Two groups of people often marginalized by the rest of the world are the elderly and the disabled, especially when they are African-American. But not on The Fantastic Voyage. I met a youthful great-grandmother at the Snoop concert. There was a 97-year-old man, reportedly a Tuskegee airman, who was said to be on his fourth cruise in a row, despite a walker. I saw every single mobility aid you could think of – people with canes, walkers, scooters and wheelchairs, and they were partying along with everyone else. Guy Torry brought a blind man up onstage with him. The ages on the cruise ranged from 20’s to 90’s and everyone hung out, partied and grooved together.
Given the amount of people on the cruise, there are networking opportunities everywhere. If you re a songwriter/musician there were multiple chances to connect with performers, many of whom hung out on the cruise. There were business execs, authors, comedians and folks like the Boyz4Lyfe crew, led by automotive entrepreneur, Dorian Boyland, a Black Enterprise Top 5 auto dealer.
They are a group of distinguished Black men who connected at the University of Wisconsin and continue to partner on business and charitable endeavors. There are also, of course, the Black Greeks, the veterans, those connected by region and those who attended HBCU’s, who no doubt form deeper relationship and bonds via their time on the ship.
Let’s say you don’t have anyone to go with on the cruise but still want to go. That’s where groups like the Practice Team come in. They are an affinity travel group, many who have been on all 19 cruises, who assist cruisers seeking cabin mates, information on the cruise, up to and including booking tickets, and throw parties before and during the cruise. There’s also the Wolf Pack, a group of friends who met on the Fantastic Voyage and give parties during the cruise, often on the Pool Deck. Membership criteria is a little more mysterious but you can find them on Facebook.
Practice Team members with Tom Joyner
As a woman from New Orleans who was sitting near me on the morning we disembarked said to a friend on the phone: “This was a hell of a cruise. People worry about the money, but it was worth every penny.”
We agree. And that’s wrap from the Fantastic Voyage 2018! Get on board or 2019 HERE.
PHOTOS: Tonya Pendleton
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