Going on a VACAYA cruise is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing vacations you can take. The entire ship is full of LGBT guests and all staff have been extensively trained to provide you with a welcoming and gay-friendly experience. It’s a very open environment and one where you can relax both mentally and physically. The environment is friendly with a great social atmosphere and there is great entertainment throughout the trip.
VACAYA was founded and created by a small group of tourism and travel industry executives with more than 100 years of combined experience in entertainment, hospitality and travel. In fact, the core team of VACAYA spent many years working at Atlantis and RSVP before deciding the starting a new company with a different vision and offering.
Prior to VACAYA’s launch, Atlantis and RSVP were the only major players in the market of large, full-ship gay cruises. Atlantis acquired RSVP in 2007, so there wasn’t really much competition or change in the industry for years. VACAYA saw this as an opportunity to innovate and create a more unique product designed around diversity for the entire LGBT+ community. VACAYA currently offers 4 to 5 trips per year including a large, full-ship gay cruise along with several smaller ship, river cruises and resort stays. The inaugural cruise departed from New York City and traveled to Provincetown in the summer of 2019 on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship.
Why Take a VACAYA Gay Cruise?
- Easy to meet new people – one great aspect of taking a gay cruise is that most of the guests are friendly and open to meeting new people. On a straight cruise, guests come with friends or family and already have a social group established. On a gay cruise, there are many activities that help connect guests and give you a chance to meet new people.
- Travel alone – VACAYA offers a cabin match program where they will assign you a roommate, so you don’t have to pay the full price of a two-person room if you’re traveling alone.
- Awesome parties – you’ll be in for a treat with awesome parties. The events are usually themed, often outdoors and guests are encouraged to dress up.
- Great entertainment – most of the big gay cruise lines like VACAYA bring on big headliners or “gaylebrity” performers. Into drag queen bingo? How about performances from some of the top gay celebrity comedians, entertainers and famous drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race?
- Be yourself – probably one of the most attractive parts about a gay cruise is the comfort zone. The entire ship is full of LGBT guests and all staff have been extensively trained to provide you with a welcoming and gay-friendly experience. It’s a very open environment and one where you can relax and be yourself.
Is a Gay Cruise Right for You?
First, you need to decide whether taking a cruise, in general, is something you want to do. Not everyone likes cruising due to the nature of the experience, but many do. Second, if taking a cruise definitely interests you, next you’ll need to decide if you prefer a gay cruise or a mainstream cruise. Here are a few things to consider.
- Your cabin, meals and entertainment are included in the price
- The ship will be almost exclusively LGBT guests
- Cruises can be crowded and there isn’t a lot of privacy
- You can visit many new destinations in one trip, but you only have a short time at each port to explore
- Gay cruises can be a bit more expensive than mainstream cruises due to the elaborate parties and unique entertainment onboard
What to Expect from a VACAYA Cruise?
Determining which gay cruise or trip to take is completely subjective. People have different preferences, budgets or destinations in mind when it comes to booking a trip. VACAYA is still new to the market but they have made a huge splash and appear to have claimed a well-deserved spot in the gay travel industry. Whether it’s a large-ship cruise in the Caribbean or a luxury river ship in Europe, VACAYA charters the entire vessel. That allows them to fully customize the itinerary and to create unique entertainment and social activities that are the perfect fit for the LGBT+ community. Below are a few things to expect if you take a VACAYA gay cruise.
- Entertain focus – VACAYA cruises are entertainment-focused. They do throw good parties, but there are not as party-focused as Atlantis or Le Demence. The music tends to be more top 40 and pop themed, rather than electronic or circuit party music.
- Price – VACAYA cruises generally start out at about $900 per person for their large-ship cruises. Smaller ship and river cruises can range from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the specific trip and route. You’ll need to add the price of flights or transportation into your budget so the location of the departing and arrival port should be part of your planning process.
- Size – VACAYA cruises are either large or small full ship takeovers. If you’re someone who doesn’t like crowds, then you may want to avoid the larger VACAYA trips and opt for a more intimate experience on a small ship.
- What’s included – the price of a VACAYA cruise includes the cabin, meals, parties and onboard entertainment. These items are typically not included in the price: pre and post hotel stay, land tours and excursions, specialty drinks/alcohol and airport transfers.
- The crowd – VACAYA has really made an effort to be more inclusive of the entire LGBT+ community. They’ve seen some success and are definitely more diverse than Atlantis, RSVP or Le Demence. So far, their cruises are still about 80-90% gay men, compared to Atlantis who sees about 99% men. The other 10-20% of guests include lesbian, non-binary, trans and straight allies. Their main client market comes from the US, but people from all over the world go on their cruises. The average age range is usually mid 30’s and 40’s, but you’ll see guests of every age onboard ranging from 18 to 80.
Check out these videos created by guests on the inaugural VACAYA cruise.
- Our First Gay Cruise (VACAYA)
- My ‘LGBTQIAPK' Week at Sea with VACAYA
- My First Gay Cruise (VACAYA)
- VACAYA Ptown Inaugural Gay Cruise
- New travel company markets to entire LGBTQ+ community, including kink
Image credits: VACAYA