Cruising: what’s the point? For us, it’s LGBTQ community

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Why is there such a strong affinity between cruising and LGBTQ travelers?

Of course we love the same things which attract hetero cruisers like wonderful dining experiences. Plus, cruise ships tend to have great bar venues and bartenders — with the added bonus of not having to drive home if you indulge in a few beverages. Cruise lines these days strive to out-do each other in terms of onboard amenities and activities all tastes. You can satisfy your inner child on water slides by day, then enjoy live entertainment in the evening.

Everybody connects at the nightly LGBT Happy Hour in the observation lounge. Photo © Mark den Hartog | MeetMeOnboard

But what we often hear from non-cruising gay friends, is:  “Wait, what’s the point?  Can’t you get most of those things at a hotel or resort?” For us, the point of cruising happens to be the reason we created MeetMeOnBoard. We love forming connections with members of the LGBTQ community we meet onboard.

LGBTQ community friendships formed shipboard over the years

We’ve met fascinating members of the LGBTQ community during our cruise travels. We first met our longtime friends from Toronto on a Med cruise several years ago.  Aboard Azamara Club Cruises we enjoyed delightful conversations with a lesbian couple from Houston, one of whom sells bras on Amazon and the other lives for golf. On yet another cruise we got to know two men,  both retired airline employees, one of whom has a very famous gay brother.

We also having cruising to thank for another gay acquaintance, a wickedly funny hotelier from Dublin. When we cruised the Baltic, we enjoyed cocktails while chatting with a composer/ conductor and his partner. And yes, we’ve even met some interest “straight but not narrow” folks, like the two retired teachers from Texas. On this summer’s Azamara voyage, we met a couple of New Zealanders whose two grandchildren are both transitioning at the same time — the grandparents beamed at being pronounced “appropriate” to join our cocktail gathering.

Norwegian Bliss Mexican Riviera cruise

Our first MMOB gay group cruise on Norwegian Bliss recently also brought us a boatload of wonderful new “sea friends.”  We were fortunate to have several lesbian couples among our group, including one couple from the UK! Aboard Bliss, our gay group’s age ranged from those newly out millennials to a senior citizen who shared his personal story both beautiful and heartbreaking.

Our group boarded a luxury sailboat in Cabo for some snorkeling and swimming in the clear blue water of the Pacific. Another highlight was a marvelous beach party featuring complimentary lunch and cocktails at the stylish and fabulous LGBT Mantamar Beach Resort in Puerto Vallarta.

A private sailboat experience in Cabo San Lucas. Photo © Mark den Hartog | MeetMeOnBoard

Our group enjoyed a private excursion to the LGBT Mantamar Beach Resort in Puerto Vallarta. Photo ©Mark den Hartog | MeetMeOnBoard

Together, our group critiqued the stage shows, compared notes on specialty dining, and traded stories of cruises from the past. Many drove race cars and plummeted down the water slides. I’m sure all of us ate far too much and had our share of cocktails.

So besides the obvious food, service and travel experiences that cruising can offer, we LGBTQ cruisers are lucky. It’s nearly impossible not to find our tribe at sea.

So consider joining us on one of our next group cruises, one of which includes Havana, Cuba!

Photo © Mark den Hartog | MeetMeOnBoard