"When the company launched 35 years ago, I never dreamed Olivia would become the company that it is today,” --Judy Dlugacz, President and Founder of Olivia
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) February 19, 2010
Olivia, the definitive leader of lesbian travel, celebrates its 20th year of chartering cruises and resort vacations.
Morphing from the groundbreaking record label in the 70's to the largest company catering solely to lesbians today, Olivia has continued to change and grow to meet the needs of the community it has served for almost 4 decades.
“Olivia was created to serve a lesbian market that ranges from women who must live quietly in suburbia, to women who have the freedom to walk the streets holding hands. I am extremely blessed to have been part of this amazing experience. When the company launched 35 years ago, I never dreamed Olivia would become the company that it is today,” says Judy Dlugacz, President and Founder of Olivia.
Olivia chartered its first cruise in 1990, a 600 passenger ship with Dolphin Cruise Lines. “When we first began, no one wanted our business,” said Jill Cruse, Olivia's VP of Guest Experience. “They were afraid of a backlash. Now we are one of the biggest clients of Holland America and Club Med resorts. We have over 2000 passengers on our Caribbean ships and go everywhere from the Galapagos Islands to Africa. ”
Unlike other travel companies which have suffered in this past year’s recession, Olivia is going strong. With 5 trips already sold out in 2010 and many others edging towards 100% occupancy, Olivia enters this celebratory year with great sales. While lowering the prices and adding new trips, Olivia has 14 vacations on the schedule and more to come. They still take nothing for granted and customer service along with appreciation of their guests is the key to their success. According to Dlugacz, “There is a ‘love fest’ between Olivia and the women we serve. That doesn't happen very often between a company and its customers."
Because Olivia serves a niche market they also have a very special connection to their community. They provide something that simply doesn't exist anywhere else –a place where women can see the world and feel free to be themselves. Says Cruse, “It’s amazing to see what happens when a happy, fun-loving, appreciative group gets together and experiences this level of freedom...its nirvana! Some take for granted being able to dance together or hold hands in public. But for our clientele it remains special.”
Olivia also helps the communities it visits for example, founding the LGBT Haiti Relief Fund of the Red Cross, for which they raised over $200,000 in the first two weeks following the earthquake. "We visit the Caribbean all the time and our friends in Haiti are suffering in unimaginable ways,” added Dlugacz. “As a community, we believe showing our support through this effort will help strengthen the bonds we have created in the region as LGBT people. We may not always be welcomed on some islands and we hope that by bundling together our resources and using our gay dollars, we will show the compassion and love we have for the people of the region."
After 20 years, Olivia’s mission remains the same: service, connection, community and celebration. In 2010, every trip will be about celebrating loyal guests and the community they created. From the Amazon to the Mexican Riviera, from Europe and Istanbul, this is Olivia's year to celebrate.
Olivia’s 20th Anniversary cruise will set sail to the Western Caribbean on February 28th, 2010.The line-up includes The Indigo Girls, Meg Christian, L Word sensation Leisha Hailey and New York Times’ bestselling author Nicole Schapiro (Negotiating for Your Life). Olivia favorites, like musicians Julie Wolf and Suede and comedians Vickie Shaw, Julie Goldman, Karen Williams, and Dana Goldberg, are also slated to appear.
For more about Olivia’s Anniversary vacation, visit http://www.olivia.com.
Originally founded as a record label in 1973, the San Francisco-based Olivia has evolved into the leader in lesbian cruise and resort vacations, and has taken over 100,000 lesbians on vacation since 1990. Olivia is proud to support a number of women's, lesbian and gay, and environmental organizations, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California. For more information on Olivia, visit http://www.olivia.com or call (800) 631-6277.
andrea (at) andreaburnett (dot) com