Most cruises may be considered to be “gay friendly” and all of the larger cruise ships, no matter the itinerary, will have regular get-togethers for “friends of Dorothy”.
Homophobia is not generally a problem which is why you will always find a number of gay singles and gay couples aboard any of these types of cruises.
There are two other options for gay and lesbian travelers, however – to book a cruise with a special group of gay and lesbian travelers on a given ship, or to take a cruise on a specially chartered cruise ship that caters exclusively to the gay and lesbian market. Charter companies that operate gay and lesbian cruises include R Family Vacations, the first gay travel company targeted squarely at gays and lesbians with children, Olivia, specializing in the lesbian market, Atlantis, the world’s largest gay and lesbian specialty vacation company, and RSVP who are actually now owned by Atlantis but keep a separate identity and flavor.
The obvious advantage of a gay cruise is the level of comfort and the “safe” environment for gay and lesbian passengers.
“There is a huge attraction to being able to express affection on vacation without fear of comments and judgement,“
…says Mike Klassen, a regular cruise passenger on RSVP cruises. “If I can’t be myself on vacation – when CAN I relax!”
As well, the gay charters ensure a range of specializations such as gay-oriented entertainment, special gay-themed parties, shore excursions with a gay slant . Some charters even ensure that the ship’s doctor be gay too. The downside to the gay and lesbian cruise is that it tend to be a little more expensive than its mainstream, “straight” counterpart.
There are also fewer destinations to chose from for these types of cruises – though this is in fact changing. New to the usual line up of gay and lesbian cruises, typically to be found in the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska and the Mediterranean, are an all Asian cruise with Azamara Cruises, a Grand Baltic Cruise with Holland America, and a couple of different, high-end cruises in French Polynesia.