Pride Month: expert advice on booking an LGBTQ+ cruise
By Marcus Adams | 10 Jun 2022
Travel blogger Marcus Adams (aka Sparkx) offers expert advice on how you can plan, choose and book your LGBTQ+ cruise
For me, cruising appeals because of the variety and value for money. But it’s also unique – no other holiday gives you the chance to tick several places off your wish list without having to pack and unpack over and over.
Crucially, it provides a safe space for those in the LGBTQ+ community to be themselves and be open about who they are. A big draw of cruising is the social aspect and the ability to meet like-minded people who you can share experiences with.
On top of this, cruise lines such as newcomer Virgin Voyages openly encourage crew to be ‘themselves’ too and reflect their own individuality.
Cruising also offers a hefty dose of pampering and indulgence – such as out-of-this world entertainment on Royal Caribbean International and mouth-watering culinary options like those found on Princess Cruises. All this, set within stunningly designed spaces and impressive accommodation and suites, plus real destination immersion and cultural exploration on river and expedition cruises, means there really is something to suit every taste and budget.
Where is best for an LGBTQ+ cruise?
When it comes to destinations, I know that, sadly, personal safety is still a concern for LGBTQ+ travellers, but in many years of cruising, I have – thankfully – never seen or had a negative experience. Almost every cruise line has adopted policies to protect LGBTQ+ travellers, including banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and, in some cases, gender identity.
Cruise ships travel to ports across the world and, broadly speaking, these are seen to be safe. But some are considered less friendly towards LGBTQ+ travellers. This includes some parts of the Caribbean, Middle East and Asia.
My advice is to research the various destinations in advance, and remember, there’s always the option to stay on the ship. For further peace of mind, talk to the excellent shore excursion staff and book excursions through the cruise line if you have any concerns.
Which cruises cater best for LGBTQ+ travellers?
The number of LGBTQ+ cruisers is increasing every year, and more young people than ever are giving cruising a chance, too. Which means guests on board are becoming more diverse. Websites like Meet Me On Board are the perfect place to find out more about other LGBT travellers and the cruises they’ve enjoyed, as well as giving people the chance to chat and arrange meet-ups on board.
Cruise lines are also becoming savvy. LGBTQ+ events are now standard on most cruise lines. I’ve gone along to a few and it’s the perfect place to meet new people and share experiences. Lines including Celebrity Cruises are taking their support of the community even further by supporting events like Miami Pride.
LGBTQ+ travellers also have the choice of specialist cruise options, with companies such as Atlantis Events chartering some of the world’s most impressive ships to provide a unique experience on board. This includes parties and exclusive shows hosted by celebrities and influencers. These events come highly recommended to me by friends, who’ve had unique experiences and praised the friendly atmosphere on board. There are also specific cruises relating to particular interests, including drag-themed cruises.
You can also find LGBT cruises for smaller groups, where an operator will book a number of cabins from groups of solo travelers to hundreds of passengers. Similar to all-gay cruises, the operator will provide additional amenities, shore excursions and experiences on board.
But what if you’re in a loved-up bubble? In my opinion, a cruise is one of the most romantic ways to travel, so much so that it’s fairly common for couples to get engaged on board. It doesn’t surprise me when you can watch the sunset over the ocean from your own private balcony. Building on this, cruise lines are now advertising bespoke packages to the LGBT market, including letting you tie the knot on board.
And if you’re after a family cruise, you’re not forgotten either. Cruises increasingly cater for little ones with exceptional entertainment and family facilities, while also being rated very LGBTQ+ friendly. Companies such as Disney Cruise Line tailor their whole experience around family and child-friendly activities featuring all your favourite Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters.
Cruising is one of the best ways for people to see the world, meet new people and embrace new experiences. Maybe I’ll see you on board one day.