LGBT Cruises

by Mark Chesnut

Nov 1, 2016
LGBTQ+

Cruises for LGBT travelers keep getting bigger, as evidenced by the January 2017 debut of what Atlantis Events calls the “largest and most extravagant gay cruise in history.” Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas will take some 5,400 passengers on an action-packed cruise slated for Jan. 22–29, 2017. Setting sail from Fort Lauderdale, the ship stops at Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and Labadee, Haiti. With 17 decks, 5 theaters, 13 restaurants and 5 dance spaces, the Allure of the Seas promises a lot of onboard activities for Atlantis passengers.

On a smaller scale, Atlantis also introduces a new itinerary from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, scheduled for Feb. 25–March 7, 2017, with three days in port at Rio during Carnival. Atlantis will offer tickets to samba school parades as well as other LGBToriented and general events. The 684-passenger Oceania Regatta then makes calls at Paraty and Porto Belo, Brazil; and Punta del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay, before docking in Buenos Aires.

Also new on the waves is the 2,650-passenger Holland America Line ms Koningsdam, making its first LGBT run with RSVP Vacations Feb. 5–12, 2017, leaving from Fort Lauderdale with stops at Key West; Grand Cayman; Roatán, Honduras; and Cozumel. The RSVP cruise will feature open-air parties and what the company calls a YouCreate Party, which allows guests to choose the theme.

Olivia, which specializes in lesbian travel, offers a wide array of cruises scheduled for 2017. Among its new itineraries is Majestic Alaska, slated for June 25–July 2, 2017, aboard the 1,380-passenger Holland America Line ms Amsterdam, departing from Seattle with scenic cruising along Alaska’s Stephens Passage and Hubbard Glacier. Also new from Olivia is an Iceland cruise, sailing July 28–Aug. 4, 2017, from Reykjavík aboard the 212-passenger Star Legend.

Many so-called mainstream cruises make it easy to connect with fellow LGBT passengers as well, often during cocktail parties and social gatherings organized with the “Friends of Dorothy” moniker. Companies like Pied Piper Travel also sell organized gay group excursions on major cruises, with special activities just for its clients. Upcoming 2017 RSVP itineraries include an Asia cruise on the Celebrity Millennium in February, a trans-Atlantic crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2 in June and a Rhine River cruise in September.

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