Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-11-19
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Veteran killed; Perry disrupted; Collins honored Veteran killed; Perry disrupted; Collins honored
An Army veteran beaten by a man he met at a bar ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Getting Away with R Family Vacations
by Andrew Davis
2005-01-12

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Pictured Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli O'Donnell on last year's cruise . Rosie O'Donnell on the 2004 R Family cruise.

When people hear the term 'gay travel package,' they think of lots of skin, exotic locales—and even more skin. While this may be fine for some singles, it leaves gay couples and their ( extended ) families out in the cold.

Fortunately, R Family Vacations is here to fill the void. Started by Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli O'Donnell ( wife of celebrity Rosie O'Donnell ) , this travel company not only appeals to both gays and lesbians, but families as well—and that includes kids.

Kelli O'Donnell recently chatted with Windy City Times; the one-time Chicagoan discussed everything from going to the Bahamas to connecting with other gay families.

Windy City Times: How did the concept of R Family Vacations begin and how did it become a reality?

Kelli O'Donnell: My business partner, Gregg Kaminsky, used to work for Atlantis Vacations, a charter company that caters to gay men. About three or four years ago, the main talent for a cruise ended up cancelling. He called [ Rosie ] to ask if she knew anyone who could [ substitute ] and she said she would do it. So we went on the cruise and it was an amazing experience. Ro asked Gregg if anyone had done cruises for gay families; he said no but that he was interested. So after he left Atlantis, we sat down with a business plan and here we are.

WCT: So being family-friendly is what makes your company different from other businesses?

KOD: Actually, the main difference is that the passengers are about half men and half women. The next biggest difference is that there are lots of children on board; however, not every family brings kids. Sometimes it's just a gay man traveling with a lesbian best friend, for example. Other times, people just bring their parents. Yes, there's edgy entertainment—but there [ is ] also family-friendly [ fare ] .

WCT: So the entertainment is a mix of things.

KOD: Yes. Last time [ in R Family Vacation's maiden voyage ] , we left from New York City ( which is where we're leaving from this year as well ) . Basically, we put any unemployed Broadway actor in a taxicab; the performers took over the ship and put on a great opening number. We had a great comedy extravaganza; Joy Behar performed. The entertainment appeals to gay families; couples; and straight friends and family.

I had my whole family on board last year and everyone had fun. I brought my partner and kids, obviously—but I also brought my parents; siblings; and their spouses and kids. A family of eight might come with us—and there's only one couple in [ that bunch ] . About 15 percent of the people who traveled last year were straight friends and family members.

WCT: So as long as you're open-minded ...

KOD: ... and you like good Broadway, this cruise is for you. [ Laughs. ] It's definitely a gay cruise but it felt like such a great thing to bring my family on board and have them see that it's not always what they think it is.

WCT: Describe this year's trip. It's a one-week excursion, right?

KOD: Correct. We'll probably add another trip in 2006. This year's trip happens on July 10. We're leaving from New York City and going up to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then, we're going down the Cape; we're going to Provincetown, Boston, and Martha's Vineyard—and then back to New York City.

WCT: What was last year's trip like?

KOD: You know what's interesting? We had all the pieces in place but we didn't really realize the magic that was going to take place. People who had never met another gay family met other families and it was powerful—not just for them, but for their kids as well. By the way, we had 600 kids on board.

WCT: Speaking of kids, what's their program like?

KOD: There's an amazing kids' program on board. Passengers can use it as much or as little as they want. You can check them in the morning and check them out at night if you want.

Also, there are 10 restaurants on board with all types of cuisines. We've arranged a schedule where parents can go to a buffet with kids, feed their children, check their children into the program, have a nice night out, get the kids later on that night, and put them to bed. So you can have a night out without the kids if you want.

WCT: And what parent doesn't want that on occasion?

KOD: Exactly. Trust me; I have four kids.

WCT: Regarding reservations, can people make them online?

KOD: No, you can't make cruise reservations online. However, you can call our office directly [ at ( 866 ) 732-6822 ] . There are only three of us here so you'll get to know everyone here.

WCT: What are the best and most difficult parts of running this business?

KOD: The best part is connecting to other gay families. I feel like I'm part of one of the best-known gay families in this country; like us, I feel that there are thousands of other [ similar ] families looking to connect.

