Small and Large Gay Cruises Will Float Your Boat
Story and image by Ed Salvato; above, gay cruisers enjoying their visit to an intimate Caribbean port
One of the most enjoyable and satisfying vacation options for LGBT traveles is an all-gay cruise. From the moment you step on board, you know you are someplace special: an environment where you are completely and totally safe and free, and where you are in the majority as an LGBT person.
Many gay travelers are familiar with the larger cruise options offered by tour operators such as Atlantis Events, RSVP Vacations, Olivia, and Sweet (the last two primarily for women). These cruises are often large to very large (up to 3,500 other gay passengers!); they are on big, beautiful ships loaded with options and they stop in some of the most familiar and gay-friendly destinations on the planet.
There are several tour operators available that welcome much smaller groups of LGBT passengers (in the scores to the low hundreds). These cruises often ply less familiar waters, calling in at smaller, more interesting ports that cannot accommodate larger ships. They are more intimate and allow guests to really get to know one another. This may be a good option for a couple leary of a big cruise or a frequent large-ship cruiser looking for something different. With cruise season upon us, we'll be highlighting several of these tour operators in the months to come.
Concierge Travel, the largest gay-owned and operated travel agency and tour operator in Texas, is offering its first all-gay luxury sailing ship cruise to Costa Rica and Panama. The cruise will sail on Star Clippers’ elegant Star Flyer clipper ship March 6-13, 2011. There she is to the right; image courtesy Star Clipper. The 170-passenger Star Flyer is the world’s tallest sailing ship, with a mast that stands 226 feet tall.
If you are used to the amenities of a larger ship, fret not! Sure, you won't find a rock-climbing wall or an ice-skating rink, but there are two pools to choose from, you'll find lots of cozy and intmate corners and luxurious spaces, and the decor is gorgeous, reminiscent of the golden age of travel. You'll call in at some unique, off-the-beaten-track ports (check here for itinerary) with a small handful of other travelers. It's also incredibly quiet. Remember, the ship uses the ultimate green energy source: wind.
Speaking of large cruises: A big gay happy anniversary to RSVP Vacations!
- It's not a small gay cruise but it is certainly noteworthy: RSVP Vacations, celebrating its 25th anniversary, will be in Hawaii for the first time ever.
- The cruise takes place from October 30, 2010 to November 6, 2010 on NCL's Pride of America (appropriately enough). And there is still availability.
- If you're looking for a gay-friendly hotel to stay in prior, the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort has been actively reaching out to LGBT travelers for the last year. They have an NCL office in their lobby and Hulas the famous gay bar (and virtual LGBT center for the island of Oahu) is a three-minute walk away.