By ROBERT ELIAS DEATON
Mention the word “cruise,” and we all know where your mind goes. Lingering stares across a room, a hint of a smile upon your lips. There is, of course, another kind of cruising that’s a little more expensive (or on second thought, maybe not). It’s the type of cruising where you pack your bags, get on a ship, and eat and play to your heart’s content while you move magically from port to port without mussing your hair (well, again, on second thought, a little muss can be fun).
To help you plan your next cruise, or perhaps your first, GUY MAGAZINE serves up the best in cruising for Summer and Fall, 2012.
ITALY, GREEK ISLANDS & ISTANBUL
Sail aboard the Celebrity Equinox with 2,700 gay men and lesbian women departing from Civitavecchia, the port just west of Rome, Italy, in this cruise organized by Atlantis Events, the grand poo-pah of gay and lesbian travel. Leaving August 24 and returning September 3, this 11-day vacation is nothing short of an once-in-a-lifetime event with pit stops in Mykonos and Santorini, Greece; Kusadasi, and Istanbul, Turkey; the island of Malta; plus the Sicilian capital of Palermo. With lots of flesh and hard bodies, Atlantis cruises are quickly sold out. There are, however, often last minute cancellations as well. (www.atlantisevents.com)
This 15-day cruise is organized by one of our favorite gay travel agencies, Manhattan’s Pied Piper Travel, aboard the luxurious Celebrity Century. Although totally refurbished in 2006, this 1,808-passenger ship has an old-world charm. Expect more baby-boomers on this cruise line, where elegance and refinement dictate dress code and behavior. Sugar Daddy alert! There is no denying the sundrenched lure of Maui, the Big Island and Oahu, however, so grab your number 50 lotion for this cruise that departs on April 5 from San Diego, returning April 20. (www.piedpipertravel.com)
While the Bahamas are our closest island cruise destination, when left in the hands of Source Events, the place becomes a totally different experience altogether. Source is the official producer of the Miami Beach Pride Cruise, departing on April 16 for fourdays aboard the Norwegian Sky. The ship has a capacity of 2,000 with Source Events promising a Tropical Fantasy Costume Party, a trio of tea dances, an exclusive gay movie screening, and assorted treats (or was that “tricks”—we’ll check and get back to you). Pride or not, this is a mixed cruise, so no nude sunbathing by the pool. (www.sourceevents.com)
PRAGUE AND THE DANUBE RIVER
While it may seem strange to start a cruise of the Danube in the Czech Republic’s capital Prague, through which the Danube does not flow, it was a natural choice for Brand G Vacations, who put this package together. Ever since porn director William Higgins left Hollywood and made Prague his homebase, the place has become a very gay-friendly destination. You’ll definitely want to check out these cobbled streets and back-rooms before hopping on a bus and making a mad dash over to Nuremberg, Germany (with a pee break in Carlsbad). Once there, you’ll board the Amadeus Waterways’ MS AmaCerto. No, you’re not on the Danube yet, but rather on the Main- Danube Canal which eventually runs into the River. Once you eventually hit the Big D (which by the way is no longer Blue as Strauss once claimed), get set for a leisurely float down the river to Vienna, where you’ll spend two days riding bikes and waltzing, if that’s your thing. It all begins on August 21 for 10 days, with the boat dropping you eventually in Budapest, Hungary. (www. brandgvacations.com)