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Top tips for LGBT Cruise Travel: Pride parades, ports & ships

26th June 2015

Updated May 2018

As we approach the summer months, we take a look at Pride and how the whole world celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender culture. Festivals, parades, and parties are taking place all over the world as well as rallies, commemorations, and community days.

 

 

Pride unifies, builds communities, and promotes equal rights worldwide and the travel industry strongly supports this. From Pride parades, to Friends of Dorothy groups and all-gay chartered cruise holidays – cruise travel caters for all holiday preferences; each cruise line is as unique as each itinerary diverse.

Have you considered combining a cruise holiday with some of the most notorious Pride festivities? Or booked your cruise already? Look out for celebrations at just some of our favourite ports below.

Gay Pride Port Calendar for Summer 2018:

 

   
Amsterdam, Netherlands
July 28 - August 5
Las Vegas, Nevada
October 19 - 21
   
   
Barcelona, Spain
June 23 - June 30
Marseille, France
July 7
   
   
Belfast, Northern Ireland
July 27 - August 5
Montreal, Canada
June 22 - 24
   
   
Berlin, Germany
July 28
Mykonos, Greece
August 23 - 30
   
   
Calgary, Canada
August 24 - September 3
New York, USA
June 15 - 24
   
   
Copenhagen, Denmark
August 13 - 19
Oslo, Norway
June 22 - July 1
   
   
Curacao, Caribbean
September 27 - 30
Rome, Italy
June 9
   
   
Dublin, Ireland
June 21 - 30
Stockholm, Sweden
July 27 - August 5
   
   
Ibiza, Spain
June 13 - 16
Tokyo, Japan
April 28 - May 6
   
   
Key West, Florida
June 6 - 10
Vancouver, Canada
August 3 - 5
   

 

And the best ships to take you there…

Whether your preference is modern elegance, family fun, partying all night or being a sophisticated single; all cruise lines have their own unique offerings for the wild to the more discreet traveller.

Most cruise lines offer LGBT meet-ups and casual cocktail parties for anyone who wants to identify and socialise with other gay passengers on large ships. These are otherwise known as ‘Friends of Dorothy’ (FOD) meetings; usually held at one of the bars or public rooms onboard – you’ll find these advertised either in the ship’s daily programme or bulletin board.

 

 

Thinking about arranging your own meet up onboard your cruise? MeetMeOnBoard.com is a great platform for solo travellers and couples alike; enabling cruisers to connect with each other before boarding, or even find cabin-mates to avoid a single supplement.

Gay and lesbian guests can feel welcome onboard any cruise sailing by all staff and passengers; and faced with unlimited cruise choices, it can be difficult to decide which cruise line is right for you. Below are just a few of our favourite cruise lines who are popular within the LGBT community.

Celebrity Cruises

Modern and elegant, Celebrity Cruise ships have a cool vibe with 5* service. There is a huge mix of passengers onboard and their varied dining options, state-of-the-art activities and luxurious spa facilities caters for all of them. If there is not a FOD meeting included in a daily programme, check the community ‘bulletin board’ which can be found near Guest Relations.

Norwegian Cruise Line

A Norwegian cruise is casual, great fun and excellent value for money. Norwegian’s ‘Freestyle Cruising’ appeals to many lesbian and gay passengers due to its informal feel, anytime dining and open seating. NCL hold at least one FOD meeting on every ship, on every cruise.

Royal Caribbean

Creator of the largest ships at sea, Royal Caribbean attracts an adventurous, fun-loving and diverse crowd; it’s popular with gay and lesbian travellers, singles, families and couples alike. With some Royal ships holding up to 6,000 passengers, they truly are ‘cities at sea’. Activities include a zipline, surf simulators, sky diving simulators as well as Broadway shows including Cats, Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You.

 

 

Cunard Cruise Line

Traditionally British, formal, and oozing with luxury, Cunard attracts the more conservative traveller. With White Glove service, 5* cuisine and diverse itineraries, the three Queens definitely embody the finer things in life. All ships are very gay-friendly with LGBT meet-ups on every cruise.

