These 22 Pics From the Atlantis Caribbean Voyage Offer a First-Person Look Inside ‘The Gay Cruise’
The Atlantis cruise that for the past week was sailing around the Caribbean just docked back in the United States yesterday. It made international headlines for a very horrible, unfortunate reason: the death of former TV star Joel Taylor. With the Atlantis cruise at the center of so many recent stories, many people who have never been on a gay cruise are asking, What’s a gay cruise like?
Atlantis Events is the world’s largest producer of gay and lesbian cruises and resort vacations, hosting over 25,000 guests from around the world on “unique experiences.” The company’s January cruise is its most popular. (The brutal winter up north makes January the perfect time for people to get away.) January’s Caribbean gay cruise is also known in the gay community as the best on-ship partying of all Atlantis’s trips.
Why? Well, unlike some of the company’s other cruises — offering stops at great destinations like those of Europe — the January Atlantis cruise is a 24-hour, seven-day party that never really stops.
Auston Matta described his experience on board a gay cruise for GayStarNews: “Freedom of self-expression is one of the many reasons that people choose to attend a gay cruise. However, with such a large array of gay men from around the world in attendance, stereotypes begin to emerge and the ‘freedom’ is taken too far.”
“One of the highlights of a gay cruise are the nightly themed parties,” he says. “Just like the infamous circuit parties of gay hotspots around the world, drugs, alcohol and sex play a large part. On the cruise, self-expression allows passengers to explore themselves through themes; from drag to leather and beyond.”
Matta ends his piece on a positive note, saying that while these cruises aren’t for everybody, they remain a fantastic option for many men. He concludes, “I think, overall, a gay cruise is a great holiday option for the LGBTI community with an array of activities and people, from all walks of life, to meet; but I recognize that it’s not for everyone.”
Tristan Ferland Milewski’s 2017 documentary Dream Boat profiled a weeklong European cruise for gay men. While not an Atlantis cruise, the film depicts a very similar scenario to the one Matta’s article paints.
A gay cruise may not be for everyone, but let’s take a look inside and see who they are for.