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Geo Vanna Gonzalez and Najja Moon enjoy a trip to the Retreat Sundeck pool on Celebrity Edge. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)
Geo Vanna Gonzalez and Najja Moon enjoy a trip to the Retreat Sundeck pool on Celebrity Edge. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)

Olivia Cruises: All You Need to Know About Lesbian Cruises

Geo Vanna Gonzalez and Najja Moon enjoy a trip to the Retreat Sundeck pool on Celebrity Edge. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)
Geo Vanna Gonzalez and Najja Moon enjoy a trip to the Retreat Sundeck pool on Celebrity Edge. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)
Contributor
Ryn Pfeuffer

Last updated
Jul 2, 2024

Read time
5 min read

Olivia Cruises has been redefining travel for lesbians and queer women worldwide since 1990, offering fun-filled, all-female vacations that celebrate inclusivity.

With a legacy spanning more than 300 trips and over 350,000 women, Olivia is renowned for creating safe and lively lesbian cruises where LGBTQ+ travelers can be themselves, honestly and freely alongside like-minded women from around the globe. In many instances, these interactions at sea form lifelong friendships on land.

Whether sailing the seas or exploring far-flung destinations, Olivia Cruises combines a high-end cruise experience with a deep commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.

What Is Olivia Cruises?

A bi-racial lesbian couple smiling and hugging on a cruise ship deck
Couple on Olivia Travel cruise (Photo: Olivia)

Olivia Cruises is a travel company specializing in lesbian cruise vacations and resort experiences. Founded in 1990, Olivia has become a leader in LGBTQ+ travel, offering a wide range of trips worldwide that provide inclusive and welcoming environments for their guests.

Olivia Cruises aims to create fun, empowering and socially-engaged travel experiences, catering to lesbian and queer women who want to see the world in an affirming atmosphere. Their trips are packed with activities and entertainment tailored toward the likes and interests of their clientele.

Olivia Records to Olivia Cruises: The Road from Records to Trips

Nieuw Statendam (Photo: Holland America Line)
Nieuw Statendam (Photo: Holland America Line)

Olivia Travel traces its roots back to Olivia Records, a radical lesbian record label founded by Judy Dlugacz in 1973 in Washington, D.C. As the first and largest independent record company specializing in women artists, Olivia Records became a revered cultural and musical force within the LGBTQ+ community. It released over 40 albums that served as anthems for lesbian and feminist movements.

In 1990, Olivia shifted gears and launched its first-ever all-woman cruise, expanding its mission to foster lesbian celebration and community. And thus, Olivia Cruises was born. This marked a pivotal moment in travel history, focusing on organizing cruises and vacation packages exclusively for lesbian and queer women.

Since then, Olivia Travel has grown into the world's largest provider of cruise and resort vacations for lesbian travelers. You may remember, in 2004, the premiere of the lesbian TV series The L Word took place on an Olivia cruise, marking a significant milestone in pop culture.

Olivia Cruises now prepares for its 35th anniversary in 2025 with the Coral Jubilee Caribbean Cruise (March 29-April 5, 2025), which will be aboard Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam. After 35 years, its mission remains very much about creating safe and memorable travel experiences that celebrate LGBTQ+ women.

Where Does Olivia Cruises Go?

Olivia Cruises goes to Alaska, the Caribbean, the Greek Isles, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Scotland, Ireland and Tahiti.

What to Expect on an Olivia Cruise

Couple Cruising in Shanghai City, China (Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock)
Couple Cruising in Shanghai City, China (Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock)

If you're thinking about an Olivia Cruise, it's all lesbian and queer women's fun all the time. Think '70s-themed dance nights and stellar entertainment featuring artists like Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Wanda Sykes and Lily Tomlin.

Picture yourself playing steel drums or ballroom dancing alongside memoir and erotic writing workshops and lively poetry readings. There are also discussions on lesbian sexual health and personalized advice from sex therapists and life coaches. Top it off with heartfelt commitment ceremonies with a pro photographer to capture every moment.

And don't miss out on the poolside parties with lesbian DJs (Ruby Rose has been behind the DJ deck), karaoke and a spectacular Formal Night.

Accommodations range from value to luxury, with early sign-up discounts and interest-free payment plans to make it more accessible. Cruise itineraries span multiple ports, allowing travelers to experience diverse cultures and excursions at each stop. Spa, fitness and dining options vary depending on the ship.

The rate for an Olivia lesbian cruise includes everything: accommodations, gourmet meals, 24-hour room service, and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks. You'll also enjoy welcome cocktails, unlimited access to the fitness center, and a range of water sports equipment. Olivia's signature entertainment and programming are highlights of the experience.

What to Expect from Fellow Passengers and Team Olivia

Young couple on beach (Photo: mavo/Shutterstock)
Young couple on beach (Photo: mavo/Shutterstock)

Olivia's cruises primarily attract cis lesbian and queer women couples, often over 50, while embracing non-binary and trans guests. (Olivia Travel's resort trips tend to attract a younger crowd.) Beyond couples, you'll encounter friends, chosen families and mothers supporting daughters -- and vice versa.

Team Olivia is onboard to provide any assistance you need. Here are a few ways Olivia Cruises ensures every guest on their lesbian cruises feels welcome:

Solo Travelers

Olivia's Solos Program is designed with inclusivity and connections in mind. Whether you choose to share a room or have your own space, you can mingle on their Facebook group and join in dances, mixers, sunset cruises and nightly shows. It's the perfect opportunity to make new friends -- and ease any nerves around traveling solo.

Women of Color and Friends

Whether you're on a lesbian cruise or at one of their resorts, Olivia Cruises' Sisters Coordinators ensure a welcoming space where women of color and their friends can come together, share stories and enjoy talent shows, spoken word performances, dance parties, group lunches and more.

Gen-O and Friends

With hundreds, sometimes over a thousand lesbians and LGBTQ+ women onboard, connecting with peers in your age group can be tricky. That's why Olivia Cruises has created a dedicated space exclusively for guests aged 40 and under. Whether it's pool games, pre-dinner cocktails or karaoke nights, younger Olivians are guaranteed a lot of fun.

Women in Uniform

Olivia Cruises honors lesbian and LGBTQ+ women who serve or have served in the armed forces. Join their Women in Uniform meetups to share stories with partners and friends. Plus, active or retired military personnel receive a discount as a token of gratitude. (Proof of service may be required; discount cannot be combined with other offers.)

OWLs

OWLs (Older, Wiser Lesbians) are cherished members of Olivia's community. Whether you're a longtime member or a first-timer, join the Olivia lesbian cruise family and connect with OWLs. Enjoy special meetups at cruises and resorts to share stories and make friends. Everyone is welcome, especially those supporting or traveling with an OWL, even though meetups cater to women 60 and over.

Specific Needs

Olivia Cruises is dedicated to providing accessible vacations for guests with disabilities and specific needs. Specific Needs Coordinators assist with medical, mobility and/or dietary needs, and ASL Interpreters are available at nightly shows. There's also a dedicated space for 12-step program meetings. However, guests needing daily assistance must travel with a companion.


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