Crystal Cruises

Sophisticated travellers flock to Crystal Cruises’ ultra-luxury ships. You can expect first-class cuisine, Broadway singers and a fantastic variety of entertainment. The Perfect Choice Dining programme appeals to those who want the flexibility of dining when and with whom they wish. Crystal also offers a Friends of Dorothy meeting on every itinerary.

Carnival

Colourful, casual and vibrant cruises – Carnival ships are FUN for all and suitable for couples and families alike. LGBT meet-ups are frequent onboard most of their ships, sometimes one a day. Refer to your Carnival Hub mobile app for the day’s itinerary which tells you when gatherings will be held. The app is also a forum for you to connect with and ‘chat’ with other passengers you’ve met onboard

 

 

All-gay cruises

There are a number of ships chartered specifically for LGBT travellers over the year through companies including Atlantis Events, Source Events and R Family Vacations.

Please share any comments or questions you may have about LGBT cruise travel below – we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Pride!

 

By Chloe


5 Game Of Thrones Destinations To Visit By Cruise

15th June 2015

The American fantasy drama is famed for its stunning exotic filming destinations, from the shores of Croatia to glaciers of Iceland and the rich countryside of Northern Ireland. We take a look into the spectacular locations that you can visit by cruise to relive your favourite GOT moments.

Imagine standing at the gates of King’s Landing? Or strolling around the Free City of Pentos? Discover the fantastical locations on your doorstep that are used in everyone's favourite TV series:

Alcázar de Sevilla, used as the Water Places of Dorne

 

Malta

#GOT scene: Site of the King’s Landing in series 1

Malta is a fairly new destination to the cruise world and the perfect island to exploit the exotic Mediterranean flare. However, it is not only sun and sand that makes it so appealing, it holds a rich and fascinating history.

Every building, temple and street tells a story and display the results of a significant event in Malta’s dramatic past. A trip here guarantees to create ever-lasting memories and no shortage of mysterious adventures. From the iconic stone temples, grand palaces and quaint cobbled streets to the sun-drenched beaches, water-front restaurants and vibrant cocktail bars, Malta is an enchanting paradise.

Malta exposed the perfect destination for King’s landing as the pristine rooftops of the historic buildings portray scenes of a noble lifestyle.

Cruise lines that stop here: Royal Caribbean International, P&O Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line

 

The main gate of Mdina, used as King's Landing's Gate


Croatia

#GOT scene: Site of King’s Landing from series 2

Oh beautiful Croatia – one of my favourite European cities that becomes more charming every time I visit. 

One of the most picturesque coastlines, sailing into this part of the world truly takes my breathe away with its vibrant buildings, pretty harbors and soaring ramparts that sit in front of lush green mountains. I can only imagine this is the ultimate destination to film such a fascinating drama.

The Old Town is an explorer’s playground with so much to do. As you stroll around the cobbled streets you are faced with unique carved statues, history-enriched architecture and the famous Onifrio’s Fountain. When your sight-seeing time is up, relax in one of the tucked away cafes and indulge on a delicious pastry and simply watch this mesmerizing world pass by.

Cruise lines that stop here: Thomson Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises

 

Lovrijenac fort, used as The Red Keep in the heart of Kings Landing

 

Iceland

#GOT scene: 'Beyond the wall' scene

Iceland is a destination that doesn’t quite seem real. A place where people bathe in boiling springs, active volcanoes are a normal sight and natural wonders outnumber man-made creations.

This unspoilt playground oozes with exploration and showcases sights of the unimaginable. Named the 'land of ice and fire' a trip to Iceland gives you the opportunity to delve into fascinating history, relax in steaming lagoons or enjoy a snippet of the lavish lifestyle in innovative nightclubs and bars.

Although the locals are very welcoming, it is the wildlife you are likely to make friends with. From the whale infested waters to the arctic foxes huddled along the coast, you will never be alone here.

Cruise lines that stop here: Fred Olsen Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Hurtigruten 

 

Vatnajokull Glacier, used as North of the Wall


Northern Ireland

#GOT scene: Numerous scenes

You don’t always have to look far to find something amazing and sometimes what you are searching for can be found right infront of you. Northern Ireland is the UK's hidden gem.

