There’s no shortage of LGBT cruises in the modern cruising world. The cruising industry is entirely accommodating and gay-friendly, making cruise adventures for gay and lesbian travellers one of the most fun and comfortable holiday experiences out there.

From LGBT-only cruises to gay singles cruises and standard cruises with an abundance of gay-friendly activities, cruisers have a lot to look forward to. Ever happy to help, we’ve got your questions answered about all this growing market has to offer.

What makes an LGBT cruise different from other cruises?

Cruises specifically geared toward LGBT cruisers are about creating a safe space where LGBT passengers can feel welcome and at ease. While almost all cruises these days feature some sort of special activity for gay and lesbian cruisers, all-LGBT cruises are typically organised by a third party event organiser that partners with a major cruise line.

Like any kind of specialty cruise, gay cruises feature activities and entertainment tailored specifically to its audience. Cruise ships will also go to ports that are known for their acceptance of gay and lesbian cruisers, ensuring absolutely every moment of your journey is as carefree as can be.

What are the best cruise lines for LGBT cruises?

Just about every liner has held an event for the gay and lesbian cruise market. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and studies show that the LGBT cruising population is alive, active and always growing. Most cruise lines have also prioritised onboard safety and acceptance by adopting clauses that prohibit discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity, so cruisers can feel safe at all times.

What this positive attitude means is that gay and lesbian cruisers now have an incredible array of cruise lines and types to choose from. River cruises, overnight stays in port, family-friendly fun or whole cruises dedicated specifically to LGBT cruisers are all on the cards. Even if you aren’t on a ship whose itinerary is devoted exclusively to LGBT cruisers, you should still find a healthy dose of gay-friendly activities no matter where you go.

Cunard has consistently been a favourite among LGBT cruisers, favoured for its opulence and elegant feel harking back to the romantic days of transatlantic travel. Celebrity Cruises® has been a repeat support system for the LGBT community, sponsoring pride events in major cities around the world, while lines like Norwegian Cruise LineRoyal Caribbean® and Holland America line frequently partner with LGBT travel associations for special gay cruises.

And the best ports?

While choosing an LGBT-friendly line is generally a piece of cake, choosing a cruise with LGBT-friendly ports can be a little trickier. Safety is a top priority, so it’s crucial to ensure the ports you visit are friendly to gay and lesbian travellers. Whatever cruise you choose, it’s important to know your ports laws and restrictions beforehand so you know exactly what to expect.

LGBT-specific cruises can be really helpful in situations like this, because the cruise line already does the port-screening for you and generally chooses destinations that cruisers will be excited to visit. Ibiza, Key West and Sydney are particular highlights that regularly make their way onto the itinerary for LGBT cruisers, so you aren’t sacrificing quality, either.

What kind of activities can I expect on an LGBT cruise?

You don’t have to be on an all-LGBT cruise to find activities geared specifically toward the LGBT community. Many cruise lines will disclose on daily itineraries when and where LGBT activities will be on the ship – this usually includes welcome drinks at the beginning of the cruise, so that gay and lesbian cruisers can meet one another right off the bat.

Like any cruise that’s specific to a certain market, LGBT cruises will feature activities that are exclusive to their cruise. This can include anything from top Broadway and West End performers to drag queens and cultural classes on fashion, design and art. Cunard is especially great in the cultural department with a number of enrichment classes and lectures on the menu.

Any other tips?

  • For gay and lesbian cruisers that want a little more discretion on a line that isn’t just for gay and lesbian cruisers, the term ‘Friends of Dorothy’ or ‘Friends of Bill’ was developed. If you see this attached to an activity like drinks or other get-togethers, that’s code for LGBT-friendly.
  • There are tonnes of message boards and groups devoted to gay and lesbian cruises, where cruisers can share experiences and tips on the best journeys for the LGBT community. If you’re looking for more information or are an LGBT cruise newbie, these outlets offer a wealth of first-hand advice.
  • If you’re travelling alone and/or are worried that your cruise line might not have an LGBT meet-up upon boarding, sites like Cruise Critic® have a super handy Roll Call forum, where you can meet fellow cruisers before you even hit the high seas. There are forums specifically devoted to LGBT cruisers, too, so that you can set up your own meeting and step onboard feeling comfortable and excited for your big trip.

All that’s left to do is enjoy – the sunshine or the cocktails, your pick!

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