Taking her bow: meet the woman who changed the face of cruising

Nearly 42 years after Aaron Spelling’s The Love Boat – one of the most watched TV series of its time – first aired, the cruise industry continues to reinvent and has attracted the attention of African American travellers through Festival at Sea: Cruising with an African- American Twist, the brainchild of Patricia Nicholson Yarbrough. 

Yarbrough has always been a travel pioneer. She launched San Francisco-based travel agency Blue World Travel Corp in 1978, but a full 14 years passed before Yarbrough noticed a gap in the market for a cruise tailored around African-American culture and entertainment.

Enter the award-winning Festival at Sea, which has grown from its first group of 250 passengers in 1992 to a sold out annual full-ship charter with a waiting list as long as the bible, plus a number of spin-off events.

As she gears up for Festival at Sea’s 28th sail later this year on Celebrity Equinox, Yarbrough shares her experiences of the industry and the lessons she has learnt with Telegraph Cruise.

Read the interview here: