I'm working on a new cruise book ... and I'm interested in learning about the experiences of gay/lesbian/bi couples on cruises.
My sister and I did a transAtlantic last year and were "adopted" by the gay community onboard and had more fun than any two middle-aged married ladies should be allowed to have when they leave their husbands at home.
There were some homophobes on board but they were few and far between.
Or, at least, we didn't come across too many of them.
Any good (or bad) experiences to share, e-mail is fine.
We have been on 5 cruises together as a couple, and I have been on 2 cruises by myself when I was single and looking (my 3rd cruise we met). Fortunately Our experiences have always been great, never encountered any problems with other guest or employees.
Two years ago we were on the Sensation to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and New Orleans. On the cruise during a scavenger hunt we met this girl when she took my towel. We started to hang out a bit. In New Orleans we ran into her on Bourbon St.
She was bored with her fiance and her soon to be in-laws (a Baptist preacher, his wife and daughter). She wanted to show them what the "real New Orleans was like". So as any good gay man would do we took them down to the Bourbon St. Pub to see the male strippers!!! I have never seen a Baptist preacher so scared in my life!!! All the while his wife and daughters tipping those strippers for another peak and a grab!!!
We have had many fun experiences with others on board and have always returned to Carnival for this reason. Next cruise 10/19 Sensation. See you at Carlo's and Charlie's!
Art and I have been on 4 cruises together (next one is in October). By and large, we find cruiselines much more accepting than hotels.
The one bad experience we had was on Carnival Ecstasy, when we were traveling with three female friends. Sitting at dinner, the photographer came around to our table and asked whether my friend Irma and I were together. I said no, but Art and I were (he was seated to my left). The photographer just ignored my comment and went to another couple sitting at our table.
When I asked whether he could shoot our picture, the photographer pointed out in a snotty tone of voice that it would have a heart around it, and I said, "We don't mind," and smiled. He then just walked away. All in all, pretty rude.
On the other side of the coin, aboard the Sea Princess, we had an opportunity on formal night to jump in and get a quick photo. We just stood side by side and took a couple pictures. The photographer then stepped up closer to us, and asked if we were together and whther we would like a couple's photo. I said, "I'd love it." For the next few minutes, he painstakenly posed us and shot several pictures.
Later that evening, I saw him again and thanked him for kindness and told him it was the first time anyone ever asked. He smiled and said, "No problem at all."
Over and over, we've found people very accepting and kind.On Princess, the crowd was more age 50 plus, but we found them to be the most accepting of all. One fellow passenger told me of the two genetlemen she and her husband met, and how they still send cards back and forth at the holidays and how they even vacationed at their home for several days.
We have been on over 15 cruises together and only had a problem on one. It was on the Mercury and we were seated with 4 friends (2 ladies (straight) whom we had met on another cruise, and 2 single friends of ours). On the first formal evening, they were coming around to the table to take pictures and KayakGuy leaned towards me for our picture to be taken. The photographer refused, but a few minutes later, took a picture of the 2 ladies (who were sisters) and that did it. Within minutes, the Matre'd had been called and a formal complaint filed. Our butler soon showed up and was furious as to what had happened. When we got back to the suite, we already had a message from the head photographer, who apologized, but took up for her actions, saying that 'tonights pictures were singles only' . The rest of the cruise, the wait staff and our butler went out of their way to make up for it.
Since, we have never had a problem, have danced, had our photos taken together, etc.
Two cruises down (Carnival, Celebrity) and two cruises booked (both Cunard) and I can honestly say we've never experienced any type of hassle, though it took the Celebrity photographer a moment to catch up to the fact that we were "together" when he shot a formal portrait. We do, however, get asked by the crew fairly regularly if we are brothers, twice on the Spirit and four times on the Summit. Maybe they have a pool going below deck, as in, "OK, how many have you got this trip? I've got four couples, I win."
BTW, we were the two guys on the bus last May who arrived from the Summit at Vancouver Airport at 11am and had an 11:30am flight. Since my partner was still using a cane, I'd made arrangements for a wheelchair, but as late as we were we asked for additional assistance; with the aid of an airline rep, two porters, a luggage cart and an electric golf cart, we got through check-in, customs, paid the airport tax, had a wild ride to the gate and were in our seats on the plane at 11:22. Talk about a wild ride!
I would be more than happy to tlak to you about all the cruises we have been on . 27 for me and 12 for Peter. We have done ahte all gay cruises, when by ourselves and we have even served four time as on board host for a group of gay guys and girls sailing together. Pleas send me an e-mail and I'll be more than happy to give you a phone interview or any info youmight like.
been on QE2 as a pax 7 times since l was 17yrs am now 33 always gone as a single and a whoop of a time on board, either with the passengers or crew....had some really nice times with them as well as being very well looked after.have found Cunard ok with this. Good luck with the book!!!
Hi Pamda! If I can be of any assistance to you in your book I would be more than willing!
