Even though the ads for RSVP Vacations show a bevy of buff sexy men, decoratively oiled frolicking around pools, these cruises are not just for muscle boys and twinks — all ages and body types are welcome. “Sex sells,” admits RSVP president Jeff Gundvaldson, “so that is why our ads look like they do. However, our clientele looks the same as the general gay population.”
RSVP cruises are 100 percent gay (or gay-friendly, with tag-along friends and family). All are welcome — from those who like a non-stop party to those who appreciate a more sedate experience. There are high-tech dancefloors, but also mainstage shows, intimate piano bars and cabarets; costume parties usually punctuate the experience. You can eat in the main dining room or one of many other possibilities, such as smaller specialized restaurants or the ever-present and overloaded buffets. (Most of the ships that RSVP uses are from the Holland American line, well known for the high level of luxury that they offer.)
In fact, being on an RSVP cruise is much like visiting a concentrated version of a typical big city gayborhood on a Friday night: a variety of bars, restaurants and shops all within a few blocks. Only on the water. It’s nice to wear a Speedo and not feel out-of-place.
— Gregory Sullivan Isaacs
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Some sources say London is the most visited city in the world, so it follows that its welcoming reputation would translate to LGBT visitors. While SoHo is still the center of gay life in Olde London Towne, with G-A-Y the hottest club (three floors of frenzied dancing!), nearby Camden and Hampstead are also fun; Vauxhall is the place for after-hours entertainment. (When they say that you can “party ’til Tuesday,” then assume you started on Friday.) Many clubs are specialized (from bears to twinks), and guesthouses like the gay-owned Philbeach Hotel are in the eye of the action.
As a huge metropolitan city, there are tons of sights and attractions, from bar crawling to world-class museums to all the pomp and circumstance attendant to the changing of the guard. Now that’s something we totally get in international travel — who doesn’t want to go to a city where you might actually meet a real queen?
— Gregory Sullivan Isaacs
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 16, 2012.
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