GRAYGAY TRAVEL CRUISING GUIDE
TRAVEL PROMOTION

For an overview of gay travel and essential advice for getting the best deals, start at the Travel Deals and Advice.

While gay travel and gay travel agents have sprung up everywhere - few seem to have much to offer older men. However we have created extensive calendars of Events for older men and admirers.

Crusing (on ships!) is an increasingls popular option for many people but there are many options to choose from to get the perfect trip for you, so read our Guide to Gay Cruising and then the Gay Cruise Calendar.

We provide information on the best ways to get Discounts on Flights and Accomodation and a roundup of Gay Travel Guides and Maps.

We have listed the specialst Gay Travel and Cruise Companies but many of the mainstream travel sites also have a gay-orientated travel section and we have reviewed these for their gay content.

Would you like to go to all of the places you've ever dreamed of, make new friends, have a unique holiday and save money at the same time?

Gay home exchange enables you to enjoy the comforts of staying in a private home when travelling. Find out how your home holds the key to staying for free.

Home Around the World is a gay owned and run home swap, guest and host service. Our worldwide members discover imaginative, and unique solutions to create the perfect holiday.

GrayGay Cruising Guide

What could be more relaxing than arriving at an exotic new port each day, enjoying gourmet meals, taking part in unlimited shipboard activities and being rocked to sleep at night by gentle Caribbean or Mediterranean waves? But before you book that luxury cruise trip, it helps to know what your options are to ensure you travel with compatible people - do you go All Gay on a Large Ship or on a niche Small Ship. Or decide between joining a Gay Group or going independently on a Mainstream Cruise.

GO ALL GAY CRUISING
The reasons why many gays and lesbians opt for all-gay charters include the ability to hold a lovers hand or kiss openly. For the duration of the voyage you don't have to feel concerned about the views that some other people in society may have. An all-gay cruise gives many gay men and lesbians an opportunity to feel totally comfortable about themselves, their peers and their companions – especially those that live in less tolerant locations at home.

These gay charters focus on the most-popular itineraries such as the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera and the Mediterranean, routes that may not be as appealing to experienced cruisers. But because of the limited number of sailings, you are advised to book at least 6 months in advance. The gay charter companies build in many "extras" into their cruises, such as special gay-themed parties, entertainers -- and gay-themed shore excursions -- they generally cost 20-40 percent more than the same mainstream itinerary. Many passengers have no problem paying this premium because they love the packed schedule of special activities such as parties, dating games, gay comedians, financial seminars etc.

However, an all-gay cruise is NOT a "floating bathhouse." At times, certain areas of the ship do tend to become "cruising areas," so to speak, but that's the same kind of thing you would find in any city or at any gay bar. When you think about it, a cruise ship really is a floating city. If you want to avoid these areas, you certainly can; if you are looking for that kind of activity, it is discreetly there and available.

If you are going on a gay cruise as a monogamous couple, simply looking for a great vacation in a comfortable environment -- where you could be affectionate with each other in public areas - this kind of a cruise definitely provides that.

Not everyone on these ships is the buff circuit-boy type like you see in some of the brochures. There are lots of ordinary, everyday people -- from different age groups, with different builds, and from different countries. You'll usually find a nice mix of gay and lesbian couples, singles and groups of friends traveling together. The all-gay charter companies report that the average age of their passengers is in the late 30s to 40s (on mainstream cruises the average age is around 55) and guests come from all over the world

The two big players in the gay male all-ship charters (generally less than 10 percent on board these ship are women) are RSVP Vacations and Atlantis Events. RSVP is now owned by Atlantis but the two brands are aimed at slightly different clientele. RSVP is aimed at a more relaxed older crowd whereas Atlantis is for a more party orientated younger crowd  - although you can find people of all ages on both cruises. They charter some of the best and newest ships (such as the Celebrity Millenium and Holland America's Westerdam), expanding their sailings and opening long waiting lists for those who don't book early.

RSVP also cruises to popular destinations, and it has expanded into Tahiti land vacations and European riverboat cruises as well as small luxury sailing ships that each host fewer than 220 passengers and ply the waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

As well as popular Caribbean and Mexican Riviera sailings, Atlantis also offers Barcelona, Italy and Greek Isles cruise in August each year on a 2,000-passenger Royal Caribbean ship and has included cruises from New Zeland to Australia.

Both companies hire A-list onboard entertainment and boast experienced, friendly onboard staff members that goes out of their way to make sure everyone is mingling well. Proof of this is that over 90 percent of passengers book another all-gay cruise with the same company.

ALL-GAY SMALL CRUISES
Two niche players in the all-gay cruise company market are: Romance Voyages, which charters upscale small ships for Galapagos Island and European river adventures, and Journeys by Sea, which charters private yachts (two to eight guests only) for intimate, week-long sailings in the Caribbean.

GAY GROUPS ON MAINSTREAM CRUISES
Between choosing an all-gay charter and just signing up a mainstream cruise is the option of joining a gay group, organized by travel agencies or companies. You'll be traveling on a regularly scheduled cruise with a group of other gay men (and lesbians), often with a "host" on board, and you'll have special group amenities such as private dinner rooms, cocktail parties and shore excursions.

The two biggest organizers of gay groups on board mainstream cruises are Ocean Voyager Cruise Consultants and Pied Piper Travel. Known for its upmarket gay groups, Ocean Voyager Cruise Consultants organizes several groups on Celebrity, Holland America, and Norweigan cruise lines. Pied Piper Travel organizes gay groups on board Cunard's new Queen Mary 2, Princess and Celebrity cruise lines.

Two other tour companies that organize similar gay groups are: Above and Beyond Tours and Aquafest. Likewise, luxury gay tour operator David Tours books cabins aboard premium cruise lines such as Radisson Seven Seas or Silverseas. David arranges special amenities and dinner for his upscale gay clients (and their friends).

