2007 RFamily Vacations Gay Cruise Blog, Part #1

7.10.07: I am currently in Key West, the hottest place on the entire planet. I mean that literally, I could fry an egg on my head right now. Three drag queens just dragged [get it? drag queens? DRAGGED?] Haviland into a karaoke bar [circa 4 P.M., mind you] and made her sing “Like a Prayer” because she’s FROM BROADWAY: Haviland LOVES karaoke. Almost as much as she loves chocolate ice cream and naked men, and almost as much as I love heat.

The best part of the karaoke experience, as described by Heather immediately as “the best moment of [her] life so far,” was this woman who asked me all these random questions about myself and then told me I was in “Charlotte’s seat,” and I needed to move [I was videotaping Hav’s performance, so this effed up my continuity]. Who is Charlotte, you may be wondering? Charlotte is a dog. That being said, it was a very talented and obedient dog. It hopped right up onto that barstool. I wish I had a girlfriend like that. Just kidding. Girlfriends are for suckers with feelings. I’m Miss Independent, like Kelly Clarkson.

My photographic record of the gay-cruise so far’s admittedly a bit spotty: the first evening, for example, is on Jenn’s camera. I don’t have those photos. Also, my camera is bunk so I don’t take pics that often, and Layla’s been taking so many good photos that I haven’t bothered? So what I’ve got below is totes randomized photography, via the cameras of myself, Lainy and Heather.

[Once upon a time, we had slide shows: the presenter inevitably finds his/her travels captivating (each and every time, really) while everyone else’s like, please pass the Cheese Nips and a shotgun, thanks. Now, we have the blog-vaycay-recap. Is this an evolutionary advancement? You decide.]

Pre-Day One. (Like preschool, but for days of the week instead of education.)
0. Live it Out.

Carly and Riese complete Live it Out, the best gay teleplay ever written. Have I mentioned that already? I have. Just sayin’.

7-7-07: Saturday 

1. Riese Obvs Forgot to Bring the Tickets.

Though I miraculously arrived at the Pier circa my intended arrival time, I arrived sans ticket. This was a pretty cool situation, especially since my ticket is also my friend and traveling companion Lainy’s ticket. We weren’t on the ship’s register either (clerical error, also cool).

Lainy: Seriously? You seriously forgot the tickets?
Me: I’m thirsty. Ooo! There’s a Coca-Cola Classic in that vending machine calling my name.
Lainy: [on the phone with Haviland] Haviland wants to talk to you.
Me: No, I can’t talk to her. I already know what she’s going to say and I can’t hear it right now. [“Really Riese, really?”]

I literally had to boot up Sparky McMacBook and hunt down an old blog entry comment in the archives where Lainy’d cited our room number. About an hour later they found our reservation.

On our boarding picture, which I could probably scan onto this computer for $5.00/minute and a $10.00 service charge, Lainy’s all like: ‘Go Gay People!” and I’m in my Aviator Sunglasses talking to Haviland on the mobile. Go Gay People.

2. If I Cannot Figure Out How to Put on a Lifejacket, I Deserve to Drown.


This is Jenn’s photo of Nick, displaying how he feels about the lifejacket drill.
I am so glad we did not go.

Cruise Employee: Where is your room?
Us: Eighth floor.
CE: You must go to your deck captain for the life jacket drill.
Me: Oh, actually, we’re meeting our friends on the pool deck right now.
CE: It is very important.
Lainy: Yeah, but we have to meet our friends right now–
Me: On Deck 12.
CE: It is required and important.
Me: We did it last year. I remember everything.
CE: Are you sure?
Me: We can just sink, it’s okay.
Lainy: We did it last year.
CE: Well–

(we dash)

(Sidenote: Lainy was not on the cruise last year.)
(Sidenote 2: Heather and Hav were not on the pool deck actually. They were doing the life jacket drill, for some reason.)

3. Drinking on Holiday, Starring Riese and Heather.

Around five in the afternoon (I think), Janet (an actress-friend of Haviland’s) purchased me something large and mostly vodka. Somewhere between then and the next three hours, Heather and I did a shot or more, which for some sadistic reason beyond our control, were served to us in plastic cups and probs were more like 10 shots. We stole a picture of Ariel to color in and some chocolates and a shuffle-puck and some crayons.

I think I took this picture of H & H.

