LGBT FAMILY CRUISE UPDATE: PORT (AND LIFE) LESSONS IN JAMAICA

31 12 2015
Gay blended family in Jamaica and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay blended family in Jamaica

From Jamaica: Our Go, Daddy writer, gay-dad Paul J. Heney, his partner and kids are on their first-ever family cruise on Carnival Cruise Line. Here’s an update from their first port of call. Our first port of call on this Carnival cruise was Falmouth, Jamaica. I was a little conflicted about this stop.

Jamaica is one of the most stridently anti-gay countries on the planet, and so I felt somewhat opposed to giving any of my tourist dollars to the local economy. In the end, I decided to not make any sort of crusade out of it, and instead tried to use it as a teaching moment for our kids. While I’ve told them in the past about areas of the country or the world where LGBT people aren’t liked or tolerated, this was more real to them. They seemed shocked that such an innocuous looking place–and somewhere that we actually were–was such a “bad” part of the world, at least in one respect. 

We devised a back story that Lance was my brother-in-law–married to my fictional sister Maureen. (They do have an Aunt Maureen, so that made it easier for them to remember.) I told them the chances of us getting in trouble for being gay was about zero, but that locals might treat us poorly or give us dirty looks if they found out. 

As we had an excursion booked through the cruise line the next day in Grand Cayman, I suggested we try a different route in Jamaica. We merely walked off the ship with no firm plans and wandered into the tiny port town. Locals selling all sorts of brightly colored clothing lined the narrow streets. The kids, Matthew in particular, seemed a little taken aback at the poverty. After walking down a few streets, one of the locals named Dennis approached me with an offer to take us to Montego Bay and back, tell us about the island, take us to a good beach and a city overlook, etc. He described himself as “a family man” like me and a Christian. We listened to his story about charging us $100 instead of the normal $120, but kept walking and showed only minimal interest. Eventually he came down to $80 and I said it was Lance’s decision because he had the wallet. Lance then got him down to $70–a pretty good deal for the 4 of us!

We spent 90 minutes at the Doctors Cave Beach Club beach, a gorgeous crescent of sand with light blue green water. A huge inflatable trampoline about 100 feet offshore was all that Josh needed to make his day. It cost us $21 (cash) to access the beach and $12 for an umbrella and a chair. Matthew quickly made friends with a little Jamaican boy and they had a splendid time playing in the waves. Lance and I enjoyed people watching and goofing in the water a bit. There were some downright amazing bodies walking about, and I could see how Stella could get her groove back on a place like this!

Afterwards, Lance showed the boys his incredible bargaining skills in a few of the local shops in Montego Bay and then Dennis drove us to a lovely overlook before heading back to the ship. He did start up a conversation about where mom was today—Matthew started to answer that she lived at home and I interrupted and said something to the effect that, “The ladies wanted a spa day on the ship.”

Friends will vouch that I’m pretty militant and am usually the first one to fight the good fight. So it was hard to bite my lip even for a few hours, but I suppose I need to pick my battles—while keeping the kids’ eyes wide open about the bigger battles we still have to face.

 





Gay Family Fun in Baltimore

30 09 2015

Gay families in Baltimore, in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

ManAboutWorld correspondent Paul J. Heney, his partner and their two growing boys brought back this report from Baltimore after a recent visit. No kids? No worries! You don’t need progeny to enjoy this article or learn practical and important trip-planning information about Baltimore, like the use of Old Bay. You don’t know what that is? Read on!

WHERE

Baltimore has always seemed to me to be a bit misplaced — it has that “big city with a small town feel” that so many Midwestern cities tout. But this metropolitan area of 2.7 million people is strategically placed on the East Coast, about 45 minutes north of our nation’s capital. It’s easily accessible from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. And its modern airport has always gotten our family through efficiently. It’s not much more than an hours flight from places like Chicago or Atlanta, so it’s a nice option for a long family weekend.

WHY GO TO BALTIMORE

Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor is the center of its attractions, and the density of things to do in such a small area makes it Gay family fun in Baltimore, in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinean ideal vacation spot for families of all shapes and sizes. The collection of museums, variety of restaurants, and waterfront activities can quickly fill up a weekend, making you wish you’d planned a few more days in this aptly named “Charm City.”

Weather is generally pleasant from spring through fall, although humidity can occasionally be overbearing in the middle of summer, so be forewarned. Baltimore has a great variety of festivals (including gay celebrations) throughout the year, so you may wish to check out the calendar at VisitBaltimore.com before planning your visit.

GAY FACTOR

While neighboring Washington, D.C. may get more media attention for its gay life, Baltimore holds its own with its queer vibe. The “gayborhood,” if you will, is the lovely Mount Vernon neighborhood, just north of the city center, and its environs are quite LGBT popular and friendly. There are numerous theaters, art museums and gay establishments dotting this area. And who can forget that Baltimore is the beloved home of iconic director John Walters? Fellow Hollywood writers Barry Levinson and David Simon also grew up in the city. Annual LGBT-oriented events in the city include:

PLANNING RESOURCES

According to Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Baltimore, his organization has an LGBT Tourism Advisory Committee that includes many of the city’s family-focused attractions, including the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and the American Visionary Art Museum. Noonan noted that there is a Baltimore LGBT Visitors Guidehttp://issuu.com/baltimoregaylife/docs/baltimorelgbtguide2014?e=1223151/7404635 that is produced by GayLife, the local gay monthly. The Visitors Guide offers a wealth of knowledge, with sections on accommodations, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, congregations, neighborhoods, and even a wedding guide.

