I am doing some research on a cruise to Alaska. I’ve always wanted to go there and it looks like I can get some decent rates if I book a month or six weeks in advance of the trip. Unfortunately, I probably have to travel as a single gay guy. I’d love to go with someone else, but since I’m not, I’d like some advice from all you world travelers about what cruise line might be right for me. It doesn’t have to be specifically a gay cruise. I jwant something calm, beautiful and peaceful where maybe I meet one or two other guys… Does anyone have any advice to give?
Cruise to Alaska
|by Anonymous||reply 33||March 20, 2023 12:03 AM|
Depending on how old you are --if under 60, you'll be among the youngest people on the ship (except for the youngins traveling with their grandparents). It's definitely not a party cruise. Scenery is beautiful. Do the excursions. Don't fuck the crew.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||March 18, 2023 4:24 PM|
I went on last year to Alaska and I really enjoyed it.
I went alone and I actually preferred it that way. I was afraid my parents were going to shoe horn themselves in. Not everyone likes doing the same thing and it is hard to schedule around that on a cruise.
I shelled out for a balcony room, and while I don't regret it, I don't know I would again. It is cool to sit out there for about 10 minutes and stare at the ocean and then that's it. You can't smoke out there. While there are privacy dividers, if there is someone next to you in the next room, they will hear every word you say.
I'd focus far more on getting a room that is close to stairs/elevator since these ships are massive and you will be doing a TON of walking if you are at the far end of the ship. Which isn't bad either, but I was annoyed with it towards the end of the cruise.
I was on Norwegian (the Encore), which I'm sure someone will come on and say it is the Walmart of the cruise industry, and ... while I would disagree, it is very low-key/relaxed. No set dinner times. No set dinner tables. No formal attire required anywhere. Eat when you want either at a sit down dining room, buffett, or a few casual restaurants. They did have more upscale choices (that you have to pay for in addition). I did hit a few of these as well, and they were nice. The food ranged from fine to pretty good.
The drinks (I got a drink package) were good. Never weak.
I did do a few excursions. Saw some whales, walked around Anchorage (tourist trap), etc, but the highlights of the trip were really on the ship. Saw a few shows, comedy acts, gambled a little, saw a movie, played some pretty cool high end video games/VR stuff, and pretty much roamed the ship for 7 days as a semi-drunk bum eating when I wanted. I would kill to live that that. :)
There is (as far as I know) almost always a gay meet function on most "regular" cruises called "Friends of Dorothy" and the time will be published on the ship newsletter. My cruise was half full (tail end of Covid) and there were around 20-30 guys who showed up the nights I went. It isn't a hook up thing (though I guess it would be better to say, that isn't why I went but ...) I talked to some guys, had drinks, had dinner with a few couples later in the cruise. It was nice.
The staff are all from Southeast Asia and speak English well. They are so nice and accommodating, I found it almost creepy. Like when someone is just too nice, and you are like "OK, what's your angle?"
It was before kids could be vaccinated so the cruise was adults only which was a huge plus. It was in September, so Alaska was "chilly" but not really cold. I liked it.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||March 18, 2023 5:27 PM|
CALLING THE VOICE OF THE NIGHT!
|by Anonymous||reply 3||March 18, 2023 5:28 PM|
See thread. Lots of good advice
|by Anonymous||reply 4||March 18, 2023 5:31 PM|
I have been invited to do one in September as well. I have been checking the prices and a single would be about 2,000 out of San Francisco. That is with sleeping in the cheapest cabin. I am not sure if it is worth it.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||March 18, 2023 5:54 PM|
The way I looked at it R5 (I paid around $2500) is that $2000=7 = $285 a night (with basically all food/entertainment included).
Pretty reasonable I think. Most hotels alone are in the $200-$300 a night range and they don't include shit.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||March 18, 2023 5:57 PM|
Take one of the Alaskan ferries BUT if you go the Aleutians understand you may have to deal with a volcanic event!
|by Anonymous||reply 7||March 18, 2023 6:04 PM|
I am a single gay guy, 41, who loves to travel alone. I haven't been into cruising, but have considered it. I would look in to more upscale cruises that potentially don't allow children. That would be a big one for me. I think with an Alaskan cruise, you are removing that sort of party, fun in the sun contingent. I have a feeling the crowd might skew older. The one thing that would be #1 is ensuring it isn't family style seating. I want my own table, etc. I would imagine people will probably come up to you and say hi. DL icon Roxanne Gay just went on it and while it was exhausting and full of whiteness everywhere (I'm sure she meant snow), even she conceded that she had a good time. She has a partner, but a lot of photos looked like she was on her own most of the time.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||March 18, 2023 6:10 PM|
It's a no for me.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||March 18, 2023 6:13 PM|
[quote]The staff are all from Southeast Asia and speak English well. They are so nice and accommodating, I found it almost creepy. Like when someone is just too nice, and you are like "OK, what's your angle?"
Their angle is TIPS!
|by Anonymous||reply 10||March 18, 2023 6:14 PM|
Tips were included when you book the cruise. They charge an extra 18 dollars a day for them. An idea I am not really liking.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||March 18, 2023 6:16 PM|
Regent 7 Seas. All inclusive. Excellent food and amenities. Ship on smaller side. 700-ish. And there are always other gay people.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||March 18, 2023 6:23 PM|
Regent 7 looks rather pricey.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||March 18, 2023 7:31 PM|
Norwegian Cruise Line has a number of ships that include single occupancy studios, with no single supplement charge. The rooms are all interior, in their own key-carded corridor, and they share a private lounge. Ships with studios that currently go to Alaska are the Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Encore.
