From the best parties in the world, to relaxing on a tropical beach, or just taking in amazing views, blogger Marcus Adams (aka Sparkx) selects the top 10 LGBT and LGBT-friendly cruises and cruise lines

1. NCL Cruises: South America from Santiago to Buenos Aires:
Argentine & Chile

Experience the wild and zestful spirit of South America with NCL cruises, from its stunning natural vistas to its intricate architecture and rich history. Norweigen Cruise Line offers an experience unlike any other, with a wide variety of opportunities to dive head first into all this region has to offer. You will pass through the likes of Argentina, Uruguay, The Falkland Islands and Chile, all boasting their own unique and contrasting characters. 

Despite offering contemporary and lavish accommodation with bars, lounges, spas and additional top class facilities at your fingertips, these almost become secondary to the on shore itinerary you can opt into. En route you can drink in the charming city of Uruguay, in addition to its wide range of wines at any chosen vineyard. Take time to wonder at the beauty of Tierra del Fuego’s lush and rugged landscapes whilst on horseback. Finally to close the trip, do not forget to experience the sensational ski resorts of the Andes.   

Your starting port of Argentina is one of the top ten countries for LGBT travel. Moreover, Norwegian Cruise Line is known for actively supporting LGBT organisations and often have their ships chartered for gay and lesbian cruises specifically.

2. Disney Cruise Line: The Bahamas

Bring out your inner kid by sailing on Disney Cruise Line – a perfect option for both families and couples. Take a cruise from the sunshine state to relax in the Bahamas for three or four nights and visit a number of islands, including Disney’s own private island, Castaway Cay. The island features a number of sprawling beaches and lagoons perfect for snorkelling, as well as walking trails, shops and barbecue dining locations.

And since you’re in the neighbourhood, start or end your trip by heading to the most visited place on the planet, Walt Disney World. Every year Walt Disney World holds a number of special LGBT days, but the fun doesn’t stop there – Orlando has a number of attractions including Universal Studios, another destination you’ll not want to miss.

Disney is known for being very inclusive across all of its parks and resorts, and its cruise line is no different. Staff are very welcoming to the LGBT community and all guests are made to feel part of the experience. While the line caters heavily for family holidays, the added benefit of adult-only areas appeals to many couples as well.

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in New York
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in New York

3. Cunard: Transatlantic

Sailing with Cunard is an experience like no other. Follow in the footsteps of the rich and glamorous by taking a transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2. The only liner still in service, travelling on Queen Mary 2 is a very special experience, which makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back to the golden age of the liner. Here, dinner and evenings are an event. Don your glad rags and take in the opulence of your surroundings, before enjoying walks along the authentic promenade deck and dancing the night away in the Queen’s Room – the ship’s very own ballroom.

Why not time your trip to coincide with one of the many events and festivities that take place in New York across the year, such as NYC Pride, New York Fleet Week, or even Thanksgiving.

Cunard has a long history of supporting human rights, including for the LGBT community.   Like most cruise lines mentioned here, it regularly organises and promotes LGBT meet-ups on board, advertised via its daily on-board newspaper.

4. Celebrity Cruises: Italy and the Greek islands

Following Celebrity Reflection across the pond, why not embark on an Atlantis Cruise for 7 nights visiting Italy and the Greek Isles? Soak up the sun in Santorini, take in the history and culture of Athens, before an overnight stay in stunning Mykonos. Atlantis is an LGBT charter company, very well known for its entertainment, activities and parties in addition to the existing Celebrity activities on board.

Santorini in Greece
Santorini in Greece

5. Royal Caribbean International: Western Mediterranean

If you’re looking for something bigger and bolder, Royal Caribbean is back in business with 2021 cruises starting this July. Why not embark on a 14 night Mediterranean city special visiting a variety of ports: Gibraltar, Nice (Villefranche), Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples/Capri, Barcelona and Lisbon.

Their cruise ship Symphony of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world with extraordinary features. If you’re anything like me, and enjoy having choice, this ship represents the perfect option to do a wide variety of things, all in one space. Built around a series of distinct neighbourhoods, take in the sights and sounds of the outdoor boardwalk, or take a stroll through the ship’s most unique feature, a full-size park carved through the middle of the ship. Thrill-seekers won’t be disappointed either. Why not try the longest slide at sea, rock climbing or even surfing? When you get thirsty, ask your friendly robot bartender if he can knock something up before sitting back to watch some unique entertainment, including diving shows, ice-skating and even enjoying a west end production of We Will Rock You.

Royal Caribbean is another line with a history for being very LGBT-friendly. Ships are regularly chartered by companies such as Atlantis, providing a fun-filled environment that can cater for all tastes. Meet-ups are generally organised via the community bulletin board found near guest services on most ships..

6. Princess Cruises: Norwegian Fjords

The “Love Boats” of the Princess Cruises fleet offer a huge variety of interesting itineraries.

