HOUSTON – For theater patrons who are awash in cash, Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Marco Polo Travel, a Houston travel agency, is offering two cruises which will be all decked out with theater stars. The travel agency will donate 10% of the ticket prices to selected theater companies. The Ensemble Theatre, The A. D. Players, Main Street Theater, Stages Repertory Theatre, Theater LaB, and a handful of community troupes have responded in Houston. For cruise bookings from anywhere else, the travel agency will make the appropriate donation to whatever theater is requested, so long as it is nonprofit.
Lynn Redgrave, John Davidson, Eli Wallach, Jean Stapleton, and Kitty Carlisle Hart are among those who will sail on the Royal Viking Sun October 3, 1998. Embarking from Venice, the 18-day cruise visits Tunis, Malaga, Casablanca, Bermuda, and ends in Ft. Lauderdale. The brochure rate, per person, starts at $7,260. Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Marco Polo Travel discounts this initial price some $2,000, to a little more than $5,000. Airfare is or is not included depending upon when cruise deposit is received.
The luxury liner Queen Elizabeth 2 leaves New York on November 21, 1998 and arrives in Southampton, England, on November 27. On its passenger list are Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Tom Conti, and Nigel Hawthorne. A Noel Coward play will be presented, though not by the above-mentioned; nor will they be involved in a world premiere of a mystery thriller. Autographs and chats, however, are on the bill for them. The brochure rate, per person, begins at $2,380; Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Marco Polo Travel reduces it 30% to $1,680. Airfare is or is not included depending upon when cruise deposit is received.
For every 15 paying passengers who designate a given theater company, one free ticket is provided for that company, which can do with the ticket whatever it likes: go on the cruise, sell the ticket, raffle it off to raise even more money. If no one troupe has the requisite number of paying passengers under its auspices, but if 15 paying passengers altogether cite themselves as theater patrons, the free berth will be sold and the proceeds will be divided among the participating theaters.
Of course, Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Marco Polo Travel isn't the only travel agency in the nation to have such arrangements with the cruise ship owners. It may be the only travel agency, though, that invites its customers to write their own theater reviews to post on its website: http://www.cwtmarco.com For information about the cruises with theater stars, call Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Marco Polo Travel, at (713) 956-4949 or (800) 259-0683.
By Peter Szatmary