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. 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 Cruises, Holland America Line, 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 upcoming cruises are varied and exciting, with itineraries to French Polynesia, South America, the Galapagos and even Antarctica -- plus a host of European river cruises.
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 anniversary in July 2023 with a Caribbean cruise.
Note: Partial ship 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.
Italy, France and Ibiza Cruise
Branded as Europe's biggest all-gay cruise, this cruise hits some of the most iconic ports of the Mediterranean and sails roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy aboard Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas.
This amazing adventure calls on Naples, Ibiza, Marseille and Villefranche (for Monte Carlo), to name just a few of the hot, must-see destinations packed into this Atlantis cruise.
Dates: August 28 - September 6, 2023
Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles
Fun in the sun is close at hand with this fantastic adventure aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.
Sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles (San Pedro), Navigator of the Seas calls on the popular Mexican ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Fares start at a very reasonable $899 per person, with suites starting at just $1,899 per person.
Dates: October 23-30, 2023
Singapore to Bangkok Cruise
Sailing with 2,100 other guys, travel from Singapore to Bangkok via some of the most interesting ports of call in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia -- all in one 9-night journey.
Fares start at just $999 per person, though some categories are already selling out!
Dates: November 11-20, 2023
Oasis Caribbean Cruise
This is the big one! Miami sets the tone for the massive Oasis Caribbean Cruise, hosting the largest gay cruise in the world.
This 5,200-strong cruise travels south to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and back over seven nights aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. The itinerary also takes in a stop at Nassau, Bahamas, before calling at Royal Caribbean’s private island destinations at CocoCay, Bahamas, and Labadee, Haiti.
Two days at sea will leave plenty of time for parties, concerts, and shows skewed to the international crowd. Fares start at $1,199 for an interior cabin, based on double occupancy.
Dates: January 21 - 28, 2024
Virgin Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise
It's a perfect match thanks to the LGBTQ-friendly line's cool style and diverse entertainment and shipboard experiences that are only complemented by the incredible ports of call on this voyage that sails roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
St. Kitts, Martinique, Aruba, and Curacao offer plenty of fun in the sun -- and plenty of time to kick back and party, aboard or on-shore. Pricing starts at $1,099 per person on this nearly sold out voyage, so book soon!
Dates: March 16 - 23, 2024
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
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
European Christmas River Cruise
The bad news? It's already long sold-out -- but it still may be possible to get on a waitlist for this amazing sailing through Europe at its most beautiful: during the magical, winter wonderland of the festive European Christmas Markets.
Dates: December 2-9, 2023
European Christmas Market River Cruise
Setting sail aboard Transcend's Advance (the former luxury Crystal Mahler river cruise ship), this festive Holiday cruise runs from December 9-16 and travels from Amsterdam to Nuremberg, Germany.
It's still available for booking at the time of this writing, too -- and can be added on to the above sailing for guests already sailing from Basel to Amsterdam.
Dates: December 9-16, 2023
Vacaya's Big Ship Caribbean Cruise
Vacaya's only forthcoming big-ship cruise, this sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale aboard Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Apex promises plenty of fun in the sun, with port calls in Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and sun-splashed Antigua.
Dates: February 17-24, 2024
South America Cruise
This exciting journey departs Buenos Aires, Argentina and ends in stunning gay-friendly Rio after a journey through the heart of Brazil, including stops in Itajaí, Paraty, Ilhabela, and Buzios.
Dates: March 29 - April 6, 2024
The Galapagos with Vacaya
Almost untouched by time, the Galapagos is one of the world's most incredible destinations -- and one that can only truly be discovered by ship.
Dates: May 9-18, 2024
Antarctica Expedition Cruise with Vacaya
Antarctica is one of the most spiritual places on earth. Penguins frolick in the snow, and mountains of ice and rock rise high above the ethereal seas that stretch for miles in every direction.
A cruise to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, filled with adventurous hikes ashore, idylic wildlife spotting, fun zodiac rides, and dramatic vistas from every turn.
Dates: December 5-16, 2024
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, 202