Meet Me On Board (MMOB), the only free major website where gay cruise travelers connect, before and during any cruise, reports that in a survey the majority of readers named Celebrity Cruises the #1 cruise line in the world. www.meetmeonboard.com.
At the same time the survey was conducted it was learned that there were several readers who commented that as 'first-time' cruisers they had no idea LGBT gatherings were taking place on Celebrity, because those social events were not always listed in the ship’s daily newsletter.
When Mark den Hartog, owner and publisher of Meet Me On Board, sent the survey comments to Celebrity Cruises, he got an immediate and positive response. Celebrity then followed through on their promise to better promote and enhance LGBT Happy Hours. He told the Examiner “I continue to be impressed on how they are reaching out to the gay community. They reach out to me frequently with what my membership [free subscriptions] is saying and they take action. Wow...do corporations still do that?”
The next time an LGBT vacationer takes a Celebrity cruise there will be several noticeable changes added to voyages regarding meet-and-greet gatherings. Beginning on day one there will be an LGBT Happy Hour, hosted by an officer, cruise director, or Celebrity staff member in a bar that has a convivial atmosphere. This social event will give an opportunity for gay cruise travelers to connect at the beginning of the cruise. Venues on each ship will be popular drinking places – possibly in the Martini Bar or Sunset Bar (on Solstice Class ships). Drinks will not be complimentary, but appropriate music and conversation will be fun elements of the festive occasion.
The ship’s officer hosting the gathering will ensure that the Celebrity teams are fully up to speed about the LGBT Happy Hours, and because the bars chosen are public spaces, there will be an opportunity for the general passenger population to meet and greet their LGBT fellow cruisers, as well.
The event will be promoted on Page 3 of the daily bulletin, Celebrity Today. It will read: “LGBT Happy Hour – Connect with your fellow LGBT guests.” (The old-fashioned gay-code phrase, “Friends of Dorothy,” a reference to the Wizard of Oz, is being phased out because it doesn't quite resonate with young cruisers.) At the time of the event the officer host will introduce his or her self and welcome the guests and be available for any questions about the ship, events, entertainment and ports of call.
Celebrity will also post LGBT events on the community board at the Guest Relations Desk in the lobby. Celebrity Cruises has been selected "most LGBT welcoming" in surveys of gay travelers for years. Follow Celebrity Cruises on www.celebritycruises.com or Twitter@cruisereward.
In other Celebrity ‘LGBT Pride Month' news,’ this popular cruise line will be out and about as a sponsor of “FRAMELINE 38 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival ,” the longest-running, largest and most widely recognized LGBT film exhibition event in the world. Frameline’s mission is “to change the world through the power of queer cinema.”
A media arts non-profit, Frameline’s programs connect filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and around the world. Scheduled is a special screening of Back On Board: Greg Louganis on Wednesday, June 25 at 4:00 P.M. at the iconic Castro Theater. This feature-length documentary is about the greatest diver of all time, four-time Olympic champion Greg Louganis, who has faced more than his share of challenges. The film relates to the fact that in 2011, he was far from the public eye and struggling to pay his mortgage. Then, the openly gay, HIV-positive world-class athlete returned to diving as a mentor for USA Olympic hopefuls. Go to http://www.frameline.org for film schedule and ticket information.
June pride is busting out all over - from President Barack Obama’s declaring June as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride Month to Celebrity Cruise’s notching up ‘LGBT Happy Hours’ on the first day of every cruise, and its sponsorship of the San Francisco Film Festival. It’s no wonder that Celebrity is considered the most gay-friendly of all the great cruise lines.
By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out and Travelin’
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