6 Great Gay Cruises to Enjoy + Cruising Tips

Are you a gay traveler ready to live your best life in the seas? Whether you’re looking for a fun and relaxed vacation or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, gay cruises are the perfect options.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, gay cruises have been popular gay vacation options. Now that COVID restrictions have dramatically eased down, the travel companies have more gay travelers hop on board and sail away. And when it comes to gay cruise ships, there’s no better way to explore the world than with your LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

These cruises will get your heart pumping from deck parties to late-night revelry! The trip may seem like an enjoyable experience, but planning a trip can be time-consuming and frustrating. Whether or not it will be your first time on a gay cruise, this guide will help guide you ongoing on a gay cruise.

How to Choose the Best Gay Cruises

When choosing a gay or lesbian-friendly cruise ship, these factors will all play a role in ensuring that you have a memorable and enjoyable vacation.

  • Price– We can agree to disagree that cruise ships can be expensive. But it depends on where you fly room, where you are sailing to, and the type of room you’ll have. You can get a deal for as low as $400. On a luxury cruise, you can pay as much as $4000.
  • Size of the vessel- Ships like Atlantis fit at least 5,000 people or Pride of America, which only accommodates half the number of people.
  • Vibe & atmosphere– When choosing a gay and lesbian cruise, it is essential to consider the type of atmosphere that you want. Each ship has its unique personality, so select one that best suits your needs. For instance, Atlantis would be the best option if you enjoy circuit parties. If you’re looking for a much calmer experience, you can choose a ship like Pride of America.

By choosing a gay and lesbian cruise ship, you can be sure that you will have an enjoyable and hassle-free vacation. These ships offer everything you need to relax and have fun, so book your trip today!

Some of the top gay-friendly cruises lines include Atlantis Events, Olivia Cruises, and RSVP Vacations. All three companies offer cruises to destinations worldwide, including the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. They each have their unique style and atmosphere, so it is essential to research before deciding.

No matter which cruise line you choose, you can be sure that you will experience a relaxing and fun-filled holiday. The ships are packed with activities, and the destinations are some of the most beautiful in the world. So, if you’re looking for a vacation that caters to your specific needs, be sure to check out the many gay-friendly cruise options available today.

Popular Gay Cruise Ships

1. Atlantis

Atlantis ship is the world’s largest gay and lesbian cruise ship; the ship fits around 5,000 people. Even during the coronavirus epidemic, the ship is full.

There are multiple pools, bars, a casino, a spa, and various dining options. The ship also hosts several special events and circuit parties, including the White Party and Disco Tea Dance, explicitly geared towards the gay and lesbian community. Some of the most popular events are the White Party, in which partygoers dress up with angel wings and white jocks, and Dog Tag T-Dance, in which men dress in camouflage.

One thing to keep in mind is that Atlantis is not kid-friendly. There is a lot of sexual activity that happens on Atlantis. You would find guys “getting it on” out in public by the pool and on the dock. There are even videos of Twitter showing these activities. If you’re conservative and want a calm vacation experience, Atlantis may not be the right cruise for you. But if you enjoy the circuit party scene and don’t mind seeing men hooking up in public, Atlantis could be a good vacation option.

The price of Atlantis starts at about $900. Atlantis may not be your choice if you don’t like big crowds. As mentioned earlier, the ship gets full. Parties happen all day long, so if you enjoy partying non-stop, you will enjoy Atlantis. Tickets sell out early, so make your purchase way in advance if you decide to go.

2. Vacaya

Vacaya is a cruise ship built exclusively for the LGBTQ community. There is plenty of LGBTQ programming and entertainment on the boat, like drag performances and circuit parties. Once they get off the ship passengers, they can visit gay-friendly locations like Puerto Vallarta (considered the “San Francisco of Mexico”) and Costa Rica.

Vacay is an adult-only ship so that you can have fun without any inhibitions. The ship encourages an amicable atmosphere, as noted on its website. There are plenty of single men who go on Vacay so you can mix and mingle with them. There is even an online Vacaya Facebook community where singles can look for roommates.

If you’re a gay traveler, consider going on Vacaya. Based on trip reviews by LGBTQ travelers, Vacay is one of the most welcoming environments for the LGBTQ community. The price can go anywhere from $900 up to $14,000.

3. RSVP Vacations’ Liberty of the Seas

This ship is also quite large, and it offers a similar range of amenities as the Allure of the Seas. It is popular among gay and lesbian cruisers for its lively atmosphere and plethora of activities. RSVP has been around since 1986 and travels to many different destinations, including the Caribbean and Alaska.

4. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises caters to the LGBT community, and it offers a wide range of facilities and activities that cater to their needs. There are several restaurants, bars, and nightclubs onboard and a spa and fitness center. The Equality Ship also hosts several special events and occasions throughout the year. Celebrity Cruises was the first ship to host same-sex marriage. The vessel is also known for its annual Pride party, which will bring together LGBTQ persons of all generations, including old and young.

Based on reviews, Celebrity Cruises is a memorable experience. It has received different awards, including best onboard LGBTQ gatherings and best cruise line for LGBTQ passengers.

5. The Cruise

The Cruise is large ship-based in Europe that fits about 3600 passengers. There are impressive parts of the ship like a glass floor walkway that lets you see the ocean, a pool with colored lights, and gyms that give you a sea view. If you’re based in the US and want to travel overseas, consider going on The Cruise. This year it will be sailing from Rome to Athens. As a European traveler, you only need your ID but if you’re traveling from the US need a passport.

6. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America

This American-themed ship is one of the most popular choices for gay and lesbian cruises. It offers multiple pools, a spa, restaurants, and many other activities.

What Should You Budget for Gay Cruise?

Cruises can be fun vacation options but can be pricey. Here are a few things you have to consider:

  1. Airfare- The cost of a roundtrip flight depends on where you are flying from and when you book your trip. For example, if you’re flying from NYC to Miami, Fl, you can pay anywhere from $120-$320 roundtrip. But if you’re flying cross country, you will be spending a lot more on your flight. A suggestion is to use a site like Orbitz or Priceline rather than airline websites so you can get better discounts.
  2. Island excursions– There are many activities and things to do on a ship. Once a cruise ship lands on an island or at its destination, you have other things to do like scuba diving, snorkeling, or jet skiing. Excursions can cost as much as $40 to $300 per person per day. I always recommend travelers to do an island excursion because you’ll have the opportunity to explore different cultures and groups of people. Years ago, I sailed on Carnivale, and one of the stops was the Bahamas. I went scuba diving, which I was initially scared to do, but I enjoyed myself and met some very friendly locales.
  3. Drinks– Drink spending can quickly add up. The price for a non-alcoholic beverage range from $2-$4. Beer is about $8, wine is about $10, and cocktails are about $11. You are charged for drinks once you leave the ship to head back home. This makes it more difficult to budget your drink spending since you can’t itemize money spent as it’s happening. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, expect to pay at least $100 at the end of your trip.
  4. Gratuity– It’s classy to always leave a tip for room service. You can either leave a 15%-18% tip for room staff every day or at the end of your trip.

How to Pack for Your Cruise?

There are all sorts of activities and events on a gay cruise. You can go to the pool, gym, spa, bar, and many other parts of a cruise ship. And so, you have the opportunity to dress up and dress down. You can pack blazers, collared shirts, and shoes for formal dinners at the ship. For dress-down occasions, it’s recommended to bring jeans, t-shirts, and accessories. Also, bring swimming suits and towels if you want to go in the waters.

What Not to Do on Gay Cruises

There are strict rules and guidelines on a cruise ship that persons must follow. If you disobey them, you can get kicked off the boat. To avoid problems, here are things to consider:

  • Don’t bring any drugs. This may sound like common sense, but it happens more than you think. Drug use I commonly used for recreational purposes at circuit parties which occurs on many gat cruises. If you use marijuana for medicinal purposes, contact your cruise line beforehand and see their guidelines on drug possession.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. Studies show that people drink alcohol to lower their inhibitions. The problem is that alcohol impairs your judgment and can make you do things that will you or another person. For this reason, it’s advised to drink in moderation.
  • Keep your hands to yourself. Be mindful of how you approach and interact with others. Don’t let alcohol or anything else incite you to pursue someone that doesn’t show any interest in you. I’ve seen so many incidents in social gatherings where a person tough another permission without permission. Don’t be that person.

Why Choose Gay Cruises?

There are still places where homosexuality is not acceptable in these changing times. In countries like Jamaica, Egypt, and Iraq, it’s illegal to be gay. People are still being harassed and even killed for being gay. Gay cruises allow you to be in a safe space where you can laugh, dance, and connect with other LGBTQ persons. You’ll be able to experience gay-friendly locations overseas that you may not have the opportunity to do on a regular cruise.

So get your best costumes and outfits and plan to have an unforgettable sea travel experience.

This post originally appeared on Savoteur.

6 Great Gay Cruises to Enjoy + Cruising Tips
Marcos Martinez

Marcos is the founder of Men Who Brunch (MWB) a lifestyle blog for gay men of color. As a black gay man, he has struggled with his sexuality and wanted to be part of a community. MWB is that community where you’ll find content about spaces for black gay men, entertainment news, and gay lifestyle.