Olivia Cruises reaches 10-year mark

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Olivia Cruises & Resorts marks its 10th anniversary this year.

"Olivia has been paving the way for the growing lesbian and gay travel industry," said the firm's president, Judy Dlugacz.

Dlugacz leased her first cruise ship in 1990, envisioning "a women's concert on the water" as an extension of her 15-year-old independent women's music company, Olivia Records.

She used the record company's mailing list to launch the travel company.

"We mailed a cruise brochure to 30,000 people and were overwhelmed by the initial response," Dlugacz said. "We sold out the 600-passenger ship so fast [that] we ordered a second and sold out just as quickly."

Business quadrupled within the first two years. It doubled again by 1994, she said.

Olivia now offers six vacations each year, including takeovers of inclusive resorts.

The next trip, departing in May 2001, is an Alaska cruise, priced from $1,299, aboard Holland America's Veendam.

The firm's more popular trips are cruises to the Mexican and eastern Caribbean, Greece/Turkey and the western Mediterranean.

Among other destinations Olivia offers are Hawaii, Tahiti, Montreal, Costa Rica and the Italian Riviera.

Olivia has at least twice made a bit of history, in 1993 with a trip to the Greek island of Lesbos -- "probably the largest lesbian pilgrimage in a few millenia," Dlugacz said -- and in 1997 when Olivia aired a prime-time ad during the ABC sitcom "Ellen."

Olivia Cruises & Resorts
Phone: (800) 631-6277 or (510) 655-0365
Fax: (510) 655-4334
Web: www.oliviatravel.com

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