Making a Difference :: Sweet Lesbian Cruises
Late last year, Sweet - a lesbian travel company - launched the company’s inaugural cruise, setting sail to destinations in the Western Caribbean. Setting Sweet apart from other lesbian cruises is the goal of company co-founders Shannon Wentworth and Jen Rainin: to make the world a better place while having a blast in it. How do they plan to do it? For starters, they’re organizing "voluntourism" at each port.
Cruising, the Sweet way :: A Travel Diary
Checking In and Off To Lunch
Most cruise companies suggest that vacationers arrive in the city from which they’ll be embarking one day before the cruise actually leaves, to make sure there’s enough time to board the ship and get settled in. It’s a good idea, and one we highly recommend, especially given the "issues" and insanity with the airlines and air travel today. While it may mean the added expense of a night’s hotel stay, it makes things much easier come embarkation day, and should problems arrive during transit beforehand, it can be a lifesaver- and possibly mean the difference between making your cruise and missing it.
I arrived in New Orleans a day early, and took a shuttle bus to the Chateau Bourbon, a gay-friendly Wyndham Historic Hotel located in the famous French Quarter. My room was beautiful; for starters, it featured a small sitting area - separated from the sleeping area - with a second television, small coffee table, and sofa. A door lead onto a common terrace, used mostly for events (although I pretended it was my private yard!). After a long flight it was great to have somewhere to stretch my legs.
Since I was setting sail in less than 24-hours, I didn’t bother unpacking; instead, I decided to meet up with Andra Douglas, owner of the New York Sharks. A friend of mine, Andra was traveling with her partner Linda; me, I was traveling with Esther, my rubber chicken.
Hungry, we headed to a nearby restaurant for a quick lunch- at the adorable (and gay owned and operated) Cafe Amelie (pictured, www.cafeamelie.com ) Although they offer a few tables indoors, for the full effect you’ll want to take advantage of the atmosphere of the Princess of Monaco Courtyard and Carriage House. Then get ready for some great food.
We took general manager Danny Akers’ advice, and were happy we did. I enjoyed the Roasted Beet Salad (field greens, goat cheese and walnuts) followed by Cochon De Lait, a sandwich featuring spicy pulled pork, mayo, and sweet-spicy pickles on ciabatta. One of their signature "mocktails" - a fruity non-alcoholic drink of fresh lemonade with crushed berries - was another big winner.
Not simply satisfied with giving guests a fabulous vacation, Sweet believes that companies should also help support - and beautify - the communities in which the company operates.
Before embarkation began, co-owner Shannon Wentworth led a team of "Sweeties," who visited - and helped to clean up - local marshes that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Together the team planted 600 batches of new grasses.
Next :: Embarkation