In 2013, I embarked on my first gay cruise with Atlantis Events, shy yet curious of what’s to come. An acquaintance of mine had convinced me to go and he was going to be my roommate. He said I was going to have the best time of my life.
I knew at the time that I liked to travel, and on the itinerary included a trip to the Greek Isles of Mykonos and Santorini, island paradises that are a feast for the eyes and soul. I thought to myself — if I didn’t enjoy the cruise element of my vacation, at the very least I would get to travel, see new places and spend time getting to know my roommate.
A few weeks before the cruise was to embark that acquaintance of mine decided to drop out last minute. This was my worst nightmare — going on my first gay cruise alone and not knowing anybody beforehand. My immediate thought was be the same as any first-timer: that I would be thrown into a world of strangers left to fend for myself and potentially spend my entire holiday alone! I was left scared and unsure of what was to come, having had no experience going into an environment of intimidating guys you think are better-looking than you.
Well, I decided to go on the cruise anyway — and it was the best 10 days of my life. I met the most incredible people who were open, welcoming and wanted to ensure I had a great time. The most important of them being my roomshare-matched roommate.
In the end I realized that it goes hand-in-hand — if I’m having a great time, then the people around me are having a great time, so if the people around me are having a great time, then I’ll have a great time. It’s the circle of life!
Since that first gay cruise, I’ve gone on eight, and I’m still going strong. You won’t see me shy away from them any time soon! But if you’re feeling like I did five years ago, and are a bit anxious about your first gay cruise, here are seven tips that will help ease those nerves:
7 Tips for your first gay cruise
1. Costumes can be fun, but they’re not everything.
Cruises often feature costume parties (and sexy ones at that). But don’t be intimidated and don’t be shy. Just because you’re not prepared with a costume doesn’t mean you’re not welcome. Just join in the fun and dance at the party. On a cruise, everyone welcomes you with open arms — so accept that invitation!
2. Without the internet you’ll have to meet people the old-fashioned way.
OK, so you can buy internet on the cruise. But generally, most people don’t. Just say hi on the boat — in the elevator, at the dining room or at the bar. Or ask your roommate to be a fun wingman for the night! You won’t regret it. And maybe you’ll be able to carry this skill into life off the boat!
3. Leave your attitude on land and bring an open mind to sea.
The most welcoming thing about a cruise is that you’ll find the people have left their attitudes behind and just want to have a good time. So you should too! Can you imagine if you brought a stanky attitude on board? Nobody would want to talk to you! So check your attitude at home and get ready to meet 2,000 strangers!
4. Radiate positivity.
You have to try really hard to not enjoy yourself on a cruise. If that truly is the case, then you’re doing something wrong. If you’re stuck in a funk somehow, then that’s all that people around you will see, and that negative energy will follow you. Instead, put on some happy music and radiate positivity; you’ll find a flock of followers soon after!
5. Say hello with a smile.
I guess you’re seeing a trend here. All these tips are meant to get you to be your best, happiest self, and a simple smile and hello goes a long way. Being on a gay cruise doesn’t mean you’re looking for a romantic connection — in fact, many cruise-goers are already coupled! These people are just looking for a nice vacation for a week or more. You could meet all sorts of people — a new mentor, a business partner, a travel buddy or a sports activity partner and it all starts with a simple hello.
6. There’s something for everyone on a gay cruise.
I’ve often heard friends tell me that a cruise is not for them. They’re just too quick to judge and don’t know what a cruise entails until they’ve tried it — there’s everything including fine dining, shows, travel, shopping, gambling —you name it, they’ve got it. So don’t think you’ll be stuck on a boat with nothing to do. A cruise ship doesn’t feel at all like a cruise ship — it’s akin to an entire city on the sea!
7. Spend your time as you like.
A cruise has everything and you don’t have to do what the cruise program tells you. If you feel like chilling out in your room to read a book — then just do that. If you feel like sitting by the pool or in the spa — go to that. There’s nobody telling you, you have to go to a party or to an event unless you want to. Feeling tired? Sleep!
I think you get the message here. The bottom line is, it’s all about attitude. But remember, you’ve got the freedom to do what you want. If you go on a cruise thinking you won’t have a great time, chances are you’re going to create your own reality. But once you open up yourself to the idea of meeting fun people, having a great time and welcoming new people into your life, you’ve just opened up your world to a number of new possibilities. Get ‘em!
If you’re still thinking about a summer gay cruise, you’re still in luck as one of them is about to disembark this weekend from Rome. However, of the three summer cruises that are offered, one is already past and another is sold out. Here is the lineup of summer cruises:
- July 9-16, 2018: The Cruise by La Demence
- August 4-11, 2018: Rome to Barcelona Cruise by Atlantis Events
- August 21-31, 2018: Italy & Greek Isles Cruise by Atlantis Events
This piece about going on your first gay cruise is a contribution as part of Hornet’s city ambassador program. City Ambassadors are Hornet users around the world who are interested in providing input and insight into LGBT-friendly places, events and travel for other Hornet users. If you’re proud of your city (or a number of cities), become a city ambassador here!
This story was originally published on August 1, 2018.