Do swinging cruises shock you? Then stay out of clubs échangistes

Written by admin on September 9, 2008 – 2:52 pm -

So Yolo Cruises is launching its virgin cruise for “swingers” on April 26, 2009. The week-long charter aboard a Carnival Cruise ship, will set sail from Tampa and head to the Western Caribbean with stops in the Caymans, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Honduras.

Shocked? Don’t be.

In France, there are more than 400 clubs échangistes — and don’t assume that a door marked Club Privé in one of Paris’s tonier neighborhoods is reserved for members who want to discuss philosophy. Natives and tourists mix … without a language barrier.

By comparison, the swinging cruise will be relatively tame. Nudity will be restricted to pools, spa tub areas, and special themed parties. Similarly, Acts of Oneness (or twoness or eightness) must remain in staterooms or designated “playrooms.”

“It’s not simply about sex,” says Marlene Brustle, president of YOLO (You Only Live Once). “Some people want to watch.”

The group hopes to book 2000 passengers for the maiden voyage and anticipates there will be a market (albeit niche) for three to four cruises each year. Prices range from $949 for an inside cabin to $3,499 for a penthouse suite.

Stéphane Julienne, a journalist who has written extensively on swinging in France, says Europeans are the king of swing.

“The European, and probably the world Mecca for swinging, is Cap d’Agde,” he says, referring to a naturalist resort on France’s Mediterranean coast. These clubs are perfectly legal since there’s no prostitution and it’s consensual.

People from every stratum of social and economic life participate and don’t feel the need to hide. “It’s become a leisure activity, like going to the theatre or the cinema,” says Alain Plumey, curator of Paris’s Musée de l’Érotisme.

There are clubs in every big American and European city. People just aren’t as open about them. In France, people accept them as reality and at the end of an evening, always say goodnight and shake hands. You might even run into one another the following day but no one will even acknowledge the evening before.

For many, c’est normale.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris

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