Founded by Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell and Gregg Kaminsky, the upcoming seven-day cruise will depart from New York City on July 10 with ports-of-call to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Provincetown, Boston and Martha's Vineyard. All are welcome: singles, couples, families, gay, straight and in-between.
Co-founder Kelli O'Donnell spoke to Playbill.com April 20 about the forthcoming trip and the success of last year's maiden voyage. "It really was the magic of all different kinds of people coming together," O'Donnell said. "I loved the fact that it was both men and women. I liked that people brought their extended friends and family. Probably ten to fifteen percent of our ship were straight friends and family. I like that everyone is accepted — you don't have to have kids to come on board, [but] you can have children if you want. It's a cruise for everyone. A lot of people are bringing their parents this year. It's really turned into a great extended-family vacation." In fact, more than half of last year's guests have rebooked for this summer's adventure.
O'Donnell said that among the Broadway stars scheduled to entertain on the July 10-17 cruise are Avenue Q Tony nominee John Tartaglia, who will present his acclaimed "AD-Liberty" concert, Baby's Liz Callaway, La Cage aux Folles' Gavin Creel, Saturday Night Fever's Orfeh, Pippin's Michael Arden, All Shook Up's Paul Castree, Parade's Andrea Burns and Marie Christine's Darius de Haas. "Chatterbox" host Seth Rudetsky will be the musical director for all the musical performances, including a "Broadway Belters" extravaganza. Rudetsky will also present his latest one-man "Deconstructing" evening.
The cruise will also boast a concert by pop star Cyndi Lauper as well as evenings with Suzanne Buirgay and Kinsey Sicks.
Rosie O'Donnell will host the opening-night ceremonies and a "Queer as Folk" screening that includes a question-and-answer session with "QAF" star Sharon Gless. The former talk-show host will also host the world premiere of the HBO documentary "All Aboard: Rosie's Family Cruise," which was filmed during last year's R Family voyage to the Caribbean. Other entertainment offerings will include a comedy showcase hosted by Judy Gold and a motivational speech by NFL player Esera Tuaolo. Additionally, passengers will be able to enjoy yoga and fitness classes with fitness guru Susan Powter, and Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, Art Smith, will offer a cooking class. The week-long trip on the Norwegian Dawn will include themed parties, cabaret shows and dances.
The mammoth ship also features the Stardust Theatre, a plush, comfortable, full-sized theatre; the Spinnaker Lounge, a large cabaret with different arrays of chairs and tables and a full bar; the Fitness Center, which is open 24 hours a day and includes treadmills, a spin-cycle room, weight machines and free weights; numerous pools and hot tubs on the ship's top deck as well as a more private indoor pool downstairs from the health club; Gatsby's Champagne Bar, which adjoins the piano bar; an internet cafe with approximately 20 computers; the Dazzles Lounge and Night Club; the Java Café; the El Dorado Spa & Beauty Center; a Las Vegas-style casino; a jogging track and a basketball/volleyball court.
About the R Family founders: Emmy-winning talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell has appeared on Broadway in Grease! and Seussical and in such films as "A League of Their Own" and "The Flintstones"; she also co produced the Broadway musical Taboo. A former Nickelodeon marketing executive, Kelli O'Donnell's responsibilities for that network included developing promotions and marketing materials targeted to children. The O'Donnells have four young children. A long-time worker in the gay and lesbian travel industry, Gregg Kaminsky has developed and produced all-gay trips throughout the world. He and partner Dan were featured on Bravo's "Gay Weddings" documentary series.
Playbill On-Line will also be part of the second voyage of R Family Vacations, bringing its readers stories about this performance-packed cruise.
Call (866) 732-6822 for reservations; cabins start at $999 per person. For more information, Click Here.
R Family Vacations, the first travel company devoted to gay and lesbian family vacations, has one goal: "to provide acceptance for all families and to create a welcoming and nurturing environment so a good time can be had by all."