These LGBTQ-focused travel companies can help you plan the perfect cruise

Jun 5, 2022

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


Travel is one of the best ways to experience the world and learn about cultures that are different from your own. But when you’re traveling as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, it can be comforting to venture out with a group of like-minded people.

Thinking about a cruise? These LGBTQ-focused travel companies can help you plan the perfect voyage. They mainly specialize in partial- or full-ship charters, where a large number of cabins (if not all of them) is reserved for your group. Read on to see which one may be a good fit for you.

Note: Information was accurate at the time of publication. Sailings are subject to availability and may be changed or canceled without notice. New voyages also may be added without notice. Check each agency’s website for the most up-to-date information.

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In This Post

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Atlantis Events

Established in 1991, Atlantis specializes in LGBTQ travel but mostly caters to the gay male community. Although it does offer chartered experiences at a handful of land-based resorts, most of its events are cruise ship charters.

The agency books trips for more than 25,000 travelers each year, nearly half of whom are solo travelers. In addition to raucous parties and handpicked entertainment, Atlantis provides luxury, camaraderie and adventure in some of the world’s most beautiful locations.

These trips are ideal for gay travelers looking to mingle and party, as well as couples who want to get away with others in the gay community.

Currently, there are five sailings scheduled between July 2022 and February 2023: a summer Mediterranean cruise with Virgin Voyages‘ new Valiant Lady; an Oceania Marina cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen; and three Royal Caribbean sailings to the Mediterranean, Mexico and the southern Caribbean on Odyssey of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, respectively.

Related: 3 Ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month

Brand g Vacations

A premier operator of luxury river cruises and land tours, Brand g has been around for more than a decade. It currently has 17 sailings scheduled for 2022 and 2023, some of which are already sold out. Lines include Amadeus River Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises, among others. Available options take passengers along the Rhine, Danube, Mekong, Moselle, Ganges and more.

Because the company specializes in river cruises with a few exceptions, you’ll travel with between 40 and 200 passengers in an intimate full-charter setting that caters to the LGBTQIA+ community and its straight allies.

Brand g packages include upscale amenities such as luxury small-group airport transfers and pre-cruise hotel stays and tours. The company also includes alcohol and shore excursions in its fares.

Dreams Unlimited Travel

(Photo by APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images)

Dreams Unlimited Travel is a gay-owned and -operated travel agency that specializes in Disney vacations — Disney World, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney and, of course, Disney cruises — for all travelers, not just those in the LGBT+ community.

In business for more than two decades, it sells a range of Disney Cruise Line voyages, as well as sailings from Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises.

Although they don’t necessarily offer chartered cruises, the staff are equipped to assist LGBT+ travelers in finding the perfect trips for them. It also means that a wider selection of voyages is available because they aren’t limited to just charters or group sailings, with booking dates available well into 2023.

GaySail

Netherlands-based GaySail organizes small-group, gay charter voyages aboard sailing yachts. Each boat carries between 10 and 16 passengers, with one to three vessels sailing together for a group of anywhere from 10 to 30 men. GaySail’s nude cruise arm, GayNudeSail, offers similar sailings with a clothing-optional atmosphere.

Destination options for group sailings, which are currently on the books through April 2023, include Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, the Seychelles, the Caribbean and Tahiti. Passengers can also opt for a private charter in other areas of the world. All cruises, whether group or private, include the services of a skipper and cook, as well as breakfast and lunch, with dinner organized in port and paid for via a group fund called a “kitty.”

The voyages are for gay men only, with a passenger makeup of about 30%-40% couples and 60%-70% singles. Guests come from all across the globe, but the official language spoken on board is English. Ages generally range from about 30 to 50, but the cruises see men from all stages of life, as long as they’re fit enough to sail. (Sailing experience is not required. Passengers can choose to learn from the crew or simply relax and enjoy the trip.)

The main difference in atmosphere between a GaySail cruise and a gay cruise on a large cruise ship is that the former has more of a laid-back vibe — which means no raucous parties, all-day entertainment or daily housekeeping services.

