We’d all love to imagine going on a cruise with Patsy and Eddie from AbFab – but let’s face it, only about half of us would likely be able to survive. Those levels of tolerance are kind of superhuman. Luckily, we’re just talking about lovely actress Joanna Lumley (who’s about as far as possible from her alter-ego Patsy Stone). Last month she was named the happy godmother of the Viking Odin, a newly launched vessel that’s part of Viking River Cruises’s fleet. As is traditional, the ship was christened with a bottle of champagne… and we can’t help but hope that the Patsy Stone inside of her wanted to lick the side of the boat when all that Veuve was running down it.
Anyway, river cruising is a significant trend in the travel world, especially for those who don’t want to take on the full-on ocean cruise experience. Ships tend to be smaller, with room for about 150 passengers, and the waters are of course a lot calmer. Most rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can check out the scenery from something bigger than a porthole as you slowly amble by. You can access ports that are, say, in the middle of a continent (ie, cruising in Paris and Budapest), and don’t spend any full days at sea – so, for better or worse, there’s a lack of fiesta deck limbo contests.
River cruises are a great choice for seeing lots of places in one trip, but they’re not for everyone: It’s described as life in the slow lane for a reason. They’re pretty much the antithesis of an Atlantis cruise, and the crowd is most definitely older. There aren’t yet any gay-specific cruise lines, though there are several gay-only river cruise departures, like this one from Paris (which has some NSFW ads along the sides of the page).
RSVP also does a river cruise on the Danube, though it’s sold out for 2012. And in general, the crowd on a river cruise is older – again that lack of a limbo pole – so don’t expect a Speedo-clad party boat as you amble your way past Central Europe’s greatest cathedrals.
Still, it seems like a pretty chill, leisurely way to see mostly landlocked places. And when Eddie and Patsy decide to become cruise activity coordinators in character, we’re all over it.