Gay and lesbian cruises are slowly making a comeback, with cruisers reveling in once-in-a-lifetime celebrations onboard as the travel world continues to heat up. As COVID-19 vaccinations become the norm and travel restrictions drop, plans for cruise travel are becoming realities. LGBTQ cruise organizers are thrilled with all the renewed interest, with one likening the resurgence in LGBTQ cruise travel as "trying to drink from a fire hose."
Recognizing the surging demand, nearly every cruise line – from luxury to midrange to mass market – is working to attract gay and lesbian travelers. LGBTQ cocktail parties or meetups are a popular activity onboard various ships. Some cruise lines even cater to the community on land through various partnerships. (For example, Celebrity Cruises sponsors the Miami Beach Gay Pride festival, the first cruise line to ever partner with this celebration of the community.)
Passengers will find gay and lesbian travelers on just about any cruise, but some companies offer specialized sailings catering specifically to gay cruisers. All-gay charter companies, such as Atlantis Events (focused on gay men) and Olivia (exclusively for lesbians), charter entire cruise ships – from large, mainstream ships and smaller luxury ships to riverboats – and customize the whole trip.
The charters work closely with the cruise line to develop itineraries, and they always bring aboard their own group of entertainers, musical guests and speakers. Major cruise lines that frequently host LGBTQ charter cruises include Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Uniworld, Azamara and Virgin Voyages.
Here, we introduce you to the main charter companies catering to LGBTQ cruisers, and provide a preview of upcoming gay and lesbian charter cruises.
This information, with specific dates, offers a snapshot of some of the adventures, but it's not meant to serve as a comprehensive calendar. Refer to each company's website for any updates or additions. Be aware that some gay and lesbian cruises sell out very quickly.
Among the newer entrants to the LGBTQ cruise market, VACAYA offers both large and small ship charters with a welcoming atmosphere for all members of the LGBTQ community. VACAYA’s 2022 cruises, which include the Greek Islands and Antarctica, have already sold out. Five others are slated for 2023, including a luxury French Polynesia cruise.
Other players in the market offer more intimate full-ship gay charters, spanning from small ocean ships to river cruises. Most notable include Brand g, with more than 15 river cruise charters scheduled through to the end of 2023, the newly-formed OUTbound (co-founded by celebrity couple Jonathan Bennett and Jaymes Vaughan), Source Events (which also offers partial charters), Women on a Roll (a small lesbian tour group offering a 2023 Douro River cruise in Portugal), and the family-oriented r Family Vacations, which is celebrating its 20th anniverary in July 2023 with a Caribbean cruise.
Note: Partial charters are not listed below, but you can find more details on each company's website.
Gay and lesbian charter companies conduct extensive research before committing to a foreign destination. There have been well-publicized incidents of all-gay charters facing opposition and scattered protests at ports in such countries as Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Turkey, so the gay charter companies generally steer clear of controversy and head to the "greatest hits" port stops, mostly in the Caribbean and Europe. Gay travelers should be aware that in some ports, they might be faced with different levels of social acceptance.
Stockholm to Copenhagen Cruise
Atlantis Events returns to the Baltic Sea on the popular and premium Oceania Marina, covering six gay-friendly Northern European destinations in seven nights. This luxury cruise for 1,200 guests begins in Stockholm, hits Helsinki and Tallinn (Estonia), then carries on to Poland and northern Germany before arriving in Copenhagen. Experience castles, beaches, promenades and parks – the works. Fares start at $2,799 for a veranda stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Dates: July 31 - Aug. 7, 2022
Navigator LA to Mexico Cruise
Atlantis’ biggest West Coast adventure begins in glamorous Los Angeles before heading to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan on the totally revamped Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas. Settle in for eight nights of superstar DJs, A-list entertainment and round-the-clock parties in what is now the largest nightclub at sea – just you and 3,100 men. Fares start at $799 for an interior cabin, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Oct. 21 - 28, 2022
Harmony Southern Caribbean Cruise
This is the big one! Fort Lauderdale sets the tone for the massive Harmony Southern Caribbean Cruise, a 5,400-strong cruise to Willemstad, Curacao, and back over eight nights aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. The new itinerary also takes in Labadee, Haiti, and Oranjestad, Aruba, with plenty of time at sea for parties, concerts and shows skewed to the international crowd. Fares start at $1,229 for an interior cabin with a virtual balcony, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Feb. 4 - 12, 2023
Amsterdam to Luxembourg Riverboat Cruise
Champagne for breakfast? Why not? On this seven-night Amsterdam to Luxembourg cruise down the Rhine River for lesbians and LGBTQ women, you can do as you please in total luxury. Embarking from the always gay-friendly Amsterdam, this journey pulls into German pitstops like Cologne, Rudesheim, Rhine Gorge, Koblenz, Cochem and Bernkastel, before reaching Remich, Luxembourg. Avalon Waterways’ Artistry II is your home for seven nights, one of the top vessels on the Rhine, with large staterooms completely spoiling 168 passengers. Grammy-nominated multiinstrumentalist Barbara Higbie is slated to perform, along with top lesbian comic Jennie McNulty. Fares from $3,599 for a deluxe stateroom with small windows above the waterline, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Sept. 27 - Oct. 4, 2022
Frankfurt to Prague Christmas Market Riverboat Cruise
