Best Cruise Experiences of 2018


As year-end approaches we’ve been thinking about what our personal best cruise experiences were in the year 2018. We’d like to share our thoughts with our membership of LGBTQ cruise lovers here at MeetMeOnBoard.

Azamara Club Cruises raises the pride flag on an overnight in Amsterdam | Photo ©MeetMeOnboard | Mark den Hartog

Raising the Pride Flag on Azamara Journey

On an overnight in Amsterdam last June, Azamara Journey raised the pride flag to celebrate pride month and show their support to the LGBTQ community.

It was surprisingly moving to see our colors flutter in the North Sea breeze. Even more so was the reaction of passengers, happy to be sailing on a line that they could see was inclusive for their children or grandchildren.

If you would like to experience Azamara Journey, be sure to check out our group cruise to Cuba and the Western Caribbean in March of 2019.  Cuba is a place we think should be high on the list of LGBTQ cruisers.

Nightly happy hour on board Norwegian Bliss got very festive with a large number of LGBT passengers | ©MeetMeOnboard | Mark den Hartog

MeetMeOnboard’s Inaugural gay group cruise on Norwegian Bliss

We had a terrific time in October with a great group of MMOB sailors on our first LGBT group cruise on the fabulous new Norwegian Bliss. The 8-night cruise to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles was calm seas all the way, despite a port change in order to outrun hurricane Sergio!

Included in the cruise was an excursion of several hours to the lovely gay Mantamar Beach Resort. This stylish property in the heart of the gay section of Puerto Vallarta was the perfect setting.  We played in the surf, got some sun, and enjoyed cocktails in the pool.

One fine memory of the cruise were Norwegian’s LGBTQ daily Happy Hour gatherings in the Observation Lounge bar. Nearly 100 people were in attendance on most nights and the bar staff seemed to enjoy having us with them as much as we enjoyed being there. Norwegian’s LGBTQ happy hours continue to rank high with our community.

Left to right: Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise, LTD, Malala Yousafza, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO Celebrity Cruises | Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Naming Ceremony of Celebrity EDGE

Finally, we’re just off a whirlwind two-day cruise on the new Celebrity EDGE where we were privileged to be invited to an inaugural cruise and the naming ceremony.

Two highlights of our time on EDGE:  The astounding area at the stern of the ship called Eden. An interesting art installation entitled “Avalon” prepares cruisers for the entrance, where we were greeted with greenery simulating something like a jungle landscape. The offerings in the space vary, with performance art in the evenings and numerous nooks and crannies to retreat to and talk over a cocktail. We’ve never seen anything like this on any other ship.

Also memorable was the naming ceremony featuring EDGE godmother Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel prize winner who advocates for the education of girls all over the world. Malala’s speech was inspiring and Celebrity did the event right with a packed theater and a simulcast throughout the ship.

EDGE is certainly a ship that you’ll want to experience. Luckily we’re booked for a MMOB group cruise aboard EDGE in February, 2020.

In our cruise travels we’ve seen places we never dreamed of visiting. We’ve sailed to unbelievably beautiful destinations. We’ve seen art and architecture that is in some cases thousands of years old and still magnificent. But what stays with us from all our cruising experiences? The wonderful LGBTQ people we’ve met on board through the years.

All or part of our writer(s) travel may have been provided by various suppliers for the purposes of reviewing and writing about them for  Read disclosure policy here.