverboats this summer. Our full-ship charter of AMA Waterways’ newest ship, the 164-passenger AmaCerto, features two nights in Prague followed by a custom-tailored, seven-day itinerary down the Danube River that includes stops in Regensberg, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and ends in Budapest.
A gay riverboat cruise is an exceptional way to see these destinations: an intimate setting, great food and service, surrounded by a welcoming community. And I truly believe that for those of us who are lucky enough to live in states with marriage equality, there is no better way to spend a honeymoon!
We have a wide range of ages booked so far on our cruise, though our average is 48 years old (a bit younger than a mainstream European riverboat demographic of 55-60+). And while small-ship travel may be more conducive to quiet conversation and castle-watching, the ambiance on our ship will be anything but boring!
We invite you to join us this summer down the legendary Danube. You will not be disappointed.