In Heather and Haviland’s room, the sunset was more or less perfect, the water like in a commercial where a woman steps out of a waterfall and gushes about her body lotion, and while Haviland rehearsed for the night show, Heather and I made a video we found totally hilarious. What was in this video? Um, me talking, and Heather talking. Kinda like this blog, except with moving pictures. I’ll post it later, when I have access to things like cords and the internet. I’m sure you are on the edge of your seat.

4. Broadway Belters.

Rosie said “Don’t put this on YouTube,” a lot. There was talk of Hassleback. Andrea McArdle looks good in white pants. Haviland sang “Mama Who Bore Me,” it was awesome, and Rosie said: “That girl is 100% gay. These are the new lesbians, you guys. They’re totally hot, and they walk around holding hands.”

5. Everyone Goes Dancing, but only Riese, Jenn and Nick Stay Out ‘Til Five A.M.

In 1992, I purchased my first cassette single, Rick Astley’s “Togteher Forever.” I love Rick Astley more than anyone else on this boat could possibly love Rick Astley, except Rick Astley’s mother or girlfriend. Yet even I was not interested in hearing “Together Forever” remixed 300 times. Jenn and her breasts asked the D.J. for “Irreplacable.” Apparetly, it is really hard for the D.J. to ever play that song and all I’ve gotta say Re: that is where is D.J. Carlytron?

The deck of the ship was wet from the rain that’d been at us all evening, and I said there’s no way we’re making it across here unscathed, to the Blue Lagoon where we’d eat/drink and of course Jenn totally fell on her ass. It was really funny.

There are some great photos of this night. I don’t have them. But I do have this photo, of Jenn and I getting our first of 5,000 new magnetic strip cards at the front desk, because they stop working all the time. Just ours.


6. 24 Hours Later: Still Not Playing “Irreplaceable.”

This time, we sent Esera to the D.J. He almost won the Super Bowl, wrote a book, can sing like whoa, and is super hot (and super gay). Haviland was like “AW, this’s your song right now!” to Esera and I ’cause we’re both all post-breakup-ish. Clearly they told him they would play “Irreplaceable.” However, by the time we left to go play shuffleboard, no “Irreplaceable” had been played. In the photo strip to your left, you can view myself, Haviland (gay), Heather (gay), Layla (gay), Esera (gay) and Craig (gay), dancing with other gays.

This is what the cool kids wear. Motion sickness bracelets and black nail polish.

This is what the cool kids do. I like this photo. Haviland took it. She’s so multi talented.
I stole Craig’s hat. I wish I still had it, I’d wear it right now.

7. Anyone Wanna Play “War”?


I don’t get gambling. If I’m gonna give my money away, I’d like something in return, like vodka or a pony or to feed a starving child or something, you know? Howevs, most people enjoy playing games with money and then losing their money.

The casino screamed at us via lights and unbearable noise. Let’s go gambling, do you know how? No.

Howevs: the casino had a lot of cheese cubes and crackers, which was good because I keep forgetting mealtimes.

Blackjack Dealer: You don’t play blackjack?
Me: The only card game I know is “Go Fish.”

Me: “Lainy, this machine is like a bad relationship: you put more and more in, waiting for that coin on the precipice to drop, ’cause it’s so close, but you’re convinced–one more coin–it’ll drop, it’s so close, put in more and more .. that coin wants to fall and explode with “winning” … you’re totally convinced that the coin is like, one minute away from dropping … just a little more …”
Lainy: “Yeah we’ll never win this.”
Me: “Seriously though look how close they are to falling!”
Lainy: [re the people next to us] “Look, their coins are a second from falling too, and they’ve not fallen.” [to the people next to us] “Have you ever seen anyone win this game?”

“Not yet,” they say, intently hurling more quarters into the slot.

We totes cashed out with $3.25 after breaking even on the slots and profiting slightly on the blackjack game that the dealer kinda helped Lainy win.

The girl who took our picture didn’t like the one up there, so she made us do it again.

8. 7-9-07

How Did I Get Here?

We don’t have a statue like that in our room.

