The great Philly snow escape!

The great Philly snow escape!

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What’s one to do during the snowiest winter of all time? Plan a trip! Now! Your imagination and anticipation of that trip will keep you warm until you get there. This month, The New York Times published its annual cruise issue in the travel section, so here is the PGN version, with travel information of interest to the local LGBT community.

Sail away It’s looking like 2010 is a ship-shape year. Atlantis, the world’s No. 1 gay men’s tour operator, is sailing the world, literally.

If you are ready to escape now, you might just be able to secure a great last-minute deal on the Celebrity Solstice leaving Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on March 7. Atlantis is taking a few-thousand gay men to St. Barts, St. Thomas, Samama and a new private island owned by Celebrity.

So here’s the deal. Atlantis is a smart operator and doesn’t discount the actual price of the cruise. Instead, it offers deeply discounted airfare, sometimes as low as $99 round-trip. So while you are paying a full-fare cruise price, your savings are hidden in the airfare. Atlantis is also offering an airfare sale, $399 round-trip, for the Shanghai-to-Hong Kong cruise, March 20-30. For a full itinerary of trips, visit www.atlantisevents.com.

Getaway with family and friends

R Family Vacations may be sailing without Rosie these days, but you won’t miss a thing! Kelli, Rosie’s ex-wife, and Gregg are the real stars of this vacation company. For the first time in R Family’s history, it will sail to the Hawaiian Islands and to Europe.

Hawaii is on tap first, with just 400 guests to four islands over seven days. This summer, R Family is going on its own European vacation to Spain, France and Italy aboard the Norwegian Jade and to the Caribbean aboard the brand-new Norwegian Epic. R Family cruises are more affordable than ever because the cruises are large groups vs. full-ship charters. For those looking for an exclusively gay trip, Gregg and Kelli are taking over Club Med Ixtapa for an all-inclusive beach vacation. Prices range, but are around $1,000 per adult. For more information, visit www.rfamilyvacations.com.

RSVP turns 25

The daddy of gay cruising, RSVP Vacations, is celebrating 25 years of taking thousands of gays and lesbians all over the world. (Pretty young for a daddy, huh?) RSVP just announced the Hawaii Silver Anniversary Cruise, the first RSVP cruise to sail these beautiful islands on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America with 2,100 guests. The seven-day cruise starts at $899.

Lesbian cruise vacations

Olivia proudly has been serving the lesbian travel community and, this year, is offering three cruises, three resort vacations and seven “ultimate getaways.” What recession? Check out www.olivia.com for all the details.

New to the lesbian travel market is Sweet, which promotes itself as a lesbian travel company with a twist. Sweet made headlines by merging lesbian travel with social and environmental awareness, hosting carbon-neutral vacations. For a full schedule of cruises, city and land-based group trips, visit www.discoversweet.com.

Local gay trips

Chumley’s Bear Cruises, a Philadelphia-based company, is organizing a group trip in November aboard the Crown Princess from Ft. Lauderdale. Seven days start at $699 for an inside cabin. The cruises are led by Mark “Chumley” Singer, an activist, performer and event producer for more than 20 years. For more information, visit www.bearcruises.com.

Jeff Guaracino, vice president of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing,” has learned to find the best deals and travel resources for the LGBT community. Traveling locally? Check out visitphilly.com!


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