Chris Holliday and Emma Goswell, hosts of “Chris & Emma at Breakfast” on U.K. radio station Gaydio, will broadcast live from Emerald Sky during the eight-day Danube Explorer itinerary. // © 2016 Emerald Waterways
Feature image (above): Emerald Waterways’ LGBT cruise will depart from Budapest, Hungary, July 29, 2017. // © 2016 iStock
Emerald Waterways has announced the launch of an LGBT cruise onboard Emerald Sky departing Budapest, Hungary, July 29, 2017.
Although companies such as Brand G already arrange river cruise charters worldwide for LGBT travelers, this sailing is offered and booked by Emerald itself, extending the range of its guests and positioning itself as an LGBT-friendly company.
Consumer research indicates that the LGBT community will pay premium prices to travel with companies it perceives as actively inclusive, and the potential market is impressive. According to the “20th Annual LGBT Tourism & Hospitality” survey conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, the LGBT travel market is now valued at more than $200 billion in annual spending. Increased social acceptance and legalization of same-sex marriage has opened the floodgates, and major hotel chains, including Marriott and Hilton, have set up dedicated microsites and vacation packages, while targeted advertising campaigns are coming from destinations and hospitality sectors.
Emerald’s eight-day Danube Explorer itinerary will blend traditional cruise offerings and special activities for LGBT passengers. Sky will call in ports including Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna; and Passau, Germany, ending in Nuremberg. Guests can participate in sightseeing classics — hosted afternoon tea, a classical concert in a Viennese palace and an excursion to Salzburg, Austria — but Emerald also will feature LGBT-themed tours in Vienna and Budapest, an LGBT film festival in the onboard cinema and an LGBT quiz night. And for three days during the cruise, Chris Holliday and Emma Goswell, hosts of “Chris & Emma at Breakfast” on U.K. radio station Gaydio, will broadcast live from the ship.
Set from $2,545 per person, the fare includes all transfers and gratuities, a shore excursion each day and a Free Premium Drinks Package worth up to $350 per couple, with unlimited beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks onboard throughout the cruise — another perk to attract what agents believe will be first-time river cruisers.