For more about where to stay, eat, and what to do, download ManAboutWorld on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. We support iPads, iPhones and Android devices. There are a few FREE publications in all of the apps, and you can click here to register for a FREE three-month subscription.





Go, Daddy: Gay Family Travel in Baltimore

14 04 2015

Gay family travel as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Our Go, Daddy correspondent Paul and his son.

ManAboutWorld correspondent was invited to Baltimore on an LGBT family media visit. Below is one of his dispatches posted via his Twitter page. Check out the rest of his updates on our Twitter page (MAWtraveland read his full report in an upcoming issue of ManAboutWorld magazine

Via: Paul J. Heney @paulheney

Sightseeing is hard work!! I have one tired cookie at dinner.@BaltimoreMD @MAWtravel @TWtravelnews #baltimorepic.twitter.com/UWjUl46cxY

 





R Family Vacations Celebrates 11 years of Gay Family Travel

19 10 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 7.20.31 PMThe latest gay travel column from Global Correspondent Jeff Guaracino celebrates 11 years of gay family travel.

R Family Vacations was founded eleven years ago by travel entrepreneur Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli Carpenter and since then 19,000 people have traveled the world with Gregg and Kelli on trips designed just for our community.

R Family Vacations is unique in the travel space. The R Family experience is for everyone. Families don’t just mean children. It can be adults with their adult gay or lesbian child or childless LGBT couples who are looking for a different experience than that of Atlantis Events, RSVP Vacations or Olivia.

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ManAboutWorld’s March Issue Ready For Download!

10 03 2014

Aloha!

ManAboutWorld’s latest issue is ready for download. Subscribers: Open your iPad, tap on ManAboutWorld, go to Library, download and enjoy. Non-subscribers may find us in the AppStore. Or click on our website to subscribe and get access to all our back issues.

This is our coolest — and hottest — cover, yet.

Learn why we love Hawaii and its beautiful aloha spirit.

Other coverage includes:

  • Gay family travel to Kauai
  • Washington, DC
  • Merida, Mexico
  • Panama City, Panama
  • 6 fabulous honeymoon hotels
  • and more

Wait, not a subscriber? (Est-ce possible ?! :). Become one now and get access to all our back issues for free.





Traveling Gay Dads: Winter Wonderland Vacation in the Colorado Rockies

11 02 2014

DSC_0013Haven Caylor is a ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, father to two incredibly cute kids and one of our “Gay Traveling Dads.” He and his husband recently took Ammon and Carter to the Colorado Rockies for a family ski vacation.

I almost fell (it would have been worth it) as I looked over my shoulder at Carter and Ammon skiing down behind me on Fairway Run at Copper Mountain on February 7, 2014.  I skied ahead another 20 yards, slowed way down, started a wide turn so they could hear me and yelled up, “Great job, Carter! Great job, Ammon!” I then turned down the hill and couldn’t stop smiling. When we all stopped at the Kokomo Ski Lift, we celebrated with high fives and a group hug. We were so proud! We had another sporting activity we could enjoy as a family.

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Traveling Gay Dads: You’re Going to Disney!

14 10 2013

WDW havenHaven Caylor is a ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, father to two incredibly cute kids and one of our “Gay Traveling Dads.” He and his husband recently took Ammon and Carter to Walt Disney World Resort. Here his update from the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Let the Memories Begin”….and treasure them in your heart when the awesome adventure is over. Ammon, Carter, Sean, and I spent the 3rd week of September at Walt Disney World Resort.  For 8 adventure-filled days, we spent time in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom. My synoptic advise for Walt Disney World is GO THERE! Save your money, plan your itinerary (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com was my all-inclusive helper), go, and ENJOY! I also have 3 other pieces of advice I would like to share.

1) Stay on the Walt Disney World Resort. The use of its monorail and bus system is first rate. I highly recommend the Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Carter, Ammon, Sean, and I stayed there, and it was in a perfect location. We could walk to the Magic Kingdom in less than 10 minutes, and in the evenings if we were leaving from the Magic Kingdom, it was the first stop off the monorail. We had chosen to drive our own vehicle from our home in Chattanooga to Orlando, and when we parked our car upon our Bay Lake Tower arrival, we didn’t touch it again until 8 days later when we returned home.

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2) Take advantage of Walt Disney World’s meal plans. The reason I have is two-fold. The first reason is that the food is wonderful. The meal plan we chose was the simple, Disney Dining Plan. It included one sit-down meal a day (lots of buffets with all you can eat menus), one quick-service meal a day (a variety of cuisines with PLENTY of food…it’s only called quick-service because it’s “to go”), and one snack a day per person. I gained about 5 pounds while I was there, and that was with jogging every morning for an hour and then walking in the parks all day! The second reason to be on the meal plan is that the sit-down meals include the Character Meals where your children can meet Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, princesses, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and even newer characters such as Agent Oso and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. The characters (especially the princesses) are so engaging with the children and they all give individual attention to each child who is dining.

3) Have fun and take advantage of extra opportunities to have extra fun. Sean and I spent a little extra money for a special event (not included in the regular ticketing price) called Mickey’s Not-So- Scary Halloween Party. The Magic Kingdom closed at 7:00 PM on Tuesday and Friday for the special event. We chose to attend on Friday night. All the rides were available, there was Trick- or-Treating all over the park, special fireworks were plentiful, and a special Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade with plenty of Disney Villains ran twice. Carter and Ammon even attended a special Halloween dance in Adventureland with Woody and Jessie from “Toy Story”.

Walt Disney World is a special place for families. As you walk into the Magic Kingdom, there is a marquee that states, “Let the Memories Begin”. We have marvelous memories of the Walt Disney World Resort, and you will too.








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