R Family rocks the boat
Here we are, day three of my week-long high seas adventure on the R Family Vacation summer cruise. This is my second R Family vacation. In my observation, the experience has evolved considerably.
Sold out this time, the ship hosts about 650 families on board totaling approximately 2,300 passengers. That's up from the total number of passengers three years ago. The passenger demographic has changed a bit, too. There seem to be many more gay and lesbian couples without children and even single travelers on board. May of these passengers say they are looking for something different than the all-male environment (with its typically elevated sexual temperature) or the all-female environment of, say, Olivia.
Last night my partner and I met a straight woman who had heard about "Rosie's cruise" on the View and booked passage for her and her newly out lesbian daughter. After witnessing her 19-year-old child's particularly unpleasant break-up from her girlfriend she wanted her to see successful relationships. (Pretty cool!)
The stellar entertainment -- if possible -- has gotten even better. Like last cruise, there are a number of established Broadway stars performing on board in venues big and small. But there seem to be more of them this time. Tonight's headline act is by Klea Blackhurst, performing her tribute to Ethel Merman.
Last night, pianist and author Seth Rudetsky hosted a magical evening of "Broadway Divas," which included a Broadway geek's wet dream line up: Daphne Rubin-Vega, the original Mimi in Rent, Andrea McArdle, a Broadway legend (and the original Annie!), her daughter, Alexis Kalehoff, with whom she performed a duet (and who starred in Les Miz at age 5!), Lilias White from the original Dreamgirls cast, and the Tony-winning Christine Ebersole. All of this was in one hour in just one venue on board.
The cruise includes five ports of call, starting with St. John, New Brunswick, followed by Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor, Maine, Provincetown, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. Today we explored the charming port city of Halifax with its Citadel renowned for the daily changing of the guards (many attractive young men with kilt and furry helmet).
The image above shows me, my partner Robb and our friend Derek Hartley, co-host, along with Romaine Patterson of Sirius OutQ. I was a guest on their show which they recorded live to tape for broadcast Friday July 18. I'll make this recording available on this blog next week (after July 20). For now, you can hear my most recent show by clicking on this recent blog posting.
The other picture shows Gabe and Drew, two kids on board with whom we played ping pong one beautiful afternoon.