Julie Peasgood is a TV presenter, travel expert and Contributing Editor for Cruise International
Q. My boyfriend and I would love to go on an LGBT-friendly cruise. Which cruise lines should I look into?
A. Well, the good news is that you’re spoiled for choice – most cruise lines actively welcome LGBT travellers, with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney having received 100 per cent ratings on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (which relates to practices and policies regarding LGBT employees and customers).
Royal Caribbean, in particular, welcomes gay passengers across its entire fleet and promotes onboard same-sex marriages. Upmarket Celebrity Cruises also offer same-sex nuptials and the line often sponsors Pride events. Cunard is a supporter of Human Rights Campaign and a very gay-friendly line, with a long history of partnering with LGBT travel agencies. The same goes for Viking, which hosts full charters and group bookings on both its ocean and river cruise ships. Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Azamara are all supporters of LGBT organisations, with their ships frequently chartered for gay and lesbian cruises. Luxurious Seabourn and Crystal Cruises have a high percentage of gay travellers, and Crystal also offer themed cruises including Film & Theatre and Fashion & Style.
LGBT-welcome cocktail parties are often organised at the beginning of a cruise (sometimes quaintly advertised as a ‘Friends of Dorothy’ event). They should always be listed in the ship’s daily paper, so keep an eye open for them.