From info on other message boards, I think destination is the key to your shipmate culture. I was on Alaska RSVP several years back, and yes the crowd was more mature. I am going on Atlantis Med this summer and from the posts on related boards the crowd appears to be a majority of partnered couples. The Carribean seems to attract more of the circuit crowd. Just my observations from the research so far ...
We've now been on one of each; both were in the Eastern Caribbean. The RSVP cruise was on the newly issued HL Zuiderdam and the Atlantis was on the Celebrity Constellation. Both are beautiful ships and this brings me to the point. In addition to the parties with the best DJs and fun onboard activities presented by the cruise packagers, the ship and the crew are just as much a part of your total experience. Agreed that the ports-of-call are important and the excursions offered interesting and value priced, but to me it still comes down to the ship and the attitude of the crew/staff. We encountered some obviously unhappy staff on the Zuiderdam. They were not handling the gay thing well at all. In contrast, the crew and staff on the Constellation were very friendly and accommodating. So, two very nice ships with all the fun you could ask for but one left a decidedly different impression than the other. RSVP is not to be faulted; I'm sure they did all they could do to prepare the line for our group but so far Atlantis wins out.
Funny you should mention thaht about the Zuiderdam - just sailed on her in October - beautiful ship, but the service was no where near what HAL used to be. Am consideing another cruise now (New England/ Canada), and won't even consider HAL - am looking at QM2 or Constellation. Your comments have helped, thanks.
I found just the opposite......We sailed on RSVP to the Caribbean this past February on the Westerdam and had a wonderful time. The crew was excellent and pleasant, and for one whole week I have not one complaint. Since we do this cruise every year I did notice quite a few crew members that HAL got transfered from other ships ( Oosterdam, Volendam and Zuiderdam) strictly for the RSVP cruise. I know this because I asked when I recognized them, the reply was HAL puts out a bulletin Specifically asking crew members who would like to transfer for the gay cruise.
Big difference in my opinion between Atlantis and RSVP is there tend to be more circuit boys and body perfect on Atlantis. Thats a turn off for me...
I have only sailed with Atlantis on one cruise with Royal Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Oct 2004 and it was virtually perfect in every way. The whole "circuit" perception is way overstated. I am 45 years old and my partner is 36 and we are not "circuit" types, although we are not exactly conservative either.. Not that age matters, because there were a few way older than me that were definitely circuit types, and that was a little scary to see! . There was an incredible mix of people on the ship, young, old, everything in between, bears, drag queens, yes even gay republicans. Yes, there were hard core circuit types and if you wanted to stay up all night and dance, that scene was available to you. On the other hand, the ship was so large (Radiance of the Seas, about 2200 passengers) you could virtually avoid that scene for a week very easily if you wanted to. My estimate is that there were no more than 10%, which is a couple hundred of what I would view as hard core circuit types, i.e. still on the dance floor at 7am as the rest of us were departing on our shore excursions. Our cruise left from our home town of San Diego, which is of course only 2 hours from WeHO, so if this ship was not completely overrun by the stereotypical circuit types, then I doubt any would be. I agree that the ship and crew also play a huge role in the experience and the The Royal Caribbean folks were just great. They were having as much fun as we were. Interesting comments on HAL. We have several regular HAL ships in and out of San Diego and I have had some of my nongay work colleagues go on those cruises and they have universally disliked HAL. All said service, food, shore excursions were awful. And on the expense of gay cruises, I have and would gladly pay more not to be around untamed children and way overweight complaining heteros!
QE2, Radiance of the Seas, Millennium, QM2, Constellation, Dawn Princess, Jewel of the Seas