When her long-running show "Kate Plus 8" ended in September, everyone including Kate Gosselin wondered what she'd do next. Here's your long-awaited answer: she's going cruising. Alice Travel is offering a week long Caribbean adventure in August hosted by the much maligned reality star. But will anyone actually join her?
It's not likely, according to a poll posted on the website Cruise Critic. More than 45 percent of readers said they'd cancel their trip if they got wind of her being on board. "What a great way to empty a cruise ship! I'd cancel if booked," wrote one of over 600 bemused commenters on Cruise Critic's Facebook page.
Bookings opened to the public Friday, with premium suites going at a rate of up to $5,550. By Wednesday, there was still plenty of room on deck for passengers. While the travel agency handling the trip told Cruise Critic they've received "a good amount of calls" from single women and parents of multiples, the booker I spoke with had no specific projection of when, or even whether, the trip would sell out.
If rooms are still available when the ship sets sail, there's a chance all eight Gosselin kids will join their mom, who hasn't confirmed yet whether she's bringing her brood. She'll definitely need a nanny, considering her line-up of events: cocktail parties, brunches, and private dinners where Kate is expected to mix and mingle with passengers. A photo session, Q&A and book signing are also part of the itinerary. Passengers willing to sit through Kate's crafting tutorial and other family-style games and activities have to pay an additional $700 for the privilege.
With any celebrity cruise, there's a chance she could back out. If she does, customers are still beholden to their tickets, according to Cruise Critic. But it's unlikely Kate will be a no-show. She's said it herself: she needs the money. Right now, aside from speaking engagements her biggest gig is bargain blogging for the website CouponCabin.com.
"Kate Gosselin is scraping away at the remnants of fame," Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money, tells Shine. "The celebrity cruise circuit used to be one of the only appearance fees a celeb could get, before the halcyon days of $100,000 nightclub payments. Today it is seen as a hail mary pass for a paycheck."
Last year, past-their-prime stars like Kid Rock and the BackStreet Boys found a haven for their marginal fame at sea. For acts like the New Kids on the Block, who've been riding the celebrity cruise waves since 2008, it's a crucial portion of their annual salary.
"The average celebrity can still make up to $25,000 for one of these cruise appearances," says Piazza. "And that makes sense for the cruise operators because it is free advertising and for the celebrity because they get a free vacation."
But unlike boy-bands, who provide live entertainment and a chance for former fans to live out their teen fantasies, Gosselin's on-board offerings are limited. "Learn a new craft from the professional herself," advertises the cruise website as part of a list of Gosselin-centered activities at sea. "Doesn't Kate always have the best ideas!?"
Not everyone would agree with that.