Our Chat with Craig Smith and Source Events
By Steven O. Evans, PhD
I have always loved gay travel. I have booked gay cruises, printed off countdown calendars, posted them over my desk, and marked off the days until the trip. Before moving to Fort Lauderdale, this was great motivation for work and exercise during the cold, winter months. I have used several different gay cruise companies going to the Mexican Riviera, Eastern Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, and other locations. In 2018, I went on the Pride Cruise with Source Events. This proved to be an amazing trip. We had a fantastic day at sea to relax, a fun day in Key West, and two amazing days in Havana, Cuba. If you have ever wanted to see Cuba, the 2019 cruise leaving out of Fort Lauderdale is the opportunity of a lifetime. For more information on the April 8-13, 2019 cruise and their other travel opportunities, go to www.SourceEvents.com. I talked with Craig Smith, the founder of Source Events, about their travel experiences and up coming Pride Cruise to Cuba.
Steven O. Evans, PhD: Congratulations on Source Events’ 15th Anniversary of creating gay travel experiences around the world. How did you begin and what makes these experiences unique?
Craig Smith: The origin of Source Events can be traced back to a conversation I had with my life coach. Having produced the Miami Winter Party Festival for several years, I was seeking a new challenge, and my coach invited me to dream and visualize what was next. I envisioned sailing to exotic islands on tall ships, hiking into rainforests, and exploring faraway lands like Africa and New Zealand and Machu Picchu. I was inspired by the idea of creating more intimate experiences, and discovering more about ourselves, each other and the world we live in. Through conversations with like-minded friends and a shared vision of crafting unique and inspiring travel experiences for the mind, body, and spirit, Source Events was born.
In 2019, our signature cruises and adventures, include our Pride Cruise to Cuba, a Greek Islands Cruise, a Voyage Around Iceland, a Journey to Africa, and an adventure to Petra, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Pride. In January 2020, we have announced a luxury Antarctica Voyage, which we’ve found is a bucket list destination for many of our travelers. The destinations change each year, but we’ve found that now we have a Source Events family of travelers that return every year and always bring new friends. Our extraordinary growth over the years has been due to both word of mouth and also guests requesting new adventures.
SOE: This April is Source Events’ 10th Annual Pride Cruise, cruising from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, Cuba, and Key West. Why is cruising to Cuba so popular?
CS: For over 50 years, travel was very restricted to Cuba, so there has been a demand and curiosity when it comes to Cuba travel, since we’ve been forbidden to travel there and yet it is so close to us. Once travel restrictions eased, Source Events was the first gay travel company to sponsor a tour of Cuba. In fact, our trip to Cuba was timed, so we were in Havana during President Obama’s historic visit and speech opening up travel. Last year Source Events was proud to produce the first ever gay pride cruise directly from Miami to Cuba with over 150 guests. We were warmly received by locals and received press coverage from both the local and international press. Of course all the trips to Cuba must be for educational purposes as well as fun, and our customized tours meet all the requirements for “people to people” trips required by U.S. laws.
SOE: What are you most looking forward to on the Pride Cruise?
CS: Cuba is a land frozen in time. Riding in our caravan of convertible classic cars through the streets of Havana and along the famous Malecon is really one of the most fun excursions you can imagine. Also riding through old Havana by horse and carriage and seeing the incredible Spanish architecture is also a highlight. The beautiful spirit of the Cuban people is present everywhere. Drinking mojitos and dancing salsa with locals and travelers is always fun along with touring Fusterlandia, a wonderland of whimsical mosaics by renowned artist Jose Fuster that has to be experienced to be believed. The Cuban cuisine is delicious and we always go to one of the private restaurants, called Paladars, as well as the famous entertainment and nightlife offered in Havana.
SOE: Tell us about the friendships your travelers make that are unique to gay cruising.
CS: It’s always easier to connect with new friends on more intimate adventures and cruises. LIfe-long friendships have been made, and we often hear stories of guests making new groups of friends. Several couples have met aboard one of our cruises and are now married. We always have a great mix of singles and couples. We also have single mixers during the cruises to introduce guests, as well as hosting single tables. We also invite all our guests to a private Facebook group before the cruises, so guests can meet in advance, and stay in touch and share pics after the cruise.
SOE: If someone has never been on a cruise before, what should they expect?
CS: Expect to make new friends and have a lot of fun. One of the best things about cruising is that you don’t have to pack and unpack. Also, it’s great to have all the meals included as well as entertainment. We’ll have some amazing private excursions in Havana to choose from. Every day there is a schedule of meals and activities placed in your room, so you always have options to choose from. Of course, you can simply relax and do nothing. Just being on the deck by the pool with a cool drink with new and old friends is always fun. On our Pride Cruise, you’ll be greeted by our team with a gift bag of goodies including a Pride Cruise T-shirt. Source Events always hosts private sail away t-dances with appetizers during the cruise with our resident DJ.
SOE: How can people book a Source Events, including the Pride Cruise to Cuba?
CS: Contact our office in South Beach on Lincoln Road, 10AM-6PM at (305) 672-9779 or email Reservations@SourceEvents.com. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and assist you with a reservation. Of course details on all of our adventures are at www.SourceEvents.com