Princess has a very popular following, and it’s easy to see why. Sapphire Princess is packed full of exceptional dining options, including its signature Italian restaurant Sabatini’s. It also has a number of interesting bars and clubs, such as the unique Skywalkers nightclub that overlooks the wake of the ship, as well as very friendly and helpful staff ready to take care of every need. You can see why Princess Cruises has won Best Cruise Line for four years running at the Cruise Awards.

Princess actively promotes meet-ups in the daily onboard newspaper and is a popular choice for LGBT-cruisers. Crew have also been known to host LGBT events to bring together like-minded travellers. Like some of the other lines here, Princess has a lot of repeat LGBT passengers that return year-on-year, so they must be doing something right.

A Viking Longship on the Rhine
A Viking Longship on the Rhine

7. Viking River Cruises: Europe

With an ever-changing vista, river cruising is the perfect way to experience the historic towns and cities of Europe. The Viking River Cruises Longships are perfect for this, providing contemporary elegance and comfort. Enjoy fine dining, spacious staterooms and suites, some of the best designed scandi-inspired ship interiors, and enriched shore excursions that get you into the very heart of these locations. For me, this is a winning combination.

In my opinion, the quintessential river cruise is along the romantic Danube River, sailing between Budapest and Regensburg, taking you through Krems and Passau. Particular highlights include Vienna, experience the Baroque architecture and feel of the city, and then in the evening take in a classical music concert and indulge in the local wine.

River cruising is much more intimate than sailing on the big ocean-going ships, so be prepared to get to make a lot of friends on board. Viking openly welcomes LGBT passengers, and regularly hosts LGBT charters and group booking on its river fleet.

8. Azamara Club Cruises: Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam 

Azamara Club Cruises‘ fleet of small-boutique ships let you sail into smaller, more intimate ports across the world – and Azamara prides itself on destination immersion. This means you tend to stay longer and experience more on your journey.

What better way to immerse yourself than with a 16 night intensive voyage through Australia? This one-of-a-kind-voyage will take you on a tour of the great Australian Bight. Journey through Perth, Albany, Esperance, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Portland, Eden, before ending with an unforgettable New Year’s celebration in the beautiful city of Sydney. Here you’ll stay for two nights, giving you ample time to catch some final rays of sunshine on the shores of Bondi Beach. 

Azamara proactively markets itself to the LGBT traveller, where its ships are frequently booked for LGBT groups. LGBT ‘Happy Hour’ meet-ups are promoted on board, where staff, including the Captain and Cruise Director, will regularly attend.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

9. Holland America Line: Australia and New Zealand

At the top of my bucket list is a cruise around Australia and New Zealand. Year-on-year Atlantis team up with a number of cruise lines to offer one-of-a-kind cruises Down Under.

Sail on Holland America Line for a cruise that kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand during its pride celebrations and finishes in Sydney during its annual LGBT Mardi Gras. Take in the beautiful scenery and savour some of the world-famous wines New Zealand has to offer. You’ll then cruise to Hobart, the capital of the island of Tasmania, before spending an overnight in cosmopolitan Melbourne. You’ll then arrive in Sydney just in time for the Mardi Gras, the world’s largest LGBT celebration.

Holland America is a very openly LGBT-friendly cruise line, but is a relative newcomer to hosting LGBT meet-ups on board. You can expect at least one meet-up at the start of the cruise, with subsequent meetings available on request.

10. Silversea: Panama Canal

A Panama Canal cruise is a unique experience. Most cruise lines offer spectacular cruises which typically travel from southern Florida, the Caribbean, through the amazing man-made locks and lakes of the Panama Canal through to the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica, Mexico and the western United States.

Join the intimate Silver Whisper, from Silversea Cruises, as she sails from Lima through to Florida, via the Panama Canal. The Silversea fleet has been designed to deliver an ultra-luxury experience. With an all-suite offering, expect personal butler service, the finest accommodation, and sumptuous dining.

Finish your cruise in one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world. Fort Lauderdale is considered by many to be a tropical paradise for LGBT travellers, with a variety of bars, hotels and restaurants catering for everyone. LGBT culture is part of the fabric of the city, so finish off your cruise by taking in all that it has to offer.

Silversea does not offer specific LGBT meet-ups on board, rather it promotes an atmosphere of class and elegance for like-minded travellers, which if you’re anything like me will appeal. 

The Top LGBTQ+ Friendly Holiday Destinations in 2021

If you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, some countries might be better to travel to than others for your next adventure.

There have been major changes in laws and norms surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage and the rights of LGBT people around the world. However public opinion on the acceptance of homosexuality in society remains divided by country, region, and economic development.To determine the most LGBT friendly travel destinations, MyDatingAdviser compared 34 countries across 8 key indicators of LGBTQ+-friendliness.

Whether you’re planning a cruise to one or more of these destinations or need inspiration for your next holiday, here are the top 20 destinations best countries for LGBTQ+ travel in 2021.

  1. Sweden
  2. Netherlands
  3. Spain
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Germany
  7. Canada
  8. Australia
  9. Brazil
  10. Argentina
  11. South Africa
  12. Italy
  13. Israel
  14. United States
  15. Czech Republic
  16. Mexico
  17. Greece
  18. Poland
  19. Slovakia
  20. Philippines