In picking your first cruise ship, it's important to realize that the on-board atmosphere (high energy to low key) and ages and types of passengers (young and lively to retired) vary a great deal from cruise line to cruise line. To begin your ship selection, look at your own lifestyle and personal interests:
- Do you picture yourself poolside, or on an uncrowded beach after having slept in late, reading a New York Times top ten best seller or the latest trashy Gay novel?
- Or, are you more the early riser, jogging, working-out, hiking, fishing and then having a Power Bar for breakfast?
- Are you happiest in a crowd, partying, gambling, and catching the late night lounge act? Or maybe what makes you most content is seeing new places, tasting new, exotic foods and meeting new people.
Well a cruise can incorporate some or all the above and much more. It can be an individual or group experience. Generally cruises are a great value including accommodations, meals (up to 8 a day), entertainment with airfare and tours available at really good rates. And best of all you can unpack for the duration of your cruise and sip a cool Sea Breeze as your ship slips into an new port of call.
But Darlings, YOU'RE Gay! Is a Cruise Vacation in the cards for you or are they just for landlocked straight farmers from Omaha? Man Overboard can personally assure you that cruises are for gays and lesbians. Haven't you ever heard of Dames at SEA?
You can book a cruise for you and your lover through any travel agent, or, you can take advantage of a wealth of top travel companies that specialize in cruise experiences for the Gay and Lesbian Community.
You'll need to determine your budget and what type of experience you want because ships run the gamut from toney yacht-like vessels with caviar on demand (expensive) to the "party till you drop" ambience of Carnival. And you'll find variety in cruises offered by gay/lesbian travel companies -- RSVP, for example, charters a full ship and revamps all the entertainment to suit the interests of gays. Others take small groups of gays on ships and you'll be part of the general passenger mix.
Again, The main choice is deciding between a full-ship charter or opting to join a smaller gay or lesbian group on an existing cruise. The primary advantage of a charter is the exclusively gay friendly environment, while a smaller gay group offers many more choices relative to itinerary and quality of the ship.
Here are some of the ManOverboard's gay and lesbian travel company recommendations:
- Atlantis Events Resort and Cruise Vacations offers Alaskan and Caribbean full-ship charters. Atlantis Events.
- RSVPVacations.com. One of the oldest gay travel companies operating full-ship charters since 1985. RSVP now carries some 5,000 gays per year. A first class operation, RSVP takes full control of the ships it charters, providing its own entertainment and activities, and even offers new itineraries. Guests include approximately 90% men, 10% women and the median age is 35. Cruises fill quickly. If you like the Caribbean and want to party hard the this is a good choice.
- Olivia Cruises and Resorts -- The largest company offering cruises for women only, Olivia hosts voyages in the Caribbean, Alaska and Greece.
- Ocean Voyager Cruise Consultants. a "more refined" cruising experience focused on cruise lines such as Celebrity, Holland America, and Royal Viking Sun. A host accompanies the group, dinner is second seating and they offer private cocktail parties.
- Pied Piper Travel -- Known for its QE 2 group sailingsas well as other cruise lines they feature group dinners and cocktail parties.