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Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’re cruising through Seattle during the upcoming Alaska cruise season, consider a side trip to Tacoma. Where? Yes, Tacoma, the city with which Seattle shares its airport, the “Tac” in Sea-Tac. While Tacoma doesn’t exactly boast the tourism cachet of Seattle, Portland, or Vancouver, up until mid-June the Tacoma Art Museum is hosting the only West Coast exhibit of the Smithsonian’s HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. The show runs through June 10, 2012.
According to a press release, the exhibit is “The first major exhibition to explore how gender identity and sexual orientation have shaped modern American portraiture, HIDE/SEEK offers an unprecedented survey of nearly 150 years of American art with more than 100 works by masters including Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and more.”
It’s getting some great press buzz. Check it out at the museum’s website.
Packages for this exhibit are being offered by the gay-friendly, upscale Hotel Murano, which is only three blocks from the Tacoma Art Museum. The hotel has been described as a “museum unto itself with a world-class collection of glass art displayed throughout the property.” Their package includes two tickets to HIDE/SEEK at the Tacoma Art Museum, plus free Wifi, parking, a food/beverage voucher, and a commeorateive HIDE/SEEK book. More info on this package is availabe at the Murano website
The HIDE/SEEK package is available for Wednesday-Sunday stays through June 10, 2012. Rates start at $219, per night, plus tax. To book, call 866-986-8083 or visit Murano.com.
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MeetMeOnBoard is pleased to be working closely with the ladies of Sweet to build community, both online and in-person. Thanks to Shannon for inviting us to the party and for giving us the chance to tell her ladies about MeetMeOnBoard.
It wasn’t your typical happy hour. Women had come from all over the country. Now they were sipping wine and excitedly talking about their trip. From the sounds of it everyone over packed. But Alaska in May is a weather crap shoot. They had to bring flip flops, boots, dresses and jeans. But these ladies weren’t just going on a seven-day Alaska cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl. They were getting ready to sail with Sweet, a lesbian travel company with a big heart.
When Shannon Wentworth and Jen Rainin founded Sweet they wanted to have a community service component to their company. So now, on each cruise or trip the company provides opportunities to give back to the local communities the ladies visit. They are committed to promoting lesbian self-esteem, health and visibility where they go.
Shannon is the first to say that the Sweeties who would rather lounge around the pool or get pampered in the ship’s spa shouldn’t feel guilty. In fact, they are getting credit for the community service because each project is done in the names of all the women traveling with Sweet.Natalie Garcia is the company’s chief animal rescuer. She says that on the Alaska trip, she is coordinating a trip to a local shelter. But Alaska, unlike Mexico, doesn’t really have a lot of stray dogs. She is pleased by this news but it means there will be less to do. Other Alaska community service options include raking leaves and a spring cleanup at a community center, bringing supplies to a women’s shelter and helping to restore a stream.
Working Girl and other Washington wines helped break the ice at the Sweet bon voyage party last weekend at Seattle’s Hotel Vintage Park. Within minutes, the banquet room temperature soared and so did the conversation volume as strangers become fast friends, bonded in sisterhood and a common goal to help make the world a little bit better.
Richard Florida (I’ve always envied his last name) of “Creative Class” fame has announced a fairly compelling and believable list of America’s Top Gay Cities. Developed through a variety of methodology in conjunction with Gary Gates, a scholar at UCLA’s law school. The duo announced the list on The Daily Beast, where Florida is a frequent contributor.
The cool thing for cruisers? Nearly half of the cities on the list are also cruise ports!
Next time you’re planning a cruise that includes U.S. ports either as embarkation points or as stopovers, consider including one(s) of the following (shown in ranking order from the report):
1. San Francisco, CA. Duh. The Gay “Mother Ship” is an obvious spot to cruise! Click here for a list of cruises visiting San Francisco in 2010.
8. Portland, Maine . While it’s not a huge destination, plenty of ships call on this progressive community, especially during Autumn Leaf season. See which ones on the Portland Maine Cruise Calendar.
4. Boston, MA. Have your own gay tea party onboard when sailing through this great city of American history. Here’s their port schedule for 2010.
5. Seattle, WA. While many Alaska cruises use the fabulous Canadian port of Vancouver, BC, as their launch point, a big number also use Seattle. Check out our list of great pre- or post-cruise gay-friendly hotels and B&Bs in Seattle, and then book a cruise using the Port of Seattle Cruise Calendar.
9. San Diego, CA. With arguably the best year-round weather in North America and perfect proximity to the beach destinations of the Mexican Riviera (like gay-popular Puerto Vallarta), San Diego has become your Editor‘s favorite destination in the western U.S. It has a great gay vibe and one of the most convenient cruise terminals on earth, plus there are loads of great gay friendly places to stay in San Diego. Here’s the San Diego 2010 cruise ship schedule.
11. New York City, NY. It’s your Editor’s favorite travel destination on earth. If you want to know why, you’ve never visited the spot announced nightly on David Letterman as “The Greatest City in the World.” MeetMeOnBoard.com has scouted out some great, gay-friendly New York hotels near the cruise pier, and here’s the New York cruise ship schedule.
15. Washington, D.C. The port isn’t in D.C., it’s 40 miles away in Baltimore, MD (which didn’t make the list). But the nation’s capital is close enough to a major port to make it a viable stopover for a few days before or after your trip. Check out cruise ship information for Baltimore.