The highlight of any British Isles cruise, Northern Ireland illustrates a pairing of lush countryside with cosmopolitan city life. The city boasts vibrant bars, lively beer gardens and exciting museums, whereas the countryside exposes century-old remains, sensuous countryside and roaming wildlife.

There is no shortage of adventures to be had here, from the Titanic Memorial, Carrickfergus Castle and the Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With it's soaring mountains dominating mystical landscapes, it created the ultimate setting for many enticing GOT scenes. Many of the woodland settings are filmed in Tollymore Forest, County down.

Cruise lines that stop here: Cruise & Maritime, Princess Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruises, P&O Cruises

 

The Dark Hedges, used as Kingsroad (North of Kings Landing)

 

Morocco

#GOT scene: Daenerys walk along from series 3

The Hollywood of Europe, Morocco is a lavish city that blends old and new like nowhere else in the world. One minute you’re taken back in time by historic buildings and the next you are surrounded by a commercial jungle.

Cuisine is a key part of the Moroccan lifestyle and every new step you take presents a different restaurant with locals serving tasty treats. Influenced by its cultural background, you will be able to indulge in an array of exquisite cuisine here.

Morocco has a quirky personality that is apparent from all around. It has an infectious sense of adventure that makes you want to delve into the culture further.

With its enchanting atmosphere, awe-inspiring views and rich culture it is no suprise it was chosen for key filming scenes.

Cruise lines that stop here: Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Star Clippers

 

Aït-Ben-Haddou, used as Yunkai and Pentos


By Sally Grimes


7 Essential Tips for Easy Embarkation

19th May 2015

The excitement surrounding the lead up to a holiday is almost as good as the actual thing, but in order to make the embarkation process as smooth as possible there are some key tips to keep in mind. There are a number of easy things you can do to prepare for the big day – read on to find out more! [More]

What's River Cruising All About?

8th May 2015

Updated February 2017

 


Iglu's Managing Director, Simone Clark, a seasoned ocean cruiser, experienced her first river cruise. Here's what she has to say about her experience with APT...

We now have over 7000 river cruises on our Iglu Cruise website – offering an even wider choice of destinations and cruise holidays worldwide. As with anything that we offer, I was keen to experience and gain an understanding of what river cruising is all about. I was fortunate enough to spend two nights onboard AmaReina with APT, travelling from Budapest to Vienna and wanted to share my thoughts. I’ve previously been on quite a few ocean cruise holidays ranging from small six star ships to some of the biggest ships in the world.

 

River cruise with APT

 

The Cabin

I had a lovely cabin with a French balcony and a small balcony too. Very comfortable and compact with lots of storage and an Imac TV, that could be used as a computer too so you could take advantage of the free wifi!

 

The Ship

The AmaReina is a 5 star river cruise ship and carries under 200 guests with a crew of approximately 50 people. Facilities onboard were fairly typical for a river ship . The lower deck was home to the restaurant, a small fitness room, massage room and a speciality dining restaurant offering a delicious tasting menu. The upper deck featured a large lounge with bar, where you could eat light snacks throughout the day and that offered some musical entertainment in the evenings, and also featured a small shop and the reception area. Upstairs was a large, very luxurious sun terrace with sofas, deck chairs, covered areas and a bar. This ship was extra special as it even had a small plunge pool, with swim up bar! The crew were fantastic with very personal service.

 

River Cruise with APT

River Cruise with APT

 

The Cruise

I was on at the very start of a 14 night cruise, which ended up in Amsterdam. Ports were a mixture of larger cities (where we docked overnight) and smaller scenic ports. APT include all excursions in the price, which were a mix of city tours or something further afield. For the city tour, virtually the whole ship attended whereas there was a choice of 3-4 more specialist excursions the following day in smaller groups.

