This week on The Joy of Cruising Podcast, I am delighted to welcome Patricia Nicholson Yarbrough, founder of Festival at Sea, the nation’s oldest and most successful African-American cultural cruise. Patricia is also President, Blue World Travel in San Francisco.
In The Joy of Cruising amzn.to/3lAfyON I wrote extensively about theme cruising in a section called “Theme Cruising: Two Passions In One.” I featured Patricia and Festival at Sea, and writing that profile was indeed a labor of love—one of my favorite writing projects ever. It was made all the more sweeter by the fact that I experienced a Festival at Sea cruise during writing. A favorite anecdote I wrote about in the Festival at Sea feature was about a man I sat next to in the Celebrity Equinox buffet shortly after we embarked. I told him it was my first Festival at Seacruise and asked him how many times he had been. ‘15,’ he told me. Immediately, I thought that I had found a potential person to feature in the upcoming The Joy of Cruising—a seasoned cruiser with dozens of past cruises. I assumed that this individual was a very experienced cruiser given how many times he had been on Festival at Sea. I said, ‘Wow, 15 times on Festival at Sea! How many cruises have you sailed on altogether?’ He said, ‘15.’
That’s the kind of intense loyalty Festival at Sea garners. And why the majority of the following years’ cruise is booked before the current cruise is over. Toward the end of my cruise, I stood in a long line to book Festival at Sea for the following year. After a while, I decided I would just book online. When bookings opened up, I procrastinated for a couple days. Then I received a notification that next year’s Festival at Sea was sold out! That's how it is every year.
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