If you’re heading out on a gay cruise, you may be wondering what sorts of activities are likely to come up and what you should expect. Knowing what’s coming lets you ensure you have all the gear you need, and helps you be in the right headspace – so, what sort of things happen on gay cruise ships? There’s a lot of overlap with regular cruise ships, but it’s still worth knowing what to expect.
First up, a whole lot of parties! Gay cruises are known for having an intense party atmosphere, and you won’t be disappointed if you’re setting out and expecting a whole lot of fun. You will also enjoy opportunities to lounge by the pool, play pickleball, check out a starlit movie, sample some high-end cocktails, shop, and head to a spa.
The activities on offer will depend on the cruise you pick so do check out their options in advance, but let’s plunge into some of the most common cruise activities you’ll see and get to enjoy while you’re on board on your dream holiday.
1) Parties Galore
Parties are very often the name of the game on gay cruises: people come here when they want to dance, get drunk, and make new acquaintances, and a party is one of the ultimate ways to do this. Parties are likely to be in abundance on any cruise you select, no matter what company you sail with, so make sure you’re prepared for this.
Make sure you have the clothes you’ll need for partying, because this is such a staple of the gay cruise. Choose a variety of different outfits, so you’ll have something comfy for any occasion, whether it’s high-end and classy or wild and exciting.
We’d also thoroughly recommend making sure you’ve got some comfy shoes, and that you spend some time thinking about what you want from the parties and how to convey that. If you’re looking to meet people and make new friends, know that before you go in. Some gay cruises actually provide lanyards to let guests communicate their needs with each other, which we think is a really smart idea.
Bring some feather boas and unpack your extroverted side, because there are a whole lot of people to meet. Don’t worry, though; gay cruises are famous for being friendly, warm, accepting places – both in terms of the passengers and the crews. Of course, we do recommend reading reviews in advance, but in general, you’ll find the atmosphere very accepting.
2) Lounging By The Pool
The pool is the place to be when you’re not partying, and cruise ships generally have amazing pools to enjoy. You can meet some incredible people in the much more chill atmosphere here, and it’s blissful to kick back and relax, knowing that nothing else really needs doing.
So, lie back on a lounger and make some new friends while sipping on a cool beverage. Don’t forget some swimwear when you’re packing; we would recommend having more than one pair so you’ve got time to wash and dry them – especially if you’re a keen swimmer and you’re likely to spend a lot of time by the pool.
The great thing about this activity is that you can do it whenever you fancy. Early morning, after lunch, or even in the evening and at night, there’s no time that isn’t good for pool lounging and casual conversation.
3) Play Pickleball
Even if you’re not a fan of sport in general, you can totally fall for pickleball, which is a fun blend of ping-pong, tennis, and badminton, and is played on cruise ships all over the world. You don’t need to worry about packing gear, either – if this sport is on offer, you’ll find everything you need ready and waiting for you.
Pickleball can be played with anybody, so if you’re traveling with friends, crack out the ball, and if you’re not, make a few new buddies while you play a few rounds. It’s enormously entertaining and should absolutely be on your list of things to enjoy while you’re on the cruise. Don’t forget the sunblock, though – you’re going to need that if the weather’s good!
4) Check Out A Starlit Movie
Fancy a sweet and soulful movie under the stars? Many cruises will have evening or nighttime showings of movies, and if you’re on a gay cruise, you might see some really good films. Not every cruise will have this on offer, so check in advance – but gosh, it’s a great activity if it’s available.
Many will also serve drinks and snacks to you on the deck, and there’s nothing like coasting along under a starlit sky and gazing up at the screen as the ocean swirls around you. You’ll have a truly memorable night, especially if you’re able to spend it with a special somebody.
5) Drink Some Cocktails
Alcohol is an absolute must on gay cruises, and many will have specific events that revolve around alcohol, as well as open bars and fancy cocktails. Check out the options in advance, but you may see things like wine tastings and wine classes, allowing you to learn as much as you could ever want to know about the humble grape.
There are also incredible mixology options in many places; learn how to create your own cocktails, or simply sit back and savor the hard work of somebody else. After all, you are here to relax – and a cocktail is a wonderful way to do that.
You might even meet your special someone while you’re doing this, and that’s quite a story to tell. Definitely don’t miss the alcohol options while you’re out at sea – they tend to be amazing!
6) Shop Till You Drop
Again, not every cruise ship will have amazing shopping options, but some do, and they’re so worth checking out. You’ll see some incredible designer fashion and some amazing jewelry on many cruise ships, plus high-end labels for almost everything.
It’s quite extraordinary how much variety cruise ships manage to offer, despite the fact that they are just a ship when you think about it. You won’t get as many options as you would in a city, sure, but there’s enough to tick the boxes for many people – so prepare yourself for some major shopping trips.
It will depend on which cruise ship you choose, but it’s likely that a gay cruise will have some really spectacular shopping options on offer, so make sure you make the most of them.
7) Have A Spa Day
Are you going on a cruise to relax, or what? We would say the answer is very firmly a yes, so why not pamper yourself a little? A spa day is something that everybody can enjoy; it brings together luxury and love, and oh, you’ll feel so good at the end of it.
This activity is popular on all kinds of cruises, but for many LGBTQ+ people, it’s a relief to enjoy it in a space that is warm, welcoming, and accepting. You want to be able to trust that the staff will be friendly, and you will get that when you’re on a gay cruise. We’d totally recommend it!
8) Go To A Show
Want some stars in your eyes? Gay cruises offer shows galore and you will have the chance to witness incredible acts, often centered around Pride and the celebration of the self. Want a drag show? You’re likely to be in luck. Fancy some really breathtaking dancing? No problem!
Shows are abound on gay cruises, and they’re often themed and tailored to the LGBTQ+ community, making this a particularly enjoyable thing to do on a gay cruise. You’ll see a whole range of different options, so you can go to something you know you’ll love, or branch out of your comfort zone and try something new.
One of the best things about doing this on a gay cruise is that in most cases, you can attend the shows completely free – the price is included in the price of your ticket. That means there’s minimal risk if you decide to try something you’re not sure about; if you don’t like the show, all you’ve lost is a bit of time. That’s not a bad deal in our opinion.
And the variety is generally great; you’ll see everything from racy to beautiful, and a whole world in between. You can go to a show every night if you fancy, or just check them out when none of the other cruise ship activities appeal to you. There’s something really special about having a built-in option to go to some of the best shows out there, so definitely take advantage of this while you’re traveling!
Gay cruise ship activities overlap a lot with everyday cruise activities, but they add that special something: the assurance of acceptance. You’ll also see differences in the movies that are chosen, the shows that are on offer, and the party scene that’s out there – and while those may be subtle, they can massively improve your enjoyment of your journey!