My itinerary for the 2 days were as follows:

Day 1: Arrive in Budapest and embark on the ship with a light lunch (soup, sandwiches and cakes) in the lounge. Free time in Budapest, where we visited the market. Pre dinner welcome at 6, then dinner at 7.30. We enjoyed a delicious tasting menu in the speciality dining venue. At 9pm there was an evening cruise through the Danube. We enjoyed this from the sun deck with a nice glass of wine! Then to the lounge for a drink and to listen to the pianist.

Day 2: Breakfast and then off the ship for a city tour of Budapest, that included a tour of the opera house and was a mixture of coach and walking. Then back onboard for a much needed lunch and washed down with local wine. The afternoon was spent sailing down the Danube and relaxing in the sunshine. Many enjoyed the views from their cabin or balcony and took the opportunity to have a nap or watch the latest movies (free in the cabin) or find out more about the different excursion choices on offer for the next few days. That evening there was a lovely welcome cocktail party from the Captain and the whole crew followed by dinner.

Day 3: A lazy morning sailing including through our first 2 locks of the trip. We arrived in Vienna after lunch and then everyone went on a city tour. The evening was going to be spent having an early dinner and then an (optional) private trip to the opera house for a recital. I sadly had to fly home to missed this.

Day 4: The morning was planned to be a choice of optional excursions in Vienna and the surrounding areas (choices included Bratislava or a chocolate tour). Then sailing on to the next port.

 

The Atmosphere

There was a very relaxed atmosphere onboard the ship - people got changed for dinner, but it was very casual. As there were less than 200 people on the ship, everyone dined at the same time and tended to all sit together on tables of 2-6 people.

The people onboard were from all over the world, well travelled and enjoyed exploring the destinations as well as enjoying relaxing between ports and enjoying the view from the ship as we sailed down the Danube. As the ships are small, it’s quite social and friendly and certainly not formal.

 

What’s Included?

With APT, all excursions, tips, wifi speciality dining and most drinks were included – there was a regional wine each day with dinner too.

 

The Verdict

The ships are much smaller than ocean cruise ships, this one had approx. 190 passengers onboard. They have the feeling of a small, boutique, floating hotel with a restaurant, lounge bar and sun terrace. The pace was a good mix of exploration and tours followed by relaxing cruising down the river and the views were sensational in the cities and beautiful in between. There isn’t a huge amount to do onboard as the emphasis is on relaxation and enjoying the view as you dine and enjoy music/drinks and learn about your destination. The age group onboard tended to be 55 plus and a mix of singles, couples and groups of friends (these ships don’t really cater for families). If you’ve cruised on a smaller cruise ship on the fjords and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and want to explore further afield, then this is a perfect choice for you as it does have a similar feel onboard. Many of the people onboard my cruise and had combined the cruise with a tour and a med cruise onboard cruise lines such as Seabourn, Cunard and Azamara cruises. In my short time onboard I enjoyed fine wine and food, explored 2 cities and a gentle cruise along the river and came back feeling very relaxed.

 

See also:

A day in Budapest

River cruise deals

Browse our river cruise blog




Top 5 Norwegian Fjords

7th May 2015

Updated March 2017

 

Best travelled by cruise, a trip to the Norwegian Fjords is a breathtaking experience that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, as you travel from one World Heritage site to the next.

Each fjord has its own unique beauty – we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you.

 

1. The Geirangerfjord

Majestic waterfalls and untouched beauty. The Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the country of Møre og Romsdal, north in Fjord Norway.

 

 

2. The Hardangerfjord

Near Bergen, in the middle of Fjord Norway, Hardangerfjord, or the ‘orchard of Norway’, is best known for summer skiing, and the spectacular fruit trees that blossom there in spring.

 

 

3. The Sognefjord

Located in the southern part of the country, the Sognefjord is the longest fjord adventure in Norway, at 204 kilometres long and 1,308 metres deep.

 

 

4. The Nærøyfjord

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Naeroyfjord is one of the most picturesque in the world.

 

 

5. The Lysefjord

Well known for the Preikestolen (the Pulpit rock), with dramatic views, Lysefjord is near to Stavanger, south in Fjord Norway.

 

 

View our Norwegian Fjords Cruises.

Been to the Fjords? We want to hear about it – please comment below.


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