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Pies Piper Cruises


patrick401ca
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I’ve been on Atlantis and RSVP about a dozen times with my husband and now I am wondering about trying Pied Piper particularly the post Thanksgiving cruise. I don’t know anyone who has done it so if you could give me any information I would appreciate it.

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I've gone on a few Pied Piper groups.  My first was with a group of about 100 people in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Silhouette.  We had a nice time with the group.  They had special events and happy hours throughout the week.  I'd say the average age was prob 65+.  My husband and I were 40 so for once, felt like young ones.   The most recent one had a group of 23  and only about 12 people showed up to dinner and the events.  That was on Celebrity Edge in the Mediterranean which I"m sure contributed to the smaller group.  I've never done the Post Thanksgiving cruise, but I know it's their largest group by far and sometimes they fill 1/2 the ship which will definitely give you the feeling you're on a gay cruise......but without the "circuit parties" and dances that Atlantis does.   They don't charter the ship, so it's never a completely all gay cruise and the group does skew a bit older.  We were considering doing this years post Thanksgiving, but we have no desire to go on the massive Allure of the Seas with most likely a bunch of kids on board.  (they almost always use Celebrity which we prefer)

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On 2/6/2020 at 1:10 PM, patrick401ca said:

I’ve been on Atlantis and RSVP about a dozen times with my husband and now I am wondering about trying Pied Piper particularly the post Thanksgiving cruise. I don’t know anyone who has done it so if you could give me any information I would appreciate it.

Hi Jake,  I was on a Pied Piper Post-Thanksgiving cruise all the way back in 2011.  It was actually great.  There were 700 of us in the group so we had plenty of private events and Leslie Jordan was our headline entertainer.  I'm unsure if they still draw that kind of crowd considering how many gay group sailings now exist.  In Feb 2020 I was part of the Bearracuda Heretic/QueensOverboard group.  We had even better private events including 2 private nighttime pool parties and BenDeLaCreme headlined but there were only 200 of us.  I'd be interested to know how many Pied Piper now draws for their P-T group but I'd definitely sail with them again.  Vacaya is drawing quite the commotion right now with their all gay charter that has Celebrity offering the drink package as an option (a first in chartered cruises) next February.

 

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Look to John Heath cruises.  He also has a group on Celebrity Post Thanksgiving.  This year on Apex Nov 28.  

I call this group the "Pissed off Pipers" as it's full of people who've had, I'll be nice here, "customer service issues" with them over the years.  Last year it was about 350 guys and growing.

I sailed several with PP in the past probably 5 or 6 times before moving to Heath.  I'd suggest for a point of reference, Atlantis has 5 star customer service, to use as a comparison to that of PP.  You can also check the Better Business Bureau site for more information.

I also highly recommend Vacaya.  I did P-town last year and their service was literally 5-star.  I'm booked again in Feb 2021.

Edited by cle-guy
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On 3/7/2020 at 1:43 PM, cle-guy said:

Look to John Heath cruises.  He also has a group on Celebrity Post Thanksgiving.  This year on Apex Nov 28.  

I call this group the "Pissed off Pipers" as it's full of people who've had, I'll be nice here, "customer service issues" with them over the years.  Last year it was about 350 guys and growing.

I sailed several with PP in the past probably 5 or 6 times before moving to Heath.  I'd suggest for a point of reference, Atlantis has 5 star customer service, to use as a comparison to that of PP.  You can also check the Better Business Bureau site for more information.

I also highly recommend Vacaya.  I did P-town last year and their service was literally 5-star.  I'm booked again in Feb 2021.

What kinds of private activities does the Heath group plan? I had some acquaintances on his post-Thanksgiving cruise last year and no one really raved when they got back and the group looked rather small.

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On 3/10/2020 at 3:45 PM, Cruisegoer said:

What kinds of private activities does the Heath group plan? I had some acquaintances on his post-Thanksgiving cruise last year and no one really raved when they got back and the group looked rather small.

They did a departure party in sky lounge,  Private event, it pretty much filled the place so much people were going elsewhere to get drinks.  They held a pre-arty day before at one of the gay resorts in FLL, most people attended to get their gift packets pre-cruise.

Each night they had some sort of event, a singer, comedian, just a gathering.  They also organized a catamaran trip and a day party in Key west at one of the clothing optional bars.

Nothing like an Atlantis or all gay cruise though.

 

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I've cruised with Pied Piper a couple of times. Most recently, we did a NY-Boston July 4 cruise on the QM2 with them. I would not argue with the characterization of the group in an earlier post, but then again, this was on Cunard's QM2, which tends to attract that demographic to start with, so our experience is probably uninstructive.

My primary caution is for those with a regular Travel Agent, and who choose to book with your regular agent through them. (An arrangement they encourage) We did this and it was the worst of both worlds. As the agent of record, Pied Piper was the only one that Cunard dealt with, as is customary. However, PP was a black hole of a brick wall (quite an accomplishment). There were a couple of major screw ups on their part that neither I nor my TA could deal with. It was like a horrible game of telephone, with consequences. In contrast with the bad experience in the back office, on the cruise, the PP host was totally professional, on top of things and charming. 

I personally will not work with them again, but if I see a sailing of theirs that looks interesting, I'd have no issue with working with my TA to book that itinerary. As I've done accidentally in the past, it guarantees a number of gay passengers on that trip, I can still get my own pricing, and only lose out on a couple of closed cocktail parties. 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2021 at 4:13 AM, MarkBearSF said:

I personally will not work with them again, but if I see a sailing of theirs that looks interesting, I'd have no issue with working with my TA to book that itinerary. As I've done accidentally in the past, it guarantees a number of gay passengers on that trip, I can still get my own pricing, and only lose out on a couple of closed cocktail parties.

It’s funny that you mention this because we feel the same way.  Not for any lack of service or whatever but we did only two PP charters… one out of NJ to Bermuda, one post Thanksgiving (because of the large group size).  
 

After the Thanksgiving cruise, I asked my husband if he thought gay group charter cruises were something “special”… over and above standard cruises.  He said ‘no, not really’ and we’ve never done another through them, but I do check to see if they’re going to be there after I book with our TA.

 

That said, there’s no real reason NOT to give them or John Heath a shot.  We have friends that LOVE PP cruises… it’s just not for us, and we ADORE our travel agent.

Edited by DenGNNJ
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On 1/15/2021 at 12:38 AM, GeorgiaGuys said:

We are thinking of booking the post-thanksgiving cruise with Pied Piper this year.  Our only other gay cruise experience has been with Aquafest.  Anyone else considering the 2021 cruise?

I'm booked on the post-thanksgiving cruise this year. Just extended an invite to a friend.

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