What is it about Kate Gosselin that inspires such hostility? When we reported in this space on Monday that reality television star Kate Gosselin — she of “Kate Plus 8″ and “Dancing With the Stars” fame — has her own theme cruise, more than 45 percent of readers who voted in our poll said they’d cancel their cruise if she were onboard. Even if that cruise were on the largest ship in the world, Royal Caribbean‘s 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas.
Given the rabid response of readers on the Lido Deck, Facebook and our message boards, we figured we should take a closer look and answer some questions that keep popping up.
Who planned this cruise? The partial ship charter is being organized by Luxury Cruises and Tours, a division of Alice Travel — a travel agency that has hosted other celebrity theme cruises, including the Paula Deen cruise. Royal Caribbean has not formed a partnership with Gosselin. The agency has bought group space on Allure’s August 12 sailing and can sell that space per its contract with the cruise line.
Who’s going on it? Charlene Failla, president of Luxury Cruises and Tours, told the Lido Deck that bookings for the Gosselin cruise opened on Friday and, so far, the company has received a “good amount of calls.” The largest amount of interest has come from single women and parents of multiples. Some of Gosselin’s famous twins and sextuplets may be cruising, too. Failla tells us that while Gosselin has expressed interest in bringing some of her kids onboard, she won’t decide which ones until closer to sailing. (You can just imagine the scene at home: “Eat your spinach or you can’t go on the Royal Caribbean cruise with mommy!”)
What if it doesn’t sell out? Will it be canceled? If you’re one of the 14 people who voted that you’d love to cruise with Kate, know that the theme cruise does not need to sell a minimum number of cabins to take place, and if existing space sells out, the travel agency can acquire more cabins. Plus, if you want to go to the Kate events but your travel partner does not, the cruise line can book one person in a cabin at the Kate rate (ranging from $1,900 to $3,175 per person, based on double occupancy) and the other at the regular cruise fare. If you’re comparing prices, note that the theme cruise rates already include all taxes, fees and gratuities — as well as the cost for the exclusive Kate Gosselin events.
But here’s the catch: If Gosselin cancels, you’re still beholden to the regular cruise line cancellation policies. Luxury Cruises and Tours will refund any Kate-related fees, but if you’re past final payment, you will have to pay typical penalties to cancel your sailing. Theme cruise star flakiness is not a covered reason under most travel insurance policies. So be sure you want to go on this cruise, Kate or not.
Won’t her presence impact the rest of the cruise, regardless of whether you’re part of her group? If you’re booked on this sailing and are worried about the effect of Gosselin’s presence on your vacation, you probably don’t need to be. Failla says that Luxury Cruises and Tours is experienced with celebrity cruises and will have appropriate security for Gosselin, with passes and badges required for all special events.
So what’s in it for Gosselin? Yes, Kate is being paid to appear on the cruise — receiving an undisclosed amount per person booked. Failla says celebrities usually donate the fees to a charity, but Gosselin has not revealed which charity she may be promoting on this cruise. Many of you will likely think the charity will be the Gosselin eight college fund….
Find out more about this and other theme cruises.
Interested in the world’s largest cruise ship? Read Cruise Critic member reviews of Allure of the Seas.
Get your very own Lido Deck subscription.