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Drag queens and tattooists go cruising for millennials

March 11, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Drag queens and tattoo artists are cruising – or preparing to cruise – on oceans and on European rivers as Uniworld’s ‘U by Uniworld’ brand follows a trailblazing vision announced last year by Virgin Voyages.

The aim is to break the established mould and lure aboard more millennials, the demographic sector aged this year (roughly) from 23 to 38.

Virgin Voyages revealed a few months back that its first ship, Scarlet Lady, would “bring stylish tattoo artistry to the high seas” with an on-board tattoo parlour called Squid Ink – and would have a drag queen in residence.

Virgin’s ship won’t take to the seas until next year, at least. The Travel Corporation’s U by Uniworld has a drag-queen-themed cruise, and a tattoo-themed cruise, on sale now for travel mid-2019.

Stranger things have happened at sea. Cruises (mainly out of Miami) have been themed around zombies, knitting, Star Trek, nudism, vampires, Elvis, quilts, chocolate, and murder mysteries.

In New York last November, president and chief of Virgin Voyages, Tom McAlpin, accurately described tattooing as a time-honoured seafaring tradition.

“We’re continuing that legacy with rock and roll style by bringing some of the best ink artists to sea,” McApin told a press conference – followed by dinner hosted by a troupe of drag queens and a set by rocker Joan Jett.

U by Uniworld’s drag queens and tattoo sailings last seven nights aboard The A, one of U by Uniworld’s two 120-passenger vessels.

Germany sets the scene. U by Uniworld’s drag queen sailing departs 6 July 2019 from Regensburg (with drag queens Jiggly Caliente, Darienne Lake and Phi Phi O’Hara) while U by Uniworld’s tattoo cruise departs Frankfurt 17 August 2019, with celebrity tattoo artists Bobby Moss, Reese Hilburn and Steve Tefft, leading tattoo model Heather Moss and tattoo expert Paul Gambino “for a week dedicated to all things ink”.

Heather Moss, leading tattoo model featured on U by Uniworld Themed Cruises

Tattoo on U includes:

  • Onboard welcome party co-hosted by celebrity tattoo artists
  • Show off your tattoos for a chance to win AUD 200 to your favourite tattoo shop
  • Three chances to win a tattoo from one of the celebrity artists throughout the cruise
  • Guests can also get tattoos onboard throughout the week from celebrity tattoo artists at an additional cost
  • Tattoo parlour crawl at a stop along the way
  • Onboard brunch seminars with tattoo expert Paul Gambino
  • Swag bag of tattoo after-care products and INKED Magazine merchandise
  • Open bar onboard throughout the cruise

Celebrity drag queens (L to R) Phi Phi O’hara, Darienne Lake and Jiggly Caliente star on U by Uniworld’s ‘U in Drag’ themed cruise

Included: three meals daily, two dedicated U Hosts, a night out in Frankfurt (“eat, drink and be merry in the traditional Ebbelwoi bars in Sachsenhausen”), excursions and local DJ set.

The ‘U in Drag’ cruise includes “onboard activities co-hosted by celebrity drag queens”, karaoke night, drag makeup lesson, comedy show, dinner, “exclusive bar crawl at one of our stops along the way” and open bar aboard throughout the cruise.

Both cruises costs from AUD 4399 per person (double occupancy).

Above: Stranger things have happened at sea. Nude cruise several years ago on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam


Written by Peter Needham

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