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Olivia Travel

Originally founded as Olivia Records with the aim of helping women launch their own music careers, Olivia Travel has planned trips for more than 350,000 lesbians and other LGBTQ women since it switched its focus four decades ago.

Specializing in women-only travel for members of the LGBTQ community, Olivia offers full-charter vacations, many of them cruises. Because of its musical roots, Olivia has called on big-name talent, such as the Indigo Girls and Cris Williamson, to perform on some of its sailings.

In addition to ocean cruises, the company also offers river sailings (though none are currently available). So far, Olivia has seven cruises scheduled into March 2023, including the Caribbean, Iceland, Tahiti and the Panama Canal. The voyages will see travelers on the likes of Holland America‘s Nieuw Statendam, Azamara Quest and Windstar‘s luxury Wind Spirit and Star Pride.

Related: How these 4 LGBTQIA+ leaders are changing the travel and aviation industry

Out Adventures

This Canada-based company focuses on gay travel for smaller groups, offering a more upscale and intimate experience. Travelers can either join existing land-based tours of no more than 16 people or they can plan their own tour, with the agency tailoring the experience to client preferences.

Cruises sponsored by Out Adventures max out at 40 people, ensuring cruisers feel like more than just a number. This can also present a chance for singles to meet others in a more tight-knit setting. The company’s average vacationer is 40 to 55 years old, making these trips ideal for anyone who’s no longer in the “party phase.”

Additionally, Out Adventures’ trips focus on boutique experiences in port while striving to give back to global LGBTQ communities — $50 from each passenger’s booking is donated to Rainbow Railroad — while helping to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time with regard to local customs and attitudes.

Although the agency’s 2022 cruises have already sold out, there’s still limited space on 2023 departures to Tahiti (waitlist only), Greece (waitlist only) and France (limited space) on Variety Cruises’ Panorama II, Variety Cruises’ Galileo and CroisiEurope’s Barge Deborah, respectively.

Pied Piper Travel

In business for more than 30 years, Pied Piper Travel offers gay and lesbian group sailings on several cruises each year. At press time, the company had more than two dozen voyages scheduled on Azamara, Cunard Line and Celebrity ships between June 2022 and March 2023. The cruises visit destinations like Alaska, the Holy Land, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and Australia and New Zealand. There are also several repositioning cruises listed.

Passengers tend to be mostly gay men of all ages, but lesbians and non-gay or -lesbian friends and family members are also welcome to join.

Although it isn’t possible to know how big your group will be ahead of time, past trips have hosted between 15 and 900 passengers. As long as a group minimum of 10 people is met, Pied Piper will assign an onboard host to lead group gatherings, shore excursions and more.

Related: 10 LGBTQ+ movie filming locations you can visit this summer

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R Family Vacations

Founded in 2003 by Gregg Kaminksy and Kelli Carpenter (ex-partner of Rosie O’Donnell, who was previously affiliated with the brand), R Family Vacations is unique in the LGBTQ travel space in that its specialty is vacations for families with children.

Since O’Donnell and Carpenter parted ways in 2007, the agency has expanded a bit, venturing into the realm of adults-only LGBTQ travel and personal travel.

However, a large part of its customer base still relies on the R Family name for family-friendly cruise bookings. They are not full charters, but the company’s upcoming sailings are limited. Only one — a family cruise to Alaska on Celebrity Solstice — remains for 2022. For next year, two voyages are currently available for booking: a family cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas (the largest ship in the world) and an adults-only trip to Bordeaux, France, on luxury line Uniworld’s S.S. Bon Voyage.

Related: LGBTQ family travel tips to keep you safe and sane

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RSVP Vacations

Offering gay and lesbian travel since 1985, RSVP Vacations charters entire ships for its cruises. The charters tend to be on some of the newest and largest vessels afloat, promising lots of ways for travelers to have fun on board.

In terms of entertainment, the RSVP team schedules themed parties, where costumes are highly encouraged; showcases the latest films, both gay and mainstream; and highlights performances by gay-positive singers, dancers and comedians.

