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Exclusive | First Gay Cruise Part Three

Exclusive | First Gay Cruise Part Three

Never galloped up the gangplank of a gay cruise? Read on for everything you need to know to make sure your first gay cruise is shipshape.

Getting Laid
If getting laid is important to you, you shouldn't need much help on an all-gay cruise, but here are a few tips. Many of these ships are big, and you can go for days without seeing someone. If you're interested in someone, carpe diem. The pool decks tend to attract more of the younger, party crowd, and things tend to get friskier after dark. Now we don't want to seem prudish here, and we like sex al fresco as much as anyone, but more than a modicum of discretion is appropriate here. (What would happen if everyone tried to get it on in a lifeboat?) Have a great time, but have consideration for your fellow passengers and the crew.

For those of you who are worried that there's going to be too much sex going on around you, don't. The atmosphere on these trips can be sexually charged, but rarely overtly sexual. That's really not what these cruises are about.

Ports of Call
At each stop that a cruise ship makes (ports of call), there are always a couple of options. Standard ship-offered shore excursions (pre-planned group tours that usually involve a bus, a guide, and a place for you to buy souvenirs) can be disappointing and expensive. This is particularly true in the Caribbean and Mexico. European excursions are more likely to be better options, and special excursions arranged by the tour operator can offer a great window onto local life. Olivia in particular has done a great job of connecting the women on their cruises with the local women's community. Most ports are easy to negotiate on your own, and a little advanced preparation and research can greatly enhance your experience ashore if you're looking to get beyond the standard tourist fare.

Disembarkation
The end of the cruise is a series of harsh realities, although there are a few ways to ease your transition. Your charge privileges generally end the night before your cruise (so carry your wallet), and a final accounting will be delivered to your room. This is when you find out how quickly those bar bills add up! If you are paying by credit card, your account will automatically be billed. Cash accounts must be settled aboard ship. Luggage to be carried off by the porters must be packed, PROPERLY TAGGED, and placed outside your cabin door, generally by midnight. On large ships, when it's time to disembark, you will generally be assigned to a holding area on the ship based on your luggage tag color, and will have to wait until your color is called to disembark. Count on sitting for an hour, maybe longer. If you're impatient, you can carry your own luggage and walk off when you feel like it. Some cruises are moving toward a hotel-style checkout; color yourself lucky if yours offers this option.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

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