Just a few berths left for this festive five-night adventure aboard Avalon Waterways’ Imagery II with two nights in Prague. Bundle up for a third season of sleigh bells, glistening lights, pristine snow, mulled wine and music, with a Main River adventure from Frankfurt to Mainz, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg and Prague. Limited fares from $3,299 for a deluxe stateroom with small windows above the waterline, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Dec. 2 - 10, 2022
Costa Rica & Panama Canal Luxury Cruise
Small-ship cruising at its finest awaits 148 LGBTQ women on this Costa Rica and Panama cruise. Set sail for seven nights on the luxurious Wind Star, a four-mast sailing ship that feels just like a private yacht – nimble enough to nestle into secluded coves. Ports include Puerto Caldera, Quepos and Puerto Jimenez in Costa Rica; and Isla Parida, Fuerte Amador, the Panama Canal and Colon in Panama. Find limited fares from $4,199 for an oceanview stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Jan. 14 - 21, 2023
50th Anniversary Caribbean Cruise
Olivia’s Golden Anniversary celebration sold out so quickly, this second cruise was added, aboard Holland America’s elegant Nieuw Amsterdam, complete with its 1:2 crew-to-guest ratio, wraparound teak decks and private verandas. Leaving from Fort Lauderdale, the cruise makes beach stops in Turks and Caicos, St. Thomas/St. John, Puerto Rico and the private island Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. All-star entertainers include the legendary singer-songwriter Cris Williamson, plus comedians and DJs. Limited fares from $2,899 for a veranda stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Feb. 26 - Mar. 5, 2023
Brussels to Amsterdam Riverboat Cruise
Windmills and waterways, tulips and heritage treasures – this Brussels to Amsterdam Riverboat Cruise brings Dutch and Belgian legacies to life. Seven nights on Avalon Waterways’ Artistry II take LGBTQ women from Brussels to Ghent, Middelburg, Kinderdijk and Haarlem before landing on the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam. The colorful spring landscapes are stunning and the chocolate is, of course, amazing. Limited fares from $3,699 for a deluxe stateroom with small windows above the waterline, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Apr. 2 - 9, 2023
Amsterdam to Switzerland Riverboat Cruise
This seven-night cruise down the Rhine River covers The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, delivering the local cultures of Amsterdam, Cologne, Rhine Gorge, Rudesheim, Mainz, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Breisach and Basel. The panoramic suites of the Avalon Expression give you ringside seats to view castles, gardens and medieval city skylines. The pastries, cheese and chocolate will be beyond heavenly. Limited fares from $3,689 for a deluxe stateroom with small windows above the waterline, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Apr. 11 - 18, 2023
VACAYA All-LGBTQ Cruises is celebrating its 5th Birthday with a Caribbean Cruise roundtrip from friendly Fort Lauderdale. This exotic seven-night adventure is their biggest cruise yet, sending 3,000 guests to four countries: Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Cayman Islands. The added bonus is the Celebrity Reflection, a tier higher on the luxury scale than previous sailings. Along with lounges, solariums, gardens, pools and a basketball court, passengers can also enjoy the clothing-optional sun deck. Don’t forget the sunscreen! Fares from $3,394 for a deluxe ocean view suite with veranda, based on double occupancy.
Dates: February 12 - 19, 2023
Central America Cruise
This 10-night luxury Central and South America cruise begins in gay-friendly Puerto Caldera on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, a country rich in lush rainforests and sun-drenched beaches. The route includes a few stops on the coastline before heading through the Panama Canal to the Atlantic Ocean and on down to Cartagena, Colombia, concluding in Colon, back in Panama. Ponant’s Le Bellot five-star luxury liner sets the stage for pontoon-boat excursions and marine adventure – nimble enough to get right to the heart of each destination. The ship is noted for its underwater Blue Eye lounge, which brings you the sights and sounds of the sea. Limited fares from $6,497 for a spacious Prestige veranda stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Dates: March 7 - 17, 2023
Imagine embarking on a seven-night luxury Venice Cruise, criss-crossing the Adriatic Sea aboard Ponant’s 264-passenger Le Lyrial superyacht. The journey starts in “La Serenissima,” the most storied and beautiful of European cities, its canals and bridges a romantic interlude of epic proportions. From there, the round trip heads into the Adriatic to Dubrovnik and Hvar, Croatia, and to Kotor, Montenegro, before sailing over to Bari and Ravenna, Italy, and back to Venice. Stop after stop of full-on Romanesque and Renaissance architecture – and terrific food. Fares from $5,697 for a deluxe stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Aug. 13 - 20, 2023
Fifteen nights, two incredible destinations, one amazing Polynesia Cruise. VACAYA spoils the LGBTQ crowd with both Hawaii and French Polynesia, showcasing the best the Pacific Ocean has to offer. On Oahu, Hawaii (the Big Island) and Kauai, 264 guests explore the emerald valleys and volcanic hiking trails, Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. After a few days at sea, Bora Bora stuns in full tropical flair for three nights, followed by one each in Taha’a, Moorea and the big island of Tahiti. All-inclusive luxury comes in the form of Ponant’s tranquil Le Boreal, replete with its hammam spa, heated pool and panoramic lounge. Fares from $6,997 for a superior stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Oct. 12 - 27, 2023
Vietnam and Cambodia Mekong River Cruise
This 12-night Vietnam and Cambodia Mekong River Cruise illuminates two very different cultures linked by one very famous river. Ensconced in one of 34 custom-designed suites aboard the Mekong Jewel, LGBTQ guests cruise from Cambodia’s Siem Reap to the capital of Phnom Penh, and on to Vietnam’s Long Khanh Island, Cu Lao Gieng, Sa Dec and Ho Chi Minh City. The journey includes a three-night stay in Siem Reap with a visit to UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat and a two-night stay in Ho Chi Minh City. Fares from $5,499 for an upper deck balcony suite.
