RSVP is drawing a diverse group of passengers aboard their trips. According to Roper, women are now 10 percent of their passengers. He anticipates 350 lesbians to join RSVP for its sailing aboard the brand new MSC Divina for a Caribbean sailing from Miami Feb. 15, 2014.
One reason for the increasing draw of women travelers is due to the work of Rachel Pearson, RSVP's first lesbian executive producer who is responsible for operations and entertainment. Women traveling on RSVP will find lesbian comics Jessica Kirson and Poppy Champlin. There are women-only brunches, disco and cocktail hours.
"Our women passengers find RSVP an alternative to Sweet and Olivia," said Roper. Sweet and Olivia cater to lesbian travelers offering cruises and land-based trips.
That's not to say that gay men—who still account for 90 percent of the ship—will have to forgo their leather and underwear parties. With more Europeans and South Americans discovering RSVP Vacations, the clientele is diversifying beyond RSVP's traditional U.S. base.
Even though Roper is RSVP's new president, he said the questions about the RSVP vacation experience remain consistent over the 29-year history of the company: Will I fit in? Is it a floating bathhouse?
Roper asks new customers to take a leap of faith as a first-time gay cruiser. He promises that it will be the best vacation of their lives. He says an RSVP Vacation is like a gay summer camp.
Also, RSVP Vacations is even more affordable. Since 2011, its prices have dropped nearly 30 percent while still offering brand-new luxury ships. Prices per person for the Caribbean sailing begin at $899 and $1,200 for a balcony stateroom. The Italian-designed ship will sail to popular destinations in the Caribbean with a gay-friendly and welcoming culture: French and Dutch island of St. Maarten, San Juan and a day on a private island. Discount airfares are available on American Airlines. Reserve online or call 800-433-1790 and receive 5 percent off applicable fares by using promotion code 3724AF. To book a cruise, visit www.rsvpvacations.com .
If you are looking for a European vacation, RSVP will soon announce a five-star luxury riverboat cruise in July 2014 that will end in Amsterdam for the city's massive gay pride festival.