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Exclusive | Gay Cruises: Set Sail for Your Best Vacation Yet Part Two

Exclusive | Gay Cruises: Set Sail for Your Best Vacation Yet Part Two

Discover the joys of all-gay cruises, women only escapes, and LGBT affinity groups on mainstream voyages.

Two niche players in the all-gay cruise company market are: Romance Voyages (link to:, which charters upscale small ships for Galapagos Island and European river adventures, and Journeys by Sea (link to:, which charters private yachts (two to eight guests only) for intimate weeklong sailings in the Caribbean.

Between choosing an all-gay charter and just signing up for whatever mainstream cruise tickles your "pink" fancy is the option of joining a gay affinity group, organized by travel agencies or companies. You'll be traveling on a regularly scheduled cruise with a large contingent of other gay and lesbian folk, often with a "host" on board, and you'll enjoy special group amenities such as private dinner rooms, cocktail parties, and shore excursions.

The two biggest organizers of gay groups on board mainstream cruises are Ocean Voyager Cruise Consultants and Pied Piper Travel. Known for its upscale gay groups, Ocean Voyager Cruise Consultants organizes several groups on Celebrity, Holland America, and Norwegian cruise lines. Pied Piper Travel organizes gay groups on board Cunard's new Queen Mary 2 behemoth, Princess, and Celebrity cruise lines.

Two other tour companies that organize similar gay groups are: Above and Beyond Tours and Aquafest. Likewise, luxury gay tour operator David Travel books cabins aboard premium cruise lines such as Radisson Seven Seas or Silverseas. Passionate and attentive, David arranges special amenities and dinner for his upscale gay clients (and their friends).

The big benefit of joining one of these groups is the promise of gay bonding, if you'd like it, as well as the ability to just meld into the larger group of passengers and be anonymous, so to speak. Prices are generally comparable to regular rates -- less than the all-gay charters. Gay and lesbian travelers who aren't ready for the sheer numbers of fellow homosexuals (which can be overwhelming) on an all-gay charter may find that joining one of these groups organized by experienced companies, such as Ocean Voyager or Pied Piper, is a fine introduction to the gay cruising lifestyle.

Just be sure to spend the time to fully research the specific cruise you're interested in before committing. Important questions like whether you have assigned seating at dinner, gratuities are included or not, what is the typical guest profile, and so on should best be answered by the cruise company you're working with or by a knowledgeable gay-friendly travel agent, so you'll get a perfect "fit" with the cruise vacation you've chosen.

Part One | Part Two
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