In the man-in-the-mirror 13th floor O’Donnell vista: about 15 of us (including obvs me, Haviland, Heather, and Layla), a first look of a new film about Rosie. She showed it to us for our feedback. I was literally riveted. I laughed, I cried, I didn’t want it to slow down or speed up or ever end. I think it’ll have a big impact when it’s released this September. Also having a big impact: vodka-tonics mixed by myself for Heather and I. A tad strong. I want to talk about the movie, and how awesome it was to participate in a conversation about said movie with Sharon Gless (Debbie Navatni holla!) and Meg Tilly, but I don’t think I’m allowed to. (OMG!!!) (They are amazing women and actresses and I respect/admire their work/opinions, etc.) Anyhow you can see us looking like total weirdos in Rosie‘s latest video blog (which she made with Ross the Intern, of Ross-Blog ) for about ten seconds. You can hear us whoop-whoop. Ross talks about the film a bit on his blog. He’s the sweetest thing ever.

9. Are you Happy? Then It Could Possibly be Happy Hour.

Heather: [to Haviland] “Wanna know what we did wrong? We took you at your word when you said the bar was that way. We ended up with like, three minutes before happy hour—”
Me: “Dashing across the pool deck, like we are getting our two drinks for the price of one—yeah we are!–”
Heather: “It was like the Amazing Race down there,”
Me: “We were weaving in and out of deck chairs, leaping over newborn babies …

OK, that’s all for now. More later. The events on this blog and relative words alloted to each event are not reflective of the actual importance of the events themselves. For example: Item 8. Susan Powter. Everything that’s happened since Happy Hour yesterday, which ended at like, 6 or something. But I’ve gotta save some things for later.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3197 articles for us.


  1. *gasp* I fucking L-O-V-E Ross! Only you would have enough time to do all that and then blog about it, probably a little inebriated while doing so. Hot pics of like, everyone. Thanks for sharing.

    PS. word verification actually had me leaning in to figure it out, security sho is tightening up round here.

  2. this makes me miss my cruise :(

    and that coin game, where the coins fall – i know exactly what you’re talking about and how you feel, i do beleive i came back drunk one night and sat there and wasted like 50 bucks…which obvs. isn’t sad because it was edge of your seat exciting and i was completly convinced i was making out like a bandit! but then i got up to pee and some old lady took my spot…MY SPOT! and that sucked. so, i sincerely hope that doesn’t happen to you if you play again.

    ok, well it seems like you’re having fun…which is awesome! im glad :) enjoy it! i’ll be here, being jealous. your blog makes me smile so keep it up.

    and ps; way to be all bff with Rosie…the one nun at my highschool was obsessed with her and had her talk show stuff all over her office. so thats what image pops into my head when i think about Rosie…yes, an old catholic nun. ironic.

  3. I was reading about the Hasselbeck-as-the-devil episode yesterday, and was all like “I am soooo jealous of Riese right now!” Also, you should look at Hemingway’s cats while you are in Key West.

  4. Dammit! I can’t see any pics from work (f#cking firewall!) – I’ll have to come back later.

    Look for my friends Kat and Tina! They are there with no kids and they are both about 5 feet nothin’…. LOL… one’s blonde the other is ummmm I think this week she’s a brunette! They’re from CT… if you guys meet up I will be FLABBERGASTED! lol

  5. If I’m gonna give my money away, I’d like something in return, like vodka or a pony or to feed a starving child or something

    Come on – no one wants to feed starving children.

    The line about you and Heather jumping over newborns cracked me up, as did the dog story. Some people are crazy happenings magnets, and I think you’re one of them. Keep it up.

  6. I wanna come!…and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for more :) I’m glad you guys are having so much fun. I’ll live through you on vacation while I sit here at work.

  7. aw, i’ve missed you.

    you and haviland looked cute [for the entire .5 second!] on ro’s blog.


    p.s. it’s going to take me a week to catch up on this blog…

  8. I absolutely LOVE that you even know who Rick Astley is!

    Gambling is for mugs – buy more drink!

    Enjoy the Big Gay Cruise!

  9. don’t get fat like kelly clarkson.

    let me ask you this, as an uninformed, heterosexual man — what’s the difference between a cruise, and a gay cruise?

    is it like a mixer? is there lots more hooking up on a gay cruise? i would imagine so, because in society at large, it has to be tough to figure out who is gay upon first glance, while on the cruise, you just know everyone is gay, right? so you can just get to kicking it to some girl right away, right?

    motion sickness prevents me from getting on a cruise, gay, straight, or otherwise, so i’ll never know.

    i can’t believe i said “kicking it” in this comment.

  10. i feel the same way about gambling. it’s totes a farce. i would rather spend my money on alcohol.

  11. no, DJ Carlytron was actually on the boat! you didn’t see her? I heard she got drunk, jumped overboard, and swam to Egypt or something.

