There are 300 friends you haven’t met yet, and they are sailing every year on the HIV Cruise Retreat. There is simply something powerful about having a thrilling vacation where your HIV status is not an issue. Sure, we draw support from one another — but a lot of that support takes the form of watching you step off a platform for a zip-line high above a lush rain forest, snorkeling in crystal clear water, or helping you apply sunscreen on the most beautiful beaches in the world.
There’s a very good reason the HIV Cruise Retreat has grown steadily for the last ten years: it allows you to truly be yourself. All the social walls that so often divide us fall away, and our status and age and appearance are all embraced among a new and loving family. In other words, your friends list is about to have a growth spurt!
You have also picked the perfect year to join us: the 2015 event brings the cruise back to Southern California after many years departing from the east coast. The new itinerary and location will energize our regular passengers and bring new faces from the west coast. We expect it to be the largest and most entertaining cruise yet.
This is not a fully chartered ship like a RSVP or Atlantis cruise. But we are a large group of about 300 people with our own scheduled private group activities including cocktail parties, disco nights, plus R (maybe X) rated games, which are very well received. Join our private excursions designed exclusively for our guests, which tend to be less expensive than similar excursions offered by the cruise line. And waaaay more fun!
We return to the lovely Ruby Princess which been our home away from home on some of our most successful sailings. Princess, known for outstanding cuisine, superior service and entertainment, offers spacious cabins and many onboard activities including a spa, work out room, casino, movies under the stars, and Las Vegas style revue shows. Princess in annually rated as one of the top large ship cruise lines.
We will be sailing roundtrip from San Pedro (just outside of Long Beach/ Los Angeles) to an exotic mix of beach towns on the Mexican Western Riviera. Each town has its very own local charm and flavor.
Our first stop is the world class beach resort of Puerto Vallarta. Known for fantastic beaches, Spanish colonial architecture, and lush verdant rain forest and mountainous terrain, Puerto Vallarta is also a gay Mecca with the famed gay beach, bars, clubs and restaurants in the Zona Romantica. Chill out on the beach, zip line in the mountains or just stroll the seaside Malecon.
Mazatlan! It’s a historic capital. It’s a beach resort. It’s a lively, romantic town. Whatever you look for in a Mexican vacation is on the menu in Mazatlan. Returning travelers rave about the welcoming Mazatlecos, who treat you like old amigos, as well as the beaches, the food, the weather, the music and the feeling of never wanting to leave.
Our third and final stop is Cabo San Lucas at the very southern tip of the Baja peninsula. Known as a playground for the rich and famous, Cabo has fantastic beaches, spectacular snorkel and scuba diving, surfing and some of the best tequilas in all of Mexico. Nearby is the charming town of San Jose del Cabo and its amazing array of crafts and artisans.
Returning as our Emcee for the fifth year is author and blogger, Mark S King. Mark’s blog “My Fabulous Disease” is one of the most widely read blogs in the country. Now you can also read Mark’s book, “A Place Like This”. Mark’s flair for humor his ability to connect to the group has the ability make us feel welcomed right from the beginning. Welcome back Mark!
The HIV Retreat Cruise is a week to be remembered. We hope our terrific memories this year will include you!