Gawker's Caity Weaver attended a Paula Deen celebrity cruise, and you won't believe what she encountered. Actually, you might, given that the Attend-B-List-Celebrity-Cruise formula is a guaranteed go-to for funny, if predictable, travelogues.
The formula goes like this: 1) Find a fading celebrity throwing a cruise that will mostly be attended by a niche group of dedicated fans. 2) Attend the cruise that is likely to have the strangest (read: most non-mainstream) types of fans on board. 3) Ogle at the traditions and customs these foreign people have. And most importantly, 4) Discover that people are different but also ultimately the same at heart.
This isn't to mock these essays; they are genuinely enjoyable! The celebrity cruise piece works like any good travel writing, in that it explores a new and different world from that of most readers, while pointing out the differences and explaining their universality. With Paula Deen's adventure in mind, here are some of the key pieces of celebrity cruise writing and how they stick to the formula.
Cruise: Paula Deen
Who Attends: Gawker's Caity Weaver attended Deen's celebrity cruise because, in her words, "I wanted to see who was willing to spend, at minimum, roughly $3,000 to support a downtrodden millionaire. I wanted to see if there were any black people." The answer, you may be surprised to hear, is that there were a few black people! One in particular was the "The Grill Sergeant," a singing chef, whose friendship with Deen is chalked up to a marriage of convenience for both. Most attendants, though, were much like Paula Deen: a slightly overweight white woman near her 60s from the South.