by Heather Cassell
Possibly a first, a trans cruise is in the works to sail to the Caribbean on the Royal Caribbean in December.
The cruise will set sail on Navigator of the Seas from Galveston, Texas for a eight day adventure December 14. The ship will dock in Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico.
Earlier this month, Jeffrey Land, whose chosen name is Stephanie, began planning the transgender vacation by blocking off a variety of 16 rooms for up to 50 potential guests and starting planning the program.
“The reason why I want to have this cruise is because I want transgenders to be who they want to be,” says Stephanie, about creating what she considers to be the first-ever trans cruise.
Stephanie, a 48-year-old transgender woman, who is a travel agent with Dynamic Travel and Cruises and founder of Transgender Vacations, has spent years dreaming of a cruise just for trans people.
She has planned vacations for people for a decade and wants to plan vacations for transgender people too.
Traveling While Trans
Stephanie understands that in addition to complications with identification document, there are some countries the cruise is traveling to that aren’t trans-friendly.
Honduras, in particular, has a dismal record of reported murders and ongoing violence against transgender women.
Belize is currently undergoing transformation. The First Lady of Belize Kim Simplis spoke out against violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people May 17 for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Belize’s Supreme Court opened hearings earlier this month to debate the constitutionality of Section 53, the country’s anti-sodomy law held over since colonialism, and if it should be struck down or not. The law carries a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Mexico has been in a state of progress and is relatively safe for transgender individuals in some areas.
“You just have to be careful wherever you go,” says Stephanie, who is committed to her guests have a vacation to remember for all of the right reasons.
Stephanie is working on finding trans-friendly excursions that her guests can go on together in Belize, Honduras and Mexico, she says.
She’s also committed to helping her guests navigate traveling within the US and the countries they visit. She is currently compiling transgender travel tips for her guests that will be available on TransgenderVacations.net, she says.
The Transgender Law Center in Oakland, Calif. and the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C. also offer travel tips for transgender travelers.
Stephanie hopes to have the usual type of entertainment found on many lesbian and gay cruises, but geared toward her transgender guests, in addition to what Royal Caribbean offers guests on the ship.
Sure, transgender individuals are welcome on lesbian and gay cruises, but sometimes it feels really good just being around your own community, she says.
Some of the entertainment she hopes to have is a welcoming party the first night guests arrive on the ship, performances by female impersonators, a keynote speaker and educational workshops, says Stephanie.
She encourages guests to bring their partners, spouses and friends. Anyone who is trans-friendly is encouraged to sign up for the cruise, she says.
For solo travelers she’s offering cruise packages that include options to pair up with roommates if they choose.
One of her goals is making the cruise as affordable as possible. Stephanie knows all-too-well how expensive sex reassignment surgery is. After being unemployed for about four years, she had to make the difficult decision to stop her transition and work under her birth name, she says.
She’s offering payment plans, starting with the $250 deposit due July 19 with payments in August and September. Prices for the cruise start at $831 per traveler based on double occupancy.
Since she announced the cruise earlier this month several people have expressed interest, says Stephanie.
Sail away on a trans adventure, call Stephanie (Jeff Land) at 305-363-8338 or . For more information, visit TransgenderVacations.com.
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