Nude cruises: Voyages where you can take it all off

Feb 8, 2022

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

Nudist cruises are advertised as an opportunity to let it all hang out. But clothing-optional sailings don’t require you to be completely naked. It’s your choice whether to cover up.

The sailings do include all sorts of rules. You must be clothed in the dining rooms, for instance. And don’t expect a ship full of beautiful bodies. Nude sailings are for adults of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Nude cruises are not about sex. Rather, they are about body acceptance. Don’t confuse clothing-optional nude cruises with the more targeted couples-only swingers cruises, which typically are also clothing-optional.

Here’s what you need to know before embarking on a nude sailing:

Who to book with

The Big Kahuna of nude cruises is Austin, Texas-based Bare Necessities, founded in 1990. The company pioneered clothing-optional ship charters, and its trips take over entire vessels. Bare Necessities has worked with cruise lines that include small-ship lines Star Clippers and Paul Gauguin Cruises, as well as the more well-known Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America.

(Photo courtesy of Bare Necessities Tours and Travels/Facebook

Nude cruise vacations with Bare Necessities tend to be in warm-weather spots, such as the Caribbean and Mediterranean, but they have also included Alaska.

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On any sailing, about 70% of guests have cruised with the company before. Cruises are for ages 18 and older. On its website, Bare Necessities makes clear that its cruises are not for vacationers looking to get busy while naked: “Social nudity is not a sexual activity, and we strive to dispel the misconception that it is anything but natural and beautiful.” Anyone overtly sexual may be kicked off the ship.

It’s important when booking a nude cruise to decide if you are a nudist or a swinger. There are cruise operators for both.

Upcoming sailings

Bare Necessities has nearly sold out its June 25, 2022, sailing, a two-week jaunt around the Adriatic on Star Clippers’ five-masted, 227-passenger Royal Clipper sailing ship.

If you have your heart set on nude cruising in Europe but want to wait a bit longer to sail, Bare Necessities has also booked Royal Clipper for a two-week Wonders of the Mediterranean voyage scheduled for July 18, 2023. Beginning and ending in Civitavecchia, the port for Rome, the itinerary includes Sorrento, Amalfi, Stromboli, Sicily, Sardinia and other stops.

You’ll be able to admire the ship’s 54,000 square feet of sails and brass and teak decor while skinny dipping in the ship’s three small swimming pools. The plan is to have the ship anchor as much as possible during the itinerary for water sports activities au naturel. There will also be opportunities to hit the nude beaches of Corsica and (with clothes) explore Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Sardinia and the French Riviera.

Closer to home, you might choose to embark on a Big Nude Boat sailing on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride, where you can ride the waterslides, hang out at the piano bar and dine poolside on sinful, complimentary Guy Fieri burgers — all in the buff. As noted on the Bare Necessities website, the ship’s decor is appropriate for a nudist vacation. There’s a replica of Michelangelo’s naked David sculpture in the steakhouse and bare-breasted mermaids decorate the walls at the Lido buffet.

The next voyage that still has availability sets sail Feb. 12, 2023. It is scheduled to visit St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, Grand Turk and private islands Amber Cove, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay, with a few sea days sprinkled in between.

RELATED: The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line ships

In a typical year, there would be additional organized nudist cruises, including cabins on small yacht charters in destinations such as Croatia, but the cruise industry is still recovering from the pandemic. However, booking a private yacht charter for you and your friends is another option for people who want to cruise naked.

Facts about nude cruises

Things you should know, beyond the need to bring copious amounts of sunscreen (used liberally in areas of the body that are not often exposed to the sun, where you would tend to burn):

  • Pack some clothes. All guests are required to dress for meals in the dining room and at specialty restaurants. You will also need to put on clothes to attend the captain’s cocktail party. You don’t need to be fancy. Nudist cruises are typically casual. (You may show up wearing shorts and a T-shirt if you want.)
  • You are required to put on clothes when your ship pulls into a port or whenever the captain announces you must. Crew members remain in their normal clothes at all times.
  • While you’re packing, check the planned events for your sailing. You might want to pack gear for costume parties or theme nights.
  • Once on board, you are free to go as clothing-optional as you like in the fitness center (try naked yoga), on the zipline, in the casino, at the pools and at most other indoor and outdoor areas, including the bars and the buffet.
  • When you sit naked on any furniture — such as sun loungers or bar stools — you must place a towel under your naked bottom or G-string.
  • Nudist cruises are open to couples, friends and family traveling together, as well as solo travelers. Bare Necessities has a roommate match service for solos who don’t want to pay a high single supplement.

When possible, your ship will provide the option to visit nude beaches, which could include the cruise line’s own private island or beach resort.

If you do want to swing

If you are looking for a clothing-optional swingers cruise, complete with erotic movie showings, naughty theme parties and playrooms, Bliss Cruises has a handful of upcoming charters for like-minded “swinger couples, nudists, voyeurs and exhibitionists”:

  • A six-night sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, embarking in Miami and sailing to Mexico April 3-9, 2022.
  • A seven-night sailing on Azamara Quest, embarking in Barcelona and sailing to Spain and Morocco June 4-11, 2022.
  • A seven-night sailing on Celebrity Reflection, embarking in Fort Lauderdale and sailing to the Southern Caribbean Nov. 13-20, 2022.
  • A five-night sailing on Celebrity Summit, embarking in Miami and sailing to the Caribbean April 17-22, 2023.
  • A six-night sailing on Celebrity Equinox, embarking in Fort Lauderdale and sailing to the Western Caribbean Nov. 5-11, 2023.

The sailings are for adults (age 21 and older), and they’re for couples only.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured photo by Stefanie Hiebl/Getty Images.

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