  12. I have gay friends who go gaga over anything that effing floats.

    Why do the gays love the floats and cruises so much? And what the hell is the deal between cross dressers and singing badly in a karaoke bar?

    Though, your cruise looks fun even though as an hetro, I can’t imagine myself there.

    Have fun and post something sea sick.

  13. yep, pretty sure that i would love to be on that cruise now. hope you kids are having a ball (do americans use this term??)

  14. i can’t believe they don’t have a War table on this ship. War is standard in the casinos of northwestern indiana.

    your abs make me want to stop eating this snack cake, but i don’t think i will.

  15. Razia: I uploaded more hot pics today. Per usual, I’ve cut back on sleep and done that thing where I avoid people all day. In my next blog, I will detail the truly amazing things accomplished by Heather and I in the last 48 hours. Vacation is a nice idea, I think, but clearly I prefer to work until my head explodes. Ross did a video blog with Susan Powter in the caf yesterday, it should be pretty fucking spectacular

    Lynnie: I hope that old lady didn’t win. I don’t think anyone wins that game, it’s totally rigged like the game with the claw and the stuffed animals. I am never playing again ever. I think that old catholic nun was gay. Just a hunch. Do you remember all the gay nuns in “The L Word”?! HOT.

    ANI: I am so jealous of the asshole who sold that video to Inside Edition! OK, not really, because whoever it is is an asshole and I don’t want to be that, though also, I guess it was expected that it’d leak. Obvs. Those of us who were like “no, totes unethical,” are sitting here paying for their internet and that person is sitting on a million bucks or something. I hope he donates it to Rosie’s Broadway Kids. Or something? Hm. I wish I had tweezers.

    I totally walked by Hemmingway’s place. I wanted to go inside–I also wanted to die of heat stroke. The latter won out.

    Tina-cioous: I hope you went home and looked at the photos right away. I have 24 hours to find your friends Kat and TIna and I will, oh I WILL. I might not. Everyone is starting to look the same to me. Thought he 5’feet nothing thing is a good clue. Ages?

    Brooklyn Boy: Yes, I like the idea of being a crazy happenings magnet, rather than a crazy magnet. I like to enable crazy happenings. There’s really not much point to doing anything that isn’t blogworthy.

    Katie: Next year, Mexico! Or something?

    green: aw, I’ve missed y’all too. waaa. I’m scared of my google reader right now. I tried to be as obnoxious as possible for those fie seconds to ensure my noticability.

    Also, the week of catching up on my blog will be the best week of your life.

    Also, I think we should do a cross-country podcast, that’d be fun. Carly or Haviland or someone will be my Slo.

    Jaime: We hung out with Heather Mataratzo’s girlfriend Caroline the other night– she works at Cattyshack, is totes awesome, and will totes be there on Sunday. I bet you can’t waaaittttt

    MLissa: DONE and DONE.

    Anonymous: “Together Forever” was the first single I ever bought. I really liked the message or something. Ha. And yeah, boo gambling.

    Lozo, Lozo LOZO: I don’t think I’m in danger of getting fat like Kelly Clarkson. Also: Kelly Clarkson is not fat, but that is neither here nor there. I don’t think I’m in danger of becoming “average sized” like Kelly Clarkson.

    Haviland gets motion sickness. We wear these cool bracelets. Or you can take dramamine.

    And the “everyone is gay thing” is more about kids feeling comfortable with gay parents, not feeling like the odd ones out, meeting other people like them, people feeling comfortable with themselves and not judged or ostracized or beat up. It’s like opposite world–we have a lot of straight friends on the cruise who find it funny to be assumed for a week that they are gay. Gay cruises for guys are more about hooking up though. But this is a gay family cruise.

    However it would seem in my personal experience that there is way more dyke drama on a gay cruise.

    Sandra Bernhard in her comedy thing said: “What is with all the single gay men on this cruise? Did you come here to like, wreck some homes or something? There’s plenty of cruises for gay guys to like hook up and party and you chose Rosie’s family cruise?”

    Kick it.

    Stef: And Oh…. I have.

    Carlytron: Dude, I heard when she got to Egypt she like, became a Queen and started this kingdom and then was like, fuck this kingdom, and totes swam to Tibet in all her clothes and started her own religion of floating lesbians.

