All good conversations should start with a glass of wine. And, all big decisions should be made once you’ve finished the bottle. This was no exception.
We’d just finished dinner when my friend Christian declared “so we’re going on a cruise, you should come!”
Waking up the next morning went like this: “great sleep, I feel like eggs, I AGREED TO WHAT?”
See, I had a pre-conceived notion that going of what a gay cruise would be like. I imagined it to be pretty tacky, 18-30 business model. Like… porno Benny Hill on the high seas.
If you don’t know what Benny Hill is or you’re a visual kind of person, here’s a picture from “The Love Boat”. Gotta love those teeth. So, very white. I bought a bleaching kit from eBay once. Left it on too long. Couldn’t drink cold water for days:
So, standing on the port at Venice, I actually contemplated not getting on. But I’m glad I did. And here’s why:
There was a free cocktail. Oh! And because like everything, it’s what YOU make it.
After boarding, we attended the compulsory safety briefing. Actually, no, we headed straight for the pool and then had to attend the briefing in our swimmers. I guess that’s my first tip – don’t make plans until you fulfil your regulatory requirements …
The briefing was fairly typical – where to find life rafts, where your muster station is and advice to stay calm in the event of an emergency. Calm.
Let’s be clear, now. Telling 3,000 gay guys to stay calm on a sinking ship when we’re faced with the reality of kissing goodbye to our sweet-ass GHDs. Not gonna happen my friend. Our hair will be curly and we’ll freak out. Like this:
What wasn’t typical of the safety briefing was the piece of advice that followed; “You’re all in the same boat. Look up, smile and BE NICE.”
Whilst it’s presented with a rubbish pun, the advice seems obvious.
But I thought that was a nice touch and it turns out that it sets the tone for the whole trip. I found myself confused when I went on land and found that people weren’t as nice “in the real world” – it quickly becomes expectation that everyone is nice. And isn’t that just lovely?
Did you know that the back of the ship is called the stern? But it’s funnier to call it the “poop deck”.
One of the big benefits of going on any cruise is the number of destinations that you can see in a relatively short period of time and this was no exception – Montenegro, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Positano, Corsica all in the space of ten days.
I’d recommend getting eating on land at every destination. Whilst the food on board was great and varied, it’s pretty much the same all the time.
Be ready to meet new people. This goes hand in hand with the advice that you get at the start of the cruise.
I think at one point I didn’t see the friends I was travelling with for 48 hours. I made new friends, disembarked at Mykonos and went to an amazing party in the hills above Super Paradise. Because that’s what this holiday did for me – it allowed me to enjoy being with people.
At sea, your phone doesn’t work and you actually have conversations. And, of all the friends I met, I still don’t know what they do. I just didn’t feel the need to ask.
You’re so relaxed by the end that life any other way seems just too difficult. So relaxed, in fact, that by the end of my trip I pretty much eat ice cream for every meal because, you know, you can’t get to the buffet in just swimmers.
But you can get to the ice cream bar. And that’s a result. There were M&Ms at the ice cream bar too. They have omega3 and fatty acids. They do! They’re practically a macro-nutrient when you think about it.
So, if you do choose to go on a gay cruise (or any cruise really), here’s some general advice:
-You’re all in the same boat – chill out. Divas end up on a spit of land with nothing but a pistol with a single shot. No, wait, that’s Pirates of the Caribbean.
-You don’t spend a lot of time in your room – so bear that in mind when you’re tempted by options when you’re booking.
-Look up, make eye contact.
-Talk to everyone, make friends.
-Go with the flow
-Put your phone in the safe and forget it.
Have you been on a themed-cruise? What’s your experience been like?
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