Although it was acquired by Atlantis Events in 2007, RSVP — which has helped more than 100,000 members of the LGBTQ community travel together — does not offer land-based trips. Like Atlantis, RSVP caters to travel for gay men, but its clientele is about 10% lesbian on each sailing.

RSVP does not currently have any sailings on offer, but 2023 voyages should be released soon.

Saltyboys Sailing Cruises

Like GaySail, Saltyboys is a Netherlands-based travel company that specializes in small-group, gay-men-only cruises on sailing ships. The main difference is that while GaySail offers cruises for passengers who don’t feel comfortable going au naturel, all of Saltyboys’ voyages are designated as either clothing optional or nudist.

Each vessel carries about 10 passengers in addition to the crew, and boats might sail in a flotilla of more than one vessel, meaning your group could join up with others while in port. All voyages include the services of a skipper and crew. Although no sailing experience is required, if you don’t wish to learn how to help with anchoring or do your own grocery shopping or cooking, Saltyboys also offers luxury sailings where your fare includes a cook, so everything will be handled for you.

Destinations for voyages through November 2022 include Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Belize, Thailand, Italy and Australia’s Whitsunday Islands.

Generally, the Saltyboys clientele ranges in age from 20 to 50 years old, but there are always exceptions.

Related: How an SFO terminal pays tribute to an LGBTQ+ pioneer

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Source Journeys

For two decades, Source Events has offered all-gay luxury travel that balances adventure with class, catering equally to singles and couples in groups ranging from 15 to 300 people. The company also donates a portion of all proceeds to LGBTQ charities.

Besides land vacations and individually customized trips, Source promotes full charters of small, intimate cruise ships from lines like Windstar and Atlas Ocean Voyages. You won’t find wild parties or scandalous shenanigans, but you will enjoy an upscale experience that’s perfect for meeting other gay travelers with discerning tastes.

Source also runs partial gay charters aboard larger ships (think: vessels from Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line), but those are generally specific Pride sailings that are shorter in duration and less exotic in destination. Most of what the company touts are voyages to places like the Black Sea, the Dalmatian Coast, Tahiti, the Greek Isles and Antarctica.

Currently, Source has just three sailings scheduled, all with limited availability. Travelers interested in a summer trip in 2022 can choose from a Greek Isles and Turkey sailing on Ponant‘s Le Jacques Cartier in August or a visit to Italy and the Amalfi Coast in September aboard masted sailing ship Star Clipper. In 2023, the only sailing scheduled so far is a Rhine river cruise from Basel, Switzerland, to Amsterdam on Avalon Panorama.

Related: LGBTQ+ people of color now have a way to find inclusive businesses when traveling

Toto Tours

Toto Tours is the oldest LGBTQ-focused travel company that has had the same management throughout its tenure. Opened in 1990, the agency helps gays, lesbians, and their friends and family members travel in comfort and safety.

Most of Toto’s business comes from land-based trips and tours, including customized ones, but it does occasionally add cruises to its repertoire.

The agency’s land-based trips have resumed for the second half of 2022. However, no cruises are listed for 2022 or 2023 so far.

Related: 8 best LGBTQ+ family travel destinations

(Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Vacaya

Vacaya prides itself on serving the entire LGBTQIA+ community and its allies rather than focusing heavily on just gay men. The company provides fully chartered access to all-inclusive, land-based resorts, but where it really shines is with its cruises.

Often offering both river and ocean cruise options, this travel agency mixes fun with adventure and learning on ships both large and small, allowing you to find a sailing that meets your preferences. It can also help to match you with a roommate to offset costs if you’re traveling alone.

Although Vacaya is a fledgling company, having launched in 2019 with its first season of travel offerings, it has weathered the pandemic. All of its remaining 2022 sailings are sold out, as is a 2023 voyage from Jordan to Greece, but there are five cruises in 2023 that still have availability. They range from the Caribbean with Celebrity to Central America, the Norwegian fjords, Italy and Tahiti with Ponant.

Related: 7 documents LGBTQ+ families should never travel without

For more cruise coverage, check out our 2022 Cruise Extravaganza.

Featured photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images.

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