What Should You Look For When Booking An LGBT Cruise?
Cruises have long been a honeymoon favorite for straight couples. With the ever increasing number of gay couples being allowed and choosing to get married, they too are considering whether a cruise should be their honeymoon of choice. If so, there many options to choose from.
A cruise offers a lot for honeymooners. First, it can be extremely romantic watching sunsets and vistas from the ship’s deck. You have a number of options in selecting a cruise, since they use many different types and sizes of ships; from large ocean liners to small yacht-style ships or riverboats. You will also have a wide choice of where to cruise from since many of the world’s most beautiful and exciting cities are accessible by ship. You only have to unpack once and can relax, leaving it to the cruise line to get you from port to port. When you factor in all that is included, such as meals and entertainment, cruise travel is often a more economical choice than staying in first class hotels and traveling from city to city on your own.
Assuming that you prefer and feel more comfortable on a ship where you know you will not be the only same-sex couple aboard, the first question is whether an all-gay charter group or non-exclusive gay group is more suited to your needs and desires.
An all gay charter such as Atlantis, RSVP, Olivia, Brand G, or Source Vacations is where the cruise line books the entire ship and offers it to the LGBT community and their friends and family. These cruises provide you with an environment in which you know everyone on-board will be gay or gay-friendly. You can be affectionate and dance together in public and not worry about it. No one will question your wanting a romantic table for two.
The cruise line will bring on their own entertainment, which on the larger ships usually includes a headliner plus first-rate cabaret, drag performers and comedians. Headliners on these LGBT cruises in the past few years have included Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes, Jennifer Hudson, Andy Bell (Erasure), Lily Tomlin, Suede, and Bernadette Peters not to mention notable speakers like Suze Orman, Armistead Maupin, or Maya Angelou. If you like to dance, you may select a cruise with some of the best DJ’s and laser shows in the world. On the other hand, a gay group on a straight cruise will be more economical, provide you with more options in terms of itinerary, and allow you to cruise with a wider population of cruise passengers. That may appeal to couples not wanting to dance and party during their honeymoon. You will not, however, have the kind of entertainment and freedom that an LGBT charter offers.
The LGBT charter companies have also expanded their options. There are now LGBT cruises that focus as much or more on camaraderie, holistic health, wellness and/or spirituality compared to those that feature non-stop dance parties.
What Type/Size of Ship Best Suits you and Your Spouse?
Once you decide whether an LGBT charter or group is more your style, you still will have to decide on the size and kind of ship you prefer. There are, for example, all LGBT charters on ships accommodating anywhere from 100 to over 3,000 passengers. The larger ships generally offer more amenities and options. Some of the smaller ships provide a more intimate and luxurious experience.
A windjammer or yacht style ship will offer an intimate experience which can be active and elegant at the same time. A river boat cruise may also appeal to you as you can sit on the deck with a glass of wine or cocktail in hand and see castles and other sites right from the ship. Unlike some large cruise ships that require tender boats, a river boat will usually be docked right in the downtown areas of the port cities you pass. This type of cruise will focus more on days at your leisure in some unforgettable ports, as opposed to days at sea on a larger cruise ship with its added amenities.
Determining Destination, Time & Cost
You also need to decide where and for how long you wish to travel. Cruises generally last anywhere from 7 to 12 days, although there are LGBT group cruises that are as short as 4 days. Many couples prefer a honeymoon of surf and sun in Mexico or the Caribbean. Others may prefer the allure, vibe and cuisine of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. If you select a cruise such as one in Europe, South America or Asia, you will want to add at least a day or two before (and possibly after) the cruise to recover from jet lag and to better experience the starting and ending ports. The foreign itineraries are more exotic and are generally more costly.
The average age and other characteristics of the passengers as well as the pace of the cruise will vary depending on the cruise line, ship and itinerary. You would be well advised to consult with a travel agent familiar with these cruises to help you and your spouse select the cruise that most suits your preferences.
There are cruises that are right for just about any budget. The prices depend on the length of the cruise, the quality of the ship, and the itinerary. LGBT exclusive 7 day cruises start from as little as $699 per person for an inside cabin. An LGBT group cruise can be yours for even less, such as 4 days cruises starting at $469 per person.
If you are seeking a longer, more elegant and exclusive honeymoon aboard a gay charter cruise, the cabins can be as high as $3,500 per person for the most inexpensive cabin for a 10 day- Asian cruise aboard a luxurious all-suites ship such as the Seabourn.
Jonathan Geen is the President of Purple Light Vacations, a travel agency and travel-concierge company that specializes in LGBT cruises and land vacations for honeymooners and other travelers. It provides added value to its clients through insight and insider information to help you make the most of your destinations – all at no additional cost to you. “Travel in the know, wherever you go”.