My partner and I have done many many land based vacations, all-inclusives, etc. and finally tried a cruise on the Carnival Destiny in March of this year. We loved it. It was the best experience.
The staff on the Destiny were very open. My partner and I got all dressed up on formal night, and we had our picture taken at every option by the photographers. The best one had my partner sit on a still and asked me to stand behind him. Then he asked if we were comfortable to have me put my hand on my partners shoulder and we exclaimed yes! He then grabbed my hand and rested it just so on my partners shoulder. It was great, and it is a prized picture by my whole family!
Right down to our foom steward, who made our beds together into one every day for us.. it was awesome... we have 3 cruises booked!
Hi Pamda......My partner and I were on Carnival's Fantasy this past april. We are both first time cruisers. And it defintely wont be our last. We had a wonderful time to say the least. We found most everyone on board were very polite, although, we did notice that the photographers were a bit touchy with the subj. We almost had to get out pencil and paper and explain to these people that YES, WE WANT OUR PICTURES MADE TOGETHER!!! We got several stares from them but all in all it was worth it. We just laughed at them and chalked it up to pure ignorance. We know that some are not as accepting as others and we are okay with that. We still had a wonderful time. All of our waitress and waitors were wonderful. We met one guy from the Phillipines, He was a barrell of laughs.
Would we go again? most definitely, but next time, we will make sure that we are on a gay/lesbian friendly cruise line.
My partner and I are scheduled for our 4th cruise on 10/26 - On the Disney Magic. Last year we, and another gay coupled traveled on on Magic as well and it was a great experience. there was a fair number of Disney Cast Members who were mostly family traveling with their partners or other gay friends.
The staff treated us like everyone one else. They did not act differently toward us in anyway. Foraml nights we had couple photos taken, and no one, staff or passengers seemed to notice and/or care. The cabin stewart, upon check in, wanted to know if we would be sleeping in the bed, and we said yes. His response was , great, one less bed to have to make!
We've never had any problems and would be willing to cruise with them any time.
Joel, my partner of 35 years, and I have been on five cruises, with No. 6 upcoming January 19 aboard Celebrity's Infinity.
We have never experienced any overt problem with being gay among all straight tablemates. There have been some disturbing vibrations, but never anything approaching conflict -- even after being frequently asked "How long have you two known each other" and replying 30-plus years. That, sadly, nearly always quickly shifts the topic after a quickly muttered, "Oh, that's nice." It seems straight cruisers never expect gay partners to have been together more than a few months or so.
Many of the straight people we meet on cruises, be they tablemates or casual acquaintances, often ask for our email address -- however, none have ever wished to communicate after the cruise.
But, as I noted on a CruiseCritic board, I have found one interesting fact: My partner and I used to cruise with my elderly mother and enjoyed being seated at "normal" tables. But after she passed away and we started cruising by ourselves, we noticed a strange phenomena:
On every cruise now we are seated at a table that seems to be reserved for "odd" people. For example: on our last cruise on Celebrity's Summit we were seated with three people from California (a husband, his wife and his sister), a single traveler (not gay) from Ireland and two women (again not gay) traveling together from Maryland.
That kind of seating has occurred on every cruise that we've taken together. We figure they must look at reservations and try to place same-sex couples, odd-numbered travelers, or single travelers together -- saving as many tables as they can for male/female couples. We've always enjoyed our table companions and the ensuing good conversation -- but at the same time, we can't help but notice the unusual seating.
And, curiously, we have never been seated with another gay couple. And that, upon reflection, seems very "odd" indeed.
Carnival's Mardi Gras: c1992
RCCL's Majesty of the Seas: c1995
RCCL's Rhapsody of the Seas: 2000
RCCL's Vision of the Seas: 2001
Celebrity's Summit: 2002
Celebrity's Infinity: January 2003
We have experienced the same, as far as dinner assignments (7 under the belt here and heading on the 8th in one week).
The positive thing is that we have always had wonderful people assigned to us, and I think the 3 women traveling with us two weeks ago were so thankful they had two men who were enjoyable and not going to hit on them.
The test will be be on Nov 11th when I am traveling with my "brother in law" and see if the same situation occurs.
My partner and I have been on two cruises, (not gay) and had a wonderful time. I will never forget our first cruise on the Fantasy, we were taking a photo before the formal dinner and the photographer said as he was about to pose us, "sisters, friends" I perceeded to say "lovers" he said he just wanted to know so he could pose us in the correct manner. It was great. We did not get the usual stares or looks, everyone was wonderful. We even strolled the decks arm in arm. I got to watch the ocean from the top deck with my girlfriends arms around me and not one person stared.
Our second cruise was on the Carnival Pride (appropriately named) and again wonderful. We did meet many gay couples on this sailing, men and woman. My partner and I tend to be ourselves where ever we go. We just can't help being "normal". I have never encountered a homophobic yet on a cruise, thank goodness.
We are now booked on the Carnival Legend for April 3, 2003 and my bestfriend of 25 years and her partner are joining us. Hope to see other family on our sailing.