Photo: Celebrity Cruises/Facebook

The 13 Best LGBTQ-Friendly Cruise Lines

LGBTQIA+ Travel Insider Guides Cruises
by Ashley Moor May 21, 2019

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 Cruise Lines International Association, around 31 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 gay cruises 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.

Atlantis Events

Atlantis Events is the world’s largest company specializing in all-gay vacations. Operating since 1991, they have chartered entire cruise ships for exciting, gay-exclusive adventures. They also host renowned parties with top DJs and entertainers. Atlantis Events is known for creating a welcoming atmosphere for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. They host around five cruises annually, many of which sell out well in advance.

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.

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. Azamara offers a luxury experience with smaller ships that can access unique ports of call.

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 a gay cruise, it’s likely that at least a few of them were headquartered on board an Azamara Club cruise.

Brand G Vacations

Brand G is a premier operator of LGBTQ+ cruises. They offer exclusive cruises with a full-ship that charters specifically for LGBTQ+ travelers, along with their straight allies. The company is known for its annual Prague and Danube cruise, where they charter Amadeus River Cruises’ new vessel, Amadeus Nova. In 2024, they have announced a special Dutch and Belgian Delights Cruise celebrating Amsterdam Pride.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises ship

Photo: Celebrity Cruises/Facebook

Celebrity Cruises has been recognized for its progressive policies and inclusive onboard atmosphere. They were one of the first cruise lines to offer legal same-sex marriages at sea when it became legal in Malta, where most of their fleet is registered. 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 their favorite routes — it has been the one large cruise line to win the Best Large-Ship Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers at the Cruizie Awards for consecutive years in a row.

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 theatre- and film-themed cruises.

Emerald Waterways

Emerald Waterways ship in Portugal

Photo: Emerald Waterways/Facebook

If you’re especially interested in European travel, check out Emerald Waterways. From Budapest, Hungary, to Antwerp, Belgium, Emerald Waterways offers up a chance 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.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line is known for its classic cruising style and commitment to inclusivity. They have been hosting LGBTQ+ gatherings during their voyages for many years. The cruise line is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and offers a comfortable and elegant cruising experience.

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.

Out Adventures

Out Adventures is a leading provider of exclusive gay tours, cruises, and safaris. The company has been planning magical vacations for the gay community since 2008. They offer LGBTQ+ cruises in locations such as Croatia, the Galapagos, Italy, and Greece. These cruises are held on luxurious small ships, and new destinations are released every year.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises ship

Photo: Princess Cruises/Facebook

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.

RSVP Vacations

Three people in a pool on a RSVP Vacations cruise ship

Photo: RSVP Vacations/Facebook

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.

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. 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.

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