If you prefer to spend your vacations exploring rugged coastlines and picturesque towns on board a trendy cruise line, you’re not alone. According to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, around 25 million people take to the seas on a cruise ship each year — with a fairly large portion of those people being from the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you’re looking for the cruise line offering the longest list of amenities or you’d rather pick a cruise line that ventures to interesting and diverse locales around the globe, we’ve uncovered the best LGBTQ-friendly cruise lines that offer desirable attractions for every queer customer.
From cruise lines like RSVP Vacations that cater specifically to the LGBTQ+ community to mainstream fleets from Princess Cruises, these are the cruise lines that work hard to ensure that each queer customer comes back for seconds. These are the best LGBTQ-friendly cruise lines in the world.
1. Azamara Club Cruises
For those who perhaps enjoy the excursions more than the actual cruise itself, Azamara Club Cruises provides the perfect chance to explore unknown destinations without spending too much time on the cruise ship. Not only that, but along with its Destination Immersion program, Azamara Club Cruises is especially LGBTQ-friendly, receiving a perfect rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. If you’ve ever looked into booking an LGBTQ cruise, it’s likely that at least a few of them were headquartered on board an Azamara Club cruise.
2. RSVP Vacations
Since 1985, RSVP Vacations has managed to maintain a prominent spot among the best LGBTQ-focused vacation companies. From the moment you step on an RSVP cruise, you’ll be inundated with queer culture — from the community involved to the themed activities on board. And, speaking of onboard activities, guests can expect gay-positive entertainment and entertainers like live cabaret performances, comedians, and screenings of current LGBTQ films. This summer, you can take part in RSVP Vacations’ Summer in Alaska cruise, leaving on July 14 and taking guests through the waters surrounding the majestic 49th state.
3. Aquafest Cruises
Unlike other LGBTQ cruise lines, Aquafest Cruises offers a more intimate approach to cruise vacations. By immersing its small group of LGBTQ guests in with other guests on board larger ocean liners, it allows them to socialize with others outside of their group if they so desire. Or, if you dislike hopping on a cruise with strangers, grab a few close friends and embark upon a smaller luxury cruise hosted by Aquafest Cruises — still packed with fun and LGBTQ-themed excursions. To get a true taste of the fun to be had on an Aquafest cruise, purchase your tickets for the Halloween cruise — a celebration of all things wicked on board a luxury liner.
4. Celebrity Cruises
More recently, Celebrity Cruises has been home to a number of onboard same-sex wedding ceremonies, and this is just one of the many ways that this cruise line is appealing to its prospective LGBTQ customers. Due to the number of LGBTQ events offered by the cruise line — like the Pride Party at Sea, a celebration of Pride month taking place on a cruise ship that spends a week showing guests around Spain, France, and Italy — it has been the one large cruise line to win the Best Large-Ship Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers at the Cruizie Awards four years in a row.
5. Olivia Cruises
If you’re a lesbian who enjoys going on cruises to meet other members of the LGBTQ community, then Olivia Cruises will never fail to meet your criteria. From Japan to Iceland, Olivia Cruises is happy to send you off on a luxury ocean liner with hundreds of other lesbians to mingle and create everlasting memories with — one exotic excursion at a time. Whether you opt to keep the cruise experience more intimate or not, you can expect to sit back, relax, and enjoy onboard entertainment like concerts, comedy shows, dancing, casino games, and singles’ activities.
6. Princess Cruises
If you have yet to determine what kind of cruiser you are (or if you haven’t yet set sail on a cruise), then Princess Cruises has an impressive variety of itineraries and unexplored ports throughout the world. For the LGBTQ passenger, Princess Cruises also hosts a number of gay and lesbian cruises — even serving aforementioned RSVP Cruises on occasion.
7. Crystal Cruises
If luxury vacations are your speed then check out Crystal Cruises. While on board a Crystal cruise, you’ll experience some of the highest quality services in the cruise ship industry, especially since, according to Cruise Critic, Crystal Cruises operates on “an all-inclusive model with one of the highest passenger-to-staff and passenger-to-space ratios in the industry.” The cruise ship line also prides itself on being one of the most inclusive companies in the travel industry, often catering to large groups of LGBTQ travelers interested in its immersive 17-day theatre- and film-themed cruises.
8. Emerald Waterways
If you’re especially interested in European travel, check out Emerald Waterways. From Budapest, Hungary, to Antwerp, Belgium, Emerald Waterways offers up a chance for LGBTQ passengers to enjoy cruises along the most beautiful waterways in Europe — along with a chance to experience the unique queer culture of each destination.
9. Holland America Line
Holland America Line, the sister cruise line of Canard, offers a more traditional cruise experience for all of its passengers — including those in the LGBTQ community. As Cruise Critic points out, Holland America supports several queer organizations like the National LGBTQ Task Force and the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Not only that, the Holland America Line often hosts smaller cruises organized by LGBTQ+ cruise companies, like the aforementioned Olivia Cruises.
10. Royal Caribbean International
More so than any other major cruise line, the Royal Caribbean International cruise line offers a plethora of cruise options for the LGBTQ passenger. In 2019 and 2020, members of the LGBTQ community can look forward to trips to every corner of the globe — from Cuba to Barcelona. If you need more reasons to book a cruise with Royal Caribbean International, just know that it scored a perfect rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and has hosted a number of inspiring queer events over the past few years.