I took my very first gay cruise in 2002, sailing from Istanbul to Athens with RSVP Vacations on board the Royal Clipper, a voyage that I covered for Passport’s first cruise issue in February 2003. I was by no means a pioneer (RSVP’s first cruise sailed out of New Orleans in 1986), but it seems that in the past decade more and more of us are choosing gay cruise vacations.
The voyages appear to get bigger and more ambitious every year: for 2013, RSVP has a Southern Caribbean cruise for 2,100 guests, while Atlantis Events is offering a Caribbean cruise with 3,700 passengers, a Singapore to Hong Kong cruise with 2,000 passengers, and a New Zealand to Australia cruise with 1,800 passengers.
It’s not just guys who enjoy big ocean adventures: founded in 1973, Olivia celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2013 with two back-to-back sailings aboard Holland America’s 2,100-capacity ms Nieuw Amsterdam for what will be the largest lesbian cruise ever. Nor is it exclusively American: with two sold-out cruises under its belt, Europe’s La Demence is planning its third Mediterranean adventure in 2013 for 1,440 passengers, including an overnight stop in Israel to participate in the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade.