To very loosely paraphrase 1970s cameo-machine The Love Boat, gay cruising is indeed exciting and new, offering something for everyone who sets a course for adventure. And if your mind’s on a new romance, that can be found there, too. Heck, even Charo’s still a possibility.
While some companies block out a few dozen rooms on cruise lines with nongay itineraries, there are four well-known companies that charter entire ships. Olivia Travel provides cruise, resort, luxury and adventure vacations designed especially for lesbians and women (see sidebar, Page 15). R Family Vacations focuses primarily on LGBT parents and their kids. The passenger logs on RSVP Vacations are mixed, but still slant toward a higher number of men (about 90 percent). And Atlantis Events cruises, where we’ve had the majority of our gay charter experiences, clock in at about 95 percent guys. (See sidebar.)
Many people think that translates to ripped models, skimpy swimsuits, free-flowing booze and hedonism in excess. Which is all there if you want that. But it’s also one of the most unassuming places we’ve found to make new friends of all ages, shapes, sizes and degrees of sass from among thousands of passengers from all over the world, each with the common interest of having the time of their lives in an environment that celebrates their sexuality rather than marginalizes it. Think of it as a really big gay bar where everyone knows your name, and no one gives you thatMean Girls glare.
While we’re not experts on cruising (of any variety), between us we have a decent amount of experience thanks to a total of 10 full-ship gay charters and three hetero-centric voyages where we learned why gay cruises are just so much more fun. So whether you’re embarking on your first gay cruise or planning your 99th, we present 10 easy ways to make it epic.
1. Judge a cabin by its cover: The importance of door décor.