Winter is a great time for people from points north seeking sun and fun to converge on south Florida and board cruise ships bound for the Caribbean. The weather has been so beautiful this winter that it may be difficult for partiers to tear themselves away from Wilton Manors and South Beach, but they will be rewarded with luxurious cruise experiences once they make it to either the ports of Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Here are profiles of six gay cruises that are setting sail in the next six weeks.
MIM Presents a Journey Down the Yellow Brick Road
January 26 – February 1
This cruise was designed for older men who want to set sail in the company of younger men, and vice versa. Royal Caribbean’s ship Independence of the Seas will be the vessel for this six-night trip, which leaves the port of Fort Lauderdale and stops at George Town in the Cayman Islands; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean’s private resort in Labadee, Haiti. Bob Lawson and his entertaining mind-reading show Mind Gaymes, which were recently featured at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg, will entertain guests aboard this cruise. This is the only cruise to leave this winter that was organized 100% by people in south Florida. For more information, call (954) 735-8108.
Pride of the Ocean Film Festival
January 31 – February 3
A film festival aboard a fun gay cruise? What’s there not to like? For the last five years, attendees have enjoyed gay-themed films aboard a cruise from New York to Bermuda. This year, they’ve decided to test demand in south Florida by commissioning the ship Norwegian Sky for a weekend trip leaving Miami and stopping in Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas. Kareem Mortimer’s film “Children of God,” a gay love story featuring the backdrop of a disapproving Bahamian society, will be shown, followed by a panel discussion and the screening of gay-themed shorts. This cruise is now sold out; to inquire about a wait list, please call Geisha Cumberbatch at (866) 432-0050.
Atlantis Silhouette Caribbean Cruise
February 2 – 9
Atlantis Cruises embarks on a six-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale aboard the Celebrity Silhouette, a luxury liner that is capable of providing lodging for 2800 travelers. The first stop on this cruise is Coco Cay, Atlantis Cruises’ own private island in the Bahamas. After a day at sea, the ship will dock in Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, a quaint port modeled in look and ambience after Portofino in Italy. The final stop on the cruise brings the ship and its passengers to Willemstad on the charming and gay-friendly island of Curaçao. This cruise is highly in demand and is already sold out.
February 8 – 15
Canadian events company Pitbull teams up with Celebrity Cruises as they commission the ship Reflection for a seven day cruise shipping out of the port of Miami on February 8. There will be three stops: in San Juan, Puerto Rico; in St. Maarten and in St. Thomas. Pitbull Events boasts that this cruise is the only “all-inclusive” gay cruise to leave South Florida this winter, meaning that all costs, including alcohol, are included in the ticket price. Fun excursions are promised at all three stops; for more information, go to facebook.com/pitbull.toronto or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
RSVP Divina Caribbean Cruise
February 15 – 22
RSVP Vacations takes vacationers on a special ride on the new, state-of-the-art MSC Divina, capable of holding 3500 passengers. Seven restaurants, three pools and 20 bars have been fitted on this luxury vessel, which departs Miami on the evening of February 15. Philipsburg on St. Maarten is the first stop, two and a half days after leaving south Florida. The Divina reaches San Juan, Puerto Rico the next day. After another day at sea, the boat stops at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas before arriving back in Miami early on the 22nd. There is an optional excursion that will take interested parties to go catamaran sailing during the stop in St. Maarten. For more information, call (866) 541-2187.
Arno’s Caribbean Bear Cruise
March 1 – 9
Arno’s Bear Cruises will be traveling on the ship Independent of the Seas of the Royal Caribbean line, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale on March 1. After two days of partying at sea, the first stop for the people aboard the cruise will be St. Maarten. Following a day-long visit there, the ship goes on to St. Kitts. Shopping and beaches are plentiful at both stops. The third stop brings the boat into San Juan harbor in Puerto Rico. A rainforest walk is available as an added excursion. Finally, the boat stops at Royal Caribbean’s private resort in Labadee, Haiti, where one can enjoy the world’s longest zip line over water. The boat returns to Fort Lauderdale on March 9. For more information, call (304) 964-0568.