November 21, 2017

DAVIE VILLAGE POST Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada LGBTQ2+ Hub
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How cruise lines are catering to vacation-seeking LGBT couples

Some tour companies, such as Olivia, offer exclusive gay and lesbian cruises. Some LGBT couples have found cruises to be more inclusive than resorts.
Photo Credit To Olivia
Finding safe destinations as an LGBT couple can be tricky, but cruise lines are becoming increasingly welcoming.

When my partner and I went to buy our first car together, the Hyundai sales associate was confused by our relationship. I’m of East Asian descent and my partner is Caucasian. We look nothing alike, but still, the salesman asked, “Are you sisters?” These uncomfortable interactions happen to almost every same-sex couple. For the most part, they’re rare in our everyday lives. We only think about awkward moments such as these when we plan our vacations.

Last year, we decided to escape a particularly nasty winter with a trip to warmer weather. In our eight years together, we had never taken a sun vacation and we didn’t know where we should go. We just knew that we wanted the pleasures of an all-inclusive environment and we wanted to not only feel safe, but welcomed as a couple.

Online, I read other LGBT couples’ accounts of awkward check-ins when hotel staff asked if they wanted separate beds or questioned their relationship. Even worse, there were stories of resort staff harassing same-sex couples, sometimes forcing them to end their holidays early.

We already knew that countries such as Jamaica were especially unfriendly toward gays. It was only in 2004 that the couples-only resort company Sandals quietly allowed same-sex couples as guests – a year before Canada legalized same-sex marriage. This, combined with reports of homophobia at various on-land spots, left us feeling unenthusiastic about vacationing at a resort.

We ultimately chose to take a five-day cruise over staying at an all-inclusive resort because we thought it would be more LGBT-friendly. I read message board threads on CruiseCritic.com assuring me that ships welcomed gay couples and most cruise lines hosted LGBT happy hours.

When we boarded the Caribbean Princess ship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., we had no plans except to relax with frozen pina coladas and go on preplanned excursions at our two ports of call. In Costa Maya, we would tour Mayan ruins and in Playa del Carmen, we’d have a chance to see the breathtaking underwater caves in Rio Secreto.

At the first LGBT get-together, we were surprised by the number of attendees. Aboard our ship, we were significantly younger than the average traveller but there were dozens of queer passengers of all ages at the cocktail event. It was here that we met Ellen and Judy, a retired couple from Brooklyn, N.Y., who had recently got married.

Post source : ANDREA CHIU, Globe & Mail

About The Author

Rick has lived in Vancouver since 1991 - first off Commercial Drive and now in Renfrew Heights - with his husband of 34 years, Dan. He has a background in travel, an interest in LGBT history, and a fondness for all that is geek. As co-publisher of Davie Village Post, he looks for stories and news which are relevant to LGBT Vancouver, and invites you to submit your items and ideas.

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