18. Los Angeles, CA, as a kid I thought this was the only embarkation point in the U.S. because Pacific Princess, aka The Love Boat sailed from there each week. As ports go, this one is terribly inconvenient, and I recommend you fly into Long Beach rather than LAX. Of course the LA area is chock-a-block full of homos. When cruising from LA, I enjoy staying in the Long Beach area, which has a good vibe and plenty of gays rather than traipsing clear up to the West Hollywood scene. Here’s the cruise ship schedule for Los Angeles.
20. Miami / Ft. Lauderdale, FL, hard to believe this was the last city(s) on their list, considering South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale are both high on the travel gaydar scale. But better last than not at all. Both Miami and Fort Lauderdale are great gay destinations; personally I prefer Miami for hanging out (and not just for South Beach), but Fort Lauderdale Pier’s (Port Everglades) proximity to the airport is perfection. Here’s the Miami cruise ship schedule, and here’s the Fort Lauderdale cruise ship info.
JayTaylor, and Dave Cantrall are discussing. Toggle Comments
If you’re sailing from Seattle to Alaska (or repositioning) this fall, you may want to arrive a day early and catch the
Broadway touring musical Wicked at the Paramount Theatre. Of course you’ll get lots of great entertainment on your cruise, but Wicked is musical theatre at its best.
If you’re not familiar with Wicked (and it’s hard to imagine a gay person who isn’t), it is the re-imagined back-story of the two witches from The Wizard of Oz. And it’s simply brilliant.
Amazingly, Seattle ticket prices start at just $27…a number you’re unlikely to find on Broadway, and a price we likely will never see again once the recession is over.
Ports where you could see Wicked in the coming months:
Often called “The Emerald City,” a nod to its perpetual greenness, Seattle offers a lot for gay cruise travelers to do before or after a cruise. Capitol Hill is the city’s main gay village, but Seattleites tend to be a liberal and progressive bunch, and the majority of them seem plenty gay-friendly.
Here are three excellent, gay-friendly lodging choices in reasonable proximity to Seattle’s two cruise terminals.
Your room key features a retro-photo of a guy, try not to giggle when the staff tells you to insert it “legs first, face up.” The Max is tucked in the middle of Seattle’s skyscrapers, and is the downtown address for art and modern design fans. In true gay fashion, Hotel Max takes a tired old property (long known as Vance Hotel) and smartens it way, way up, with carpets and shower curtains echoing the charcoal pinstripe suits of nearby bank managers while accent chairs, throws, and pillows are in hits of bright orange and red. Hallways are a treat—the doors are covered with black-and-white prints of classic Italian street scenes and sculpture. Staff are super-friendly and helpful.
- Best for: Urban-design types—easy walking distance to Pacific Place Shopping Centre and Pike Place Market.
- Gay Friendly: Very. Gay bars and the Capitol Hill gay neighborhood are 10-15 minutes walk or less than $10 by cab.
- Distance to cruise pier: 0.8 miles (Pier 66), 3.5 miles (pier 91)
- Distance to SeaTac International Airport: 13 miles.
- Secret tip: Rooms lean to the small side, so if travelling with another couple, request a large king, with a queen sofa sleeper, and you get plenty of breathing room.
- Extra touch: Forget something? An intimacy kit next to the bed including lickable oil, massage bar, 3 condoms, 2 lubes, and a pleasure ring. It’ll cost you $30, but in the heat of the moment…
The location in Seattle’s gay Capitol Hill neighborhood will appeal to many – Gaslight is an easy walk to the city’s gay bars (my fave: Madison Pub) and many outstanding restaurants (if you don’t try Poppy, you blew your trip to Seattle). Gaslight is a historic mansion, and has been owned/operated by the same business partners since 1983. Over the years, they have very lovingly restored it to Victorian glory. Public areas are delightful and welcoming. Unfortunately, this B&B has a 2-night minimum…but don’t worry, Seattle can entertain you for way more nights than that!
- Best for: Cruisers who like to be in the middle of all things gay!
- Gay Friendly: Straight-friendly would be a better question! Gay-owned, but welcomes straights.
- Distance to cruise pier: 2.6 miles (Pier 66), 4.5 miles (Pier 91)
- Distance to Seattle Tacoma Int’l Airport: 16.3 miles
- Secret tip: Walking downtown for shopping or Pike Place Market is easy, but climbing back up Capitol Hill is a bitch. A #10 public bus will take you right back home.
- Extra touch: A Pacific Northwest rarity: a fabulous and fairly private backyard swimming pool.
Calling itself Seattle’s “only luxury waterfront hotel,” the surprisingly cozy Edgewater is literally next door to Pier 66, where many Seattle cruises start/end. The hotel itself sits on a pier over the ocean, and the incredibly long hallways feel like you’re already on board a cruise ship. Everything about it says “Pacific Northwest,” especially the cabin-ish wood wainscoting in public areas, the elk-antler chandeliers and chairs, and roaring lobby fireplace. The hotel bar is perfect for an early-evening libation with stunning views over the water to Bainbridge Island.
- Best for: those who fly in the night before and want to stay at the pier.
- Gay Friendly: Enough, it’s Seattle, after all. Staff say they’ve never had a complaint.
- Distance to cruise pier: Zero miles to Pier 66, 2.7 miles to Pier 91
- Distance to SeaTac International Airport:15 miles.
- Secret tip: Wood structure hotel means you’ll want a top-floor room! Even-numbered rooms from the high 30s to 50s generally have both water and city views.
- Extra touch: Teddy bear on every bed will certainly set the mood for a certain gay demographic.
Researched and written by Randall Shirley
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