The big benefit of joining one of these groups is the promise of gay bonding, if you'd like it, as well as the ability to just meld into the larger group of passengers and be anonymous, so to speak. Prices are generally comparable to regular rates -- less than the all-gay charters. Gay and lesbian travelers who aren't ready for the full-on gay experience (which can be overwhelming) on an all-gay charter may find that joining one of these groups is a fine introduction to the gay cruising lifestyle.

MAINSTREAM CRUISING
Nearly all of the mainstream cruise companies want to attract gay customers, although some are more gay friendly than others. Especially cruisers who want to go somewhere different, or to have a more exclusive experience without being part of a floating gay ghetto.

Many mainstream cruise companies now include “Friends of Dorothy”* gay social meetings on their itineraries for their gay customers. The term FOD now appears on some ships' daily programs - but by not all and there's no guarantee you'll see one when you step onboard. Cruise directors can decide to add or withdraw the meetings at any time, at their discretion.

The larger lines such as Norwegian, Carnival and Princess will include FOD meetings on most of their ships. The second group generally holds the FOD gatherings upon passenger request; large popular lines like Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean generally fall into this category. You won’t find them on the ultra-premium luxury lines like Crystal, Cunard (QM2 excepting), Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Sea Dream, Silversea, Yachts of Seabourn, and that, because of their small size, rarely feel the necessity of offering FOD meetings.

If you don't see an FOD meeting scheduled on the first or second night onboard and you want to meet some new gay friends, ask for one! Make your request known to the cruise director and social staff early on. Bear in mind that the length of the cruise as well as how port-intensive the itinerary is can affect whether there is room in the schedule for an FOD meeting.

However, the term "Friends of Dorothy" or FOD is not recognised by many non-U.S. cruisers and by younger people so don’t be surprised if the turnout is low even though your gaydar has recognised many gay people on board. Just get those that do attend to go on a mission to invite others along to the next meeting. You can also arrange to meet up in advance - Online forums on sites such as CruiseCritic.com often have a Roll Calls for specific cruises in the gay section.

* The evolution of the term "Friends of Dorothy," came into popular use in the 1950's in the U.S. as gays and lesbians developed a special connection with Judy Garland, whose ballads of hope and despair and whose relentless spirit, and tragic history, mirrored their struggles in everyday life. She wasn't the first diva or drama queen, but certainly the one who resonated the most to a generation of gays and lesbians. Garland's most famous role -- as the ever-optimistic and wistful Dorothy in the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" -- gave gays and lesbians a "secret" code word that they could use to refer to themselves.

GO DADDY CRUISING
The age of participants on all-gay cruises tend to be younger then the average regular cruise and the attitude towards older men (and inter-generational relationships) can be off-putting. The alternative is to go with one of the cruise groups for mature gay men and admirers. Although none of these yet are all-gay - some have become regular annual events, such as Salvo’s Loveboat, as well as the many one-off events organised by gay social groups such as PrimeTimers. You’ll find them listed in the GrayGay.com Events Page.

Additionally, there is one specialist company offering cruises in small ships along the Turkish coastline only for bears and older men. - Bear Oldermen Yachting.

CRUISING RESEARCH
Just be sure to spend the time to fully research the specific cruise you're interested in before committing. Important questions such as if you have assigned seating at dinner, if gratuities are included or not, what is the typical guest profile, and so on should be answered by the cruise company you're working with or by a knowledgeable gay-friendly travel agent, so you'll get a perfect "fit" with the cruise you've chosen. You can also find forums on sites such as CruiseCritic.com, CruiseMates.com and CruiseReviews.com

TRAVEL SECTIONS

Advice
Crusing Choices
Cruise Calendar
Deals
Events Calendar
Discounts
Gay Travel
Gay Guides
Vacations & Tours
Travel Books

Damron Men's Travel Guide
by Gina M. Gatta (Editor)

List Price: $19.95
pixelGrayGay.com comments:
Over 12,000 listings of gay-friendly businesses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and most European capitals.

Links page
ADVERTISING
Print and TV commercials featuring mature gay men
ART & PHOTOS
Paintings, drawings photographs & movies
BOOKS
Fact and fiction for gay seniors and admirers
CRUISES
All gay cruises and gay cruise groups
DATING ADVICE
Safe and succesful dating guide
DATING SITES
Reviews and ratings of the major and senior dating sites
CHAT, VIDEO CHAT & MESSAGING
Chat & video chat systems for interacting with friends or lovers
EVENTS
Events for mature gay men and admirers
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Health, and medical treatments for mature men/admirers including Viagra
HISTORY
Gay history through the ages
FINANCE & LAW
Gay financial planning
LEISURE & FUN
Fun and funny sites for seniors and admirers
MAILING LISTS & GROUPS
Email-based mailing lists for mature gay men and admirers
MOVIES
Movies on DVD and VHS featuring mature and younger gay men.
PUBLICATIONS
Magazines and CDs about mature men
ORGANIZATIONS
Social, political and support organizations
RESEARCH
Gay social and ageing research
RETIREMENT
Gay retirement communities
SEARCH & PORTALS
Gay and senior orientated links, search and portals
SHOP
Fun T-shirts and other merchandise
TRAVEL OVERVIEW
How to get the best deal, gay travel, vacations, guides
TRAVEL TALES
Erotic and amusing travellers stories.
VACATIONS
Gay and senior orientated accomodation and vacations.
VIDEO/DVD
Porn Video & DVD with mature men.
WEBSITES
Sites offering galleries of pics, personals, chat, etc.,

© GrayGay.com 1996-2009 All rights reserved Feedback | Privacy | Legal | Copyright | Webmaster | Link to us | Advertise