The most challenging part is making sure that everyone's happy. The interesting thing is that last year we had only two complaints on our cruise—and that's incredible. I'm not so sure people are going to be easy on us this year. Another hard thing is finding the next right trip for our families. We're looking at possibly having a ski trip or a trip out to a dude ranch.

WCT: Any concluding thoughts?

KOD: I highly recommended coming on the cruise. Everyone has a ball and it'll be the experience of a lifetime.

Kelli O'Donnell and Gregg Kaminsky will appear at a mixer at La Tache Restaurant, 1475 W. Balmoral, on Sunday, Jan. 16 from 5-7 p.m. There will be complimentary food and drinks; giveaways; and lots of helpful information regarding this year's cruise. For more information about the event, call ( 773 ) 334-7168.

For more information about the company, visit www.rfamilyvacations.com . To make a reservation, call ( 866 ) 732-6822.

At A Glance:

Kelli O'Donnell

Favorite childhood memory: That would be coming up to New York City from Louisiana and seeing all the Broadway shows. Les Miserables sticks out in my mind.

Favorite Chicago neighborhood: Andersonville.

Favorite video game: Pac-Man, of course.

Choice—BMW or Corvette?: BMW.

Choice—Dogs or cats?: Oh, dogs. I'm allergic to cats.

Choice—Creativity or logic?: Definitely logic. I'm married to one of the most creative people I know. If one of us wasn't logical, I don't know we'd have a house! [ Laughs. ]


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Rogers Park transgender woman, her landlord both file lawsuits 2014-11-22
Pride at Work Chicago calls for minimum wage vote in veto session 2014-11-21
Immigration reform executive order announced, groups repond 2014-11-21
aChurch4Me observes Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014-11-21
PASSAGES Dorothy Chvatal dies at 64 2014-11-21
Michael Sam on coming out, his childhood, being at bottom 2014-11-21
HRC condemns passage of anti-LGBT law in The Gambia 2014-11-21
Empowerment from loss at the Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014-11-20
President Obama announces immigration accountability executive action 2014-11-20
Frerichs prevails in treasurer's race 2014-11-20
Country star Ty Herndon comes out of the closet 2014-11-20
2016 Bingham Cup heads to Nashville, not Chicago 2014-11-20
U.S. Supreme Court clears way for SC same-sex marriage 2014-11-20
AFC prepares for 30th anniversary 2014-11-20
Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional 2014-11-19
Director Mike Nichols dies 2014-11-19
Marriage begins Thursday at noon in South Carolina 2014-11-19
LGBT and civil rights groups: Don't exclude LGBT immigrants 2014-11-19
Jason Collins to retire from NBA 2014-11-19
TWO has 'Religion Freedom Farce' campaign; Plaque honors Washington 2014-11-19
Darren Walker: The first out gay president of the Ford Foundation 2014-11-19
HRC releases municipal index 2014-11-19
Social Security plaintiff on love, loss and the fight ahead 2014-11-19
Leaving a legacy: Danny Kopelson reflects on Hall of Fame life 2014-11-19
VIEWS Stigma continues with new HIV-criminalization case 2014-11-19
DANCIN' FEATS Da' Von Doane embraces all facets of himself 2014-11-19
THEATER REVIEW Women at War 2014-11-19
THEATER REVIEW Tamer of Horses 2014-11-19
THEATER REVIEW Iphigenia in Aulis 2014-11-19
Rockin' around the Christmas tree with Dee Snider 2014-11-19
THEATER REVIEW Bearly Legal 2014-11-19
Knight at the Movies: Foxcatcher; film notes 2014-11-19
NUNN ON ONE Talking with Mr. Grinch 2014-11-19
Angela Bassett on 'Horror Story' and playing intersex 2014-11-19
Lypsinka back on stage after almost a decade 2014-11-19
John Ritter's son plays gay character on CBS' 'The McCarthys' 2014-11-19
Out actor Harrison White on LGBT productions, Chicago roots 2014-11-19
AOL True Trans concludes first season 2014-11-19
TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time 2014-11-19
Billy Masters 2014-11-19





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional
 
TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time
 
National Women's Hall of Fame hosts forum in Chicago
 
DISH: SAVOR Old Crow Smokehouse; Kokopelli
 
Leaving a legacy: Danny Kopelson reflects on Hall of Fame life
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.