Dates: Oct. 13 - 25, 2022 and Sept. 21 - Oct. 3, 2023
European Christmas Markets River Cruise
Aboard the all-inclusive Amadeus Star, 164 guests get into the festive spirit with this European Christmas Markets River Cruise down the iconic Danube River. Vienna starts things off with a concert and a visit to Schonbrunn Palace. The journey then carries on to the abbeys and cathedrals of Melk and Passau (with an option to pop over to Salzburg for the day), takes in the market at Thurn and the Taxis Castle of Regensburg, and finishes at the world-famous Nuremberg Christmas Market. Fares from $3,499 for a 172-square-foot cabin, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Dec. 4 - 10, 2022
Paris, Normandy and the Seine River
Indulge your passion for history, wine, food and art with a seven-night Seine River cruise on 146-passenger Amadeus Diamond. The cruise starts and ends in Paris and takes LGBTQ passengers to the former home of Van Gogh in Conflans, museums and abbeys in Rouen, the Normandy coastline (including the landing beaches) and Giverny, the former home of Claude Monet. Fares for this cruise start at $4,099 per person, based on double occupancy.
Dates: May 24 - 31, 2023
Scotland’s Royal Majesty Cruise and Exploration
Discover how royal connections informed Scottish history with this six-night luxury cruise from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness on the Lord of the Glens. Guests visit the islands of Eigg, Iona and Skye, plus the towns of Tobermory, Fort William and Laggan – yes, Loch Ness is also on the list. The itinerary includes three nights in Edinburgh, offering tours of Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, plus a farewell dinner aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. Limited fares from $9,499 for a luxury suite, based on double occupancy.
Dates: June 3 - 15, 2023
Brussels, Moselle and Rhine Rivers Cruise
Starting with two pre-cruise nights in Brussels and ending with a bang at Amsterdam Pride, this Brussels, Moselle and Rhine Rivers Cruise all-LGBTQ charter on board the Amadeus Queen is a whirlwind of historic and cultural discovery. The trail heads to Trier and Bernkastel, Cochem and Coblenz, before stopping in Bonn, Colonge and Dusseldorf. Fares from $3,999, based on double occupancy.
Dates: July 28 - Aug. 6, 2023
Prague and Danube River Cruise
Revel in all the Old World beauty the Danube River has to offer. The 168 LGBTQ passengers on the Amadeus Silver III will begin their Prague and Danube River Cruise with a two-night hotel stay in Prague. The seven-night cruise will then depart from Passau toward Budapest, for its adventure through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, revealing historic sites and riverside charm – not to mention world-class wine. Fares from $3,999, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Aug. 12 - 21, 2023
Adriatic Sea Cruise
Forty LGBTQ “OUTbounders” take over the new, state-of-the-art superyacht MS Oscar over Labor Day week for an Adriatic Sea Cruise. Surrender to the stunning landscapes and beaches of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, drinking in medieval architecture, shoreline vineyards and sublime sunsets. Explore cosmopolitan Dubrovnik as well as the dramatic limestone cliffs of the islands of Hvar and Korcula.Add in a little bit of cinema tourism perhaps, with a wander through the streets of King’s Landing from Game of Thrones. Limited fares from $3,597 for main deck cabins, based on double occupancy.
Dates: Sept. 3 - 10, 2022
Christmas Market River Cruise
Embrace all the traditions of the European holiday season with an LGBTQ Christmas cruise to the famous markets of France, Germany and Switzerland. One hundred seven guests aboard the intimate Douce France get into the Christmas spirit in Basel, Colmar, Baden-Baden, Heidelberg, Speyer and Strasbourg. This is an all-inclusive storybook adventure waiting for you under the mistletoe – pucker up! Limited fares from $3,197 for a main deck stateroom.
Dates: Dec. 11 - 18, 2022
Updated January 31, 2020