All You Need to Know About Gay or Lesbian Cruises / ZACHARY LAKS
Recognizing the surging demand, nearly every cruise line, from luxury to midrange to mass market, works to attract gay and lesbian travelers. LGBTA cocktail parties or meetups are a popular activity onboard various ships. Some cruise lines even cater to the community on land through various partnerships. (For example, Celebrity Cruises sponsors the Miami Beach Gay Pride festival, the first cruise line to ever partner with this celebration of the community.)
Passengers will find gay and lesbian travelers on just about any cruise, but some companies offer specialized sailings catering specifically to gay cruisers. All-gay charter companies, such as Atlantis Events (focused on gay men) and Olivia (exclusively for lesbians), charter entire cruise ships — from large, mainstream ships and smaller luxury ships to riverboats — and customize the whole trip.
The charters work closely with the cruise line to develop itineraries, and they always bring aboard their own group of entertainers, musical guests and speakers. Major cruise lines that frequently host LGBTQ charter cruises include Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Uniworld, Azamara and Virgin Voyages.
Here, we introduce you to the main charter companies catering to LGBTQ cruisers, and provide a preview of upcoming gay and lesbian charter cruises. Cruises can expect many postponed trips to finally set sail, a few newly-charted cruises that are sure to sell out fast, and new travel groups catering to the LGBTQ community.
Gay and lesbian charter companies conduct extensive research before committing to a foreign destination. There have been well-publicized incidents of all-gay charters facing opposition and scattered protests at ports in such countries as Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Turkey, so the gay charter companies generally steer clear of controversy and head to the “greatest hits” port stops, mostly in the Caribbean and Europe. Gay travelers should be aware that, in some ports, they might be faced with different levels of social tolerance.
This information, with specific dates, offers a snapshot of some of the adventures, but it’s not meant to serve as a comprehensive calendar. Refer to each company’s website for any updates or additions. Be aware that some gay and lesbian cruises sell out very quickly.
Winter Wonderland & Christmas Market Riverboat Cruise
The charm of Christmas perfected in true historic European style,
Winter Wonderland & Christmas Market Riverboat Cruise is Olivia’s third Christmas market tour.
This year, board Avalon’s Imagery II
along with over 120 women for a holiday-spirited journey from Frankfurt to Prague. The journey includes stops in Würzburg to see the largest ceiling fresco ever painted, a guided tour of medieval Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the delicious hot mulled wine of Nuremberg. Fares start at $4,399 for a porthole cabin, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Nov. 29 – Dec. 7, 2021
Costa Rica and Panama Canal Luxury Cruise
Head to the rainforest in a sailing yacht with this
aboard Windstar’s 148-passenger
. Explore mangrove swamps, jungle forests and beautiful beaches in search of the region’s diverse flora and fauna. A private beach barbecue and Panama Canal transit will be highlights. Fares start at $5,459 for an outside cabin with a porthole, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Jan. 15 – 22, 2022