On the night before your cruise, will you end up in bed with your host(s)? That’s between you and them. In my experience, not likely.
The fact that the possibility exists reveals something about the special experience of staying in a MisterB&B, (aka the “gay Airbnb,”*). Luckily for us gay cruisers, you can easily find MisterB&B hosts in many port cities around the world.
By gays for gays
While their website has only cursory mention of the LGBTQ+ community, in reality MisterB&B is specifically targeted to gay men. I have seen some “gay friendly” listings on MisterB&B, but for me that’s not what the experience is about. After all, I can easily find LGBT-friendly lodging on Airbnb or in a hotel or resort. Frankly, the more mainstreamed we gays become, the more I long for the old days when more resorts, hotels, and bars catered specifically to gays. Much like an all-gay cruise, MisterB&B keeps alive the concept of a travel experience by-gays-for-gays.
During recent travels in Europe, I stayed with a gay couple who host a MisterB&B in the major cruise port Barcelona. I also stayed with a single MisterB&B host in the river cruise port of Berlin. In both cases, I had booked a “private room,” meaning I actually stayed with the host, in the host’s home.
Both homes were inner-city apartments, situated in highly desirable areas that drip with history. In Berlin, the apartment felt almost like rooms in a palace gentrified by modern gay taste, featuring impeccable yet comfortable design choices. We shared the bathroom with our host. In Barcelona, the apartment design was more pedestrian, yet still welcoming, and included a private toilet and sink (shower was shared with the hosts, although not together!).
Europeans tend to have excellent bathroom sharing skills, so I didn’t mind the setups at all. In fact, because the hosts were gay, I felt more at-home and at-ease than I’ve ever felt when staying with straight folks. While I’m generally modest, I didn’t care if the host saw me go by in my underwear or towel, where I would never do that in a straight-owned property.
The magic of gay community
And that’s the magic of the MisterB&B experience: everyone is gay (assuming you ignore the few gay-friendly listings). We are part of the same community. I live in Hawaii, but I share much in common with gay men all over the world. In Barcelona, the hosts and I stayed up into the wee hours discussing global politics, culture, and more. In Berlin, the host and I shared several meals and have become ongoing friends. Connecting with other gay men when I travel is something I cherish, whether on a cruise ship or by staying in their homes. Each interaction provides an entry point into the global community of gay men.
I love that I can ask a MisterB&B host about the local gay scene, including things that a straight BnB host would have no idea about—think bar and club culture, gay-popular eateries, and even bath houses (called saunas in Europe). My conversations with gay hosts feel easy and natural, despite some issues of spoken language, I find there is a “cultural language” spoken by most gay men around the world. When I stay with gay men, I don’t have to make up an excuse for why I came in at 3:00am. Whatever the reason, they just get it. They might tease me a little, but that’s half the fun.
Weigh the advantages
Since all of us already know that it’s crucial to arrive in your departure cruise port at least one night before the sailing date. Many of us choose to add a few nights after the cruise—whether in the port or doing land travel in the region—I highly recommend giving the MisterB&B gay lodging experience a chance. For me, it’s a new fave travel option.
- Pros: gay hosts, common cultural language. Easy conversation. No worries about homophobia. Nice places.
- Cons: fewer choices in some cities. The MisterB&B app and website are unfortunately clunky and can be frustrating–not the most user-friendly for either guests or hosts but hopefully improving.
- Making the most of it: if you opt for a “private room” in a gay host’s home, rather than a “whole house” or “whole apartment” that just happens to be owned by gay people, you have the chance to spend some quality time with gay locals. If the gay host isn’t around—at least nearby—I can’t see any advantage other than keeping our money in our community.
*MisterB&B is not affiliated with Airbnb.
Disclaimer: The author is an Airbnb and MisterB&B host in Hawaii. He paid for his own MisterB&B experiences. MisterB&B was unaware of this story being written and is not currently affiliated with MeetMeOnBoard in any way.