    NY Punk: Dude, it’s totes fun for heteros. I’m a half-hetero after all. Because everyone is so happy just to be among their own, it’s not all these bitter old people like “where’s the butter? I asked for more butter!” or something. i don’t know I haven’t been on other cruises. We’re here cuz Haviland is performing and it’s totes fun. You could bond with the other heteros and by bond I mean beDOW BOWWWW

    kate: Americans totally have balls all the time!

    annie: You def. need to enjoy that snack cake. Also, thank you for buying my book I hope you like it and it will make you want to eat the snack cake. Also I’ve had french fries for lunch and dinner every single day this week. Also though I’ve never seen them, I am sure your abs are beautiful just the way they are. Obvs.


    NZ HERALD 12July2007
    ‘Passengers on a Pacific Star cruise were so ill as the ship was battered by storms off Auckland that they have been given free doctors’ visits and $100 vouchers.

    About 1000 passengers left Auckland on Tuesday for an eight-night cruise and were hit by the atrocious conditions.

    People on board reported passengers being sick and damage to the boat by swells of up to 10m.

    One passenger said the dream trip to Vanuatu had started like the holiday from hell….’

    Let’s hope you don’t hit any bad weather…heh heh… when I start to feel jealous of your awesome time, I think of the people on the Auckland to Vanuatu cruise!
    Riese, we’re all living through you at the moment so make the most of it for us!

  17. I asked my partner if she would go on one of these cruises and she said no way. This may have something to do with the skimpy outfits you all are wearing. (My GF currently has the body shape of an adorable teletubbie.) I, on the other hand, love loving hanging out in next to nothing if it’s butch stylin’ enough. Don’t see any butch types where you’re at. though.

  18. why the triple Lozo with the all caps?! it was a real question. i thought maybe the gay cruise boat had a pink, fishnet top wrapped around the hull or something.

  19. a. Welcome back to the land of free internet
    b. It all looks like it was a lot of fun
    c. except for being in/on the ocean
    d. and all of the shorts. pre-requisite?
    e. forgetting your tickets is priceless
    f. Charlotte/girlfriend/Kelly Clarkson – too funny.

  20. AK: Oh, it was mostly butch stylin’. My friends — aka Haviland and her
    entourage — are extremely non-representative of the general population of the rfamily cruise. Dude, you should totally gooooo.

    Lozo LOZO LOZO: I don’t know. I just am into the repeating thing now. I can’t help myself.

    a. thank you
    b. it was!
    c. the ocean feels funny, but it looks real nice.
    d. not a requirement, but shorts look hot with boots.
    e. Howevs: losing my passport is, I think, costly. We’ll see.
    f. Oh, Charlotte, dear Charlotte. As I write this, Kelly Clarkson is singing me sweet nothings.

    Jaime: Obvs! As is Carly! As is Haviland! As is lots of random people. It’s going to be a networking extravaganza. Carly is bringing men, so you won’t be the only non-lesbian there, promise.

    MoonKiller: OK! Next year, baby. When we sell our pilot and all these other things fall into place … you’ll be drinking champagne on the pool deck with us.

  21. ahhh! you guys look so lovely and happy and beeeaaautiful!

    i miss you, peaches. and, when you come back, let’s speak on the phone.

    drink more vodka-it’s good for you.

    love love love

  22. Omg I can finally comment. Something was messing up with the comment page and I couldn’t for a while. Now although I have no idea what I was trying to comment I feel like I need to be commenting just because. So, errr, cool blog, once again.

  23. I don’t actually have some crippling fear of being the only non-lesbian. I mean, even if I were going to be the only straight girl, I wouldn’t mind, is what I’m saying.

  24. um. what just happened? i mean like, the last 7 days of our lives — what WAS that? also, i basically can’t wait for the magical accounts of rest of the trip. you gotta get the video up, cause it’s pretty much genius … and i will upload the rest of the pics and send em right away. lovin you, lovin life.

  25. oh yeah, my blog moved. tragedy is no longer happening. now we’re exiting… on a large scale.
    and yes…. i salute alcohol consumption, always.

  26. natalie: I love youuu! We will talk soon!

    razia: That was probably “comment moderation,” which I had to employ to prevent comments like “I will find you after you’ve killed yourself, revive you, and torture you forever.” I felt like that was kinda dark, you know?

    jamie: Hi! I was just there and just talked to you!

    Heather: I know, right? I will get my hands all over that video, around it, inside it, holding it close to me and loving it, and posting it. Just updated, obvs.

    Stef: Totes fixed.

Comments are closed.