You want to go on a ‘gay cruise’? These photos show what it is really like

When VACAYA announced their inaugural cruise, which departed from NYC on Aug. 11, we jumped at the chance to join the fun and set sail with a couple thousand new friends. VACAYA plans cruises and resort vacations for gay, lesbian, and trans guests together, and the diversity of passengers created a mix of fun photos.

Do you wonder what going on a “gay cruise” is really like? We’ve collected snapshots that were taken by guests on the ship, which show some of the goings-on throughout the trip. (All photos used with their permission.) These pics show the cruise from their perspective, from the parties to the quiet times, and it seems like everybody had a really good time. Take a look:

Ahoy, matey. Setting sail from Cape Liberty, NJ, across from Brooklyn on the Upper New York Bay. Cute hat.

Departing from Cape Liberty gave guests excellent views of The Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island Ferry, and the skyline of downtown New York.

Groups of friends arrived in coordinated outfits, but no worries about cliquey groups, because passengers were happy to make new friends. The trick on these cruises is simple: just walk up to someone, or sit down at a table, and start a chat. Conversations come and go all week. It’s very casual.

Parties were scheduled daily, usually both during the day and at night, on the pool deck. 

The ship had several pools and hot tubs, and during one of the parties someone dumped a bunch of inflatable balls in with a group of Speedo-wearing lads. This woman walked to the edge of the pool and challenged them to try to hit her with the balls. They proceeded to throw them at her, but never hit her, and whenever a ball came close she spiked it back at them in the water. It was a glorious moment.

Related: Kristin Chenoweth singing showtunes on a gay cruise in this dress is next level

Each of the parties had themes; this was the “bubble party,” where most costumes were created from bubble wrap, although this costume was a fun interpretation.

One of the party themes was the Black Party, and guests were encouraged to dress in leather, latex, and fetish gear. The costumes at the Black Party were absolutely beautiful, as guests put a lot of effort into constructing creations that made everyone look like superheroes. It was held late at night, but these gentlemen either got an early start or were still wearing their outfits the day after. This party was amazing.

Lady Bunny was the DJ for one of the daytime parties and apparently still found time to check Grindr.

VACAYA photographer Gabriel Goldberg captured the nighttime laser show at one of the parties. 

This VACAYA cruise made stops in St. John, on the island of New Brunswick in Canada; Bar Harbor, a coastal town in Maine; and a two-day overnight stay in Provincetown, Mass. Each stop offered chances to take excursions like tours, bike rides, and kayaking. 
 The onboard entertainment was booked especially just for this cruise, and each performance was outstanding. Kristin Chenoweth launched the cruise with an onboard concert, and Katharine McPhee was joined by her husband David Foster onstage during her show. Alex Newell (above), of Glee fame and who also starred in the Broadway production of Once On This Island, gave two performances of showtunes and standards that had passengers on their feet, roaring with applause. What a voice.

Toward the end of the cruise, the Red Party had a simple theme: dress in red. So why not wear a red corset and get fancied up like a saloon girl? Love the eye makeup.

Not everything was raucous parties and costumes. The ship had several restaurants, from fine dining to sushi and the ever-popular buffet, where guests relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.  

It’s not a party until someone pulls out the trombone. Rachel Kaufman played piano for the onboard burlesque shows, as well as cabaret performances with the exquisite songstress Shelly Watson, and she couldn’t resist showing off her trombone skills. The cabaret and burlesque performers mingled with guests all week, and they were a lot of fun.

At Provincetown and Bar Harbor, the ship was too big to dock at their ports, so it anchored in deeper water and guests zoomed back and forth to land via water taxi, called a “tender.” This was the view coming back to the ship in Provincetown. 

This is just a small sample of photos from a very eventful week on the ship. We would post more, but it would crash the web site. Feel free to post links to other photos in the Facebook comments below, or check out @myvacaya on Instagram. Cheers.