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Old February 4th, 2003, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: my first RSVP cruise...


Don't worry about meeting people on the cruise. I went along last year on the RSVP Mexico - LA trip and had a great time. I even ended up in the RSVP brochure that you probably got in the mail.

The only thing about room share is that they don't do anything more then match you up according to a smoking room or not. My roommate was 67 years old. I was 26 at the time and he was naked in the room whenever he was there....but you know what I wasn't ever in my room that much either.

I am going to be on the second half of that cruise going to Mardi Gras with the friends that I met last year. The attached photo is of me with just some of the people that I met. I am in the center of the photo….Check out the photos from last year and remember I didn't know anyone on the ship before I got on!!!

I will provide you with some tips for your First Big Gay Boat Ride! Here is what I found to be true about my trip last year with RSVP. The M/S Ecstasy interior looked as tacky as Circus, Circus and the colors were so bright, Helen Keller could have seen them from Catalina. As I got into the elevator, I told one of the other passengers that I almost missed the boat, then added "now that I've seen the carpeting, I almost wish I had." However, there is more to surviving a gay cruise than just ignoring the décor.

Limit your luggage.
In order to keep the party going for up to 10 days, the company plans tons of activities, many of which require a new ensemble every few hours. Our cruise included two underwear parties (black and white), a formal dinner, leather party, a coat-and-tie dinner, costume ball, uniform party and swimsuit contest, among countless others. A week before the trip, drag out your suitcases and start filling them with everything you could possibly need. Then, once your closet is empty and you have nine overflowing suitcases and a steamer trunk you can't close, start crossing some of the events and outfits off your list. By the fifth day on the boat, some party people were on the brink of Karen Carpenter-style exhaustion, and it wasn't just the trips to la farmacia either. You can't party every night, so just bring what you can carry in three bags and plan to do laundry halfway through the trip. Less is more.

Don't sleep with anyone right away.
Imagine you go down to your favorite gay bar one evening. Suddenly, the doors are locked and you are trapped with everyone who is there for the next 10 days. That's what a gay cruise is like. You may see a guy on the first night who looks hot, but remember, you are going to be seeing him at every meal and every turn until you leave the ship. Don't make your vacation more awkward than it needs to be by having to spend eight days avoiding someone. Scope out the scene on the boat for the first few days and then make your moves.

Make sure you carry the essentials.
Some people like to decorate their cabin doors with photos of themselves, or with dry-erase boards and Post-it notes to leave messages. This makes it much easier to meet people and find out what their story is. I traveled with a group that had walkie talkies so we could find each other easily at ports of call and around the ship. It saved our bacon on numerous occasions (and it looked cool, too). Some cruises insist on pants for dinner in the dining rooms, so check your itinerary carefully for any essential items like that. Also, even the nicest cruise ships have Motel 6 amenities in the bathroom. If you like your special soap or shampoo, bring it along.

Make friends and be nice
A gay cruise is like summer camp, though Kathie Lee's cruise line didn't force us to make wallets, since we were all over the age of 10. Make friends with the people in the other cabins on your floor. Our floor got very social and we had the most fun just chatting in the hallway outside our cabins. It turned out that the lesbian couple down the hall had a cappuccino maker, so there are some rewards for getting to know your neighbors. Be polite to people at dinner or in the elevators or up on deck. You are trapped in a confined space with them for countless days. Pissing people off only makes it feel claustrophobic and leads to angry "U R Stuck Up!!" messages on your dry-erase board. Also, word travels through the boat like wildfire, so keep potential sources of gossip about yourself (like offering sex in the laundry room, that porno you did in college, your addiction to orange Fanta) to a minimum.

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