I actually went on the inaugural voyage of the Bliss from Seattle to Alaska back in June 2018 and had a really good time overall.
The ship is enormous, but it was usually fairly easy to avoid the ravenous hordes. (The huge glass-enclosed observation lounges were my favorite hangouts on board.) My studio cabin was more-than-adequate, especially considering how little time I spent in it. It had a decent-size bathroom/shower and plenty of storage. The studio area also had a dedicated concierge and daily meetings were held in the studio lounge, so you could meet some of the other single travelers. As R2 mentioned, for the ship as a whole, there were daily "Friends of Dorothy" meetings in one of the bars/lounges that were put on by the cruise line. (It was the same on a Mediterranean cruise I took on Norwegian a few years before, so I suspect that is standard for the line.)
Note: You usually need to book the studios well in advance, as they are very popular. You may be able to score a regular stateroom at reduced cost closer to a departure date as the ships try to fill unsold rooms, but there is no guarantee that that will happen. An outside balcony room could be nice, but I really liked the focus on solo travelers in the studios. Norwegian really goes above & beyond catering to that market.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||March 18, 2023 8:07 PM|
[quote]Tips were included when you book the cruise. They charge an extra 18 dollars a day for them. An idea I am not really liking.
Oh, no, no, NO! They absolutely expect you to tip on top of that.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||March 18, 2023 8:21 PM|
How much of a tip are they expecting.?
|by Anonymous||reply 16||March 18, 2023 8:26 PM|
I'm following this thread. I'm looking for cruises that don't have set meal tables, but just eat anywhere. I'm single and I don't want to get stuck socializing with strangers.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||March 18, 2023 8:28 PM|
I think Norwegian is the only major line with "dine anytime," although that might have changed. But you don't have to sit with the same people all the time -- when I was traveling solo, I usually requested a table for one unless I was feeling especially sociable.
But remember that the main dining room is not the only option. There's the buffet, room service, and the pay-extra restaurants, as well as various snack bars and other venues.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||March 18, 2023 10:06 PM|
I took an Alaskan cruise up the Inside Passage (nyuk nyuk) and there was a defacto gay/lesbian bar. The bartenders were all hot Eastern European guys who did "flair bartending" which is ridiculous but amusing on a cruise. Hung out a couple of nights there and made friends with a pair of wealthy young sportif lesbians from Australia.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||March 18, 2023 10:35 PM|
You may want to check out Happy Gay Travel. They’re planning an Alaska cruise on Celebrity.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||March 18, 2023 11:00 PM|
Norwegian is by far the most recommended cruise line for solo travelers.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||March 18, 2023 11:02 PM|
All the passengers seem like old , really old. Just fly up there and hire a boat.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||March 18, 2023 11:24 PM|
My cruises so far:
-- Caribbean -- down as far as Trinidad (Holland America)
-- Alaska (Holland America)
-- Mexican Riviera - Cabo/Mazatlan/PV (Norwegian)
-- California Coastal (Princess)
-- Mediterranean - London to Rome and back (Princess)
-- Panama Canal - Ft. Lauderdale to L.A. (Princess)
-- New England/Canada - Brooklyn to Halifax and back (Princess)
-- South America - Buenos Aires to Santiago (Celebrity)
The last four I did solo.
While I enjoyed all of them, the only one I might do again is Alaska -- if only to do the add-on to Denali post-cruise. I didn't have enough time to do that one while I was working, but I'm retired now.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||March 18, 2023 11:27 PM|
You should just go, OP. If it’s something you want to do, do it. My mom and her boyfriend went on an Alaskan cruise and enjoyed it. I’d say my mom was around 60 and in good shape at the time.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||March 18, 2023 11:33 PM|
OP, I've been on 30+ cruises -nearly all as a solo traveler. Here's my advice, fwiw:
Book on Holland America. They are experts on Alaska, have beautiful ships, way better food, and are very gay friendly. The "traditional wisdom" is that HAL cruisers are all very old, but it's not really like that. Because it's a bit pricier it doesn't cater to kids (too much). I've sailed them on both straight and gay cruises, and even on the straight ones I met other gay cruisers (and even hooked up a few times).
Norwegian is cheaper, and their food has been really awful for the last few years. Nothing special at all. Their plus is entertainment. Often overrun with kids.
Princess is very hit or miss, with many longtime cruises giving it a pass now. It's gone downhill.
Royal Caribbean is good, but tends to have teeny-tiny cabins and they have recently announced food and service cutbacks.
Carnival used to be quite good for food and service, but unless you're on their newest ships they tend to be very run-down with much lower-level food and service since Covid. Expect a lot of kids. And noise.
Celebrity (currently my favorite cruise line) is more expensive than Holland America, but you get what you pay for. Better food and service, classier ships, and few kids.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||March 19, 2023 12:00 AM|
My first ever cruise was on Celebrity. I had a standard room to myself (it was last minute so no huge penalties) and I sat in the dining room at my own table. They have anytime dining, but you need to make reservation to be guaranteed a table. People were friendly and tried to chat me up to keep me company even though I’m perfectly fine dining solo. I think it’s all temperament. An extroverted person probably would get very lonely without a companion on the trip, but someone intentionally looking for that escape and solitude can 100% benefit from a solo cruise holiday. I actually feel sorry for people who travel in huge groups because there’s always someone getting shafted and forced to participate in activities they don’t give a damn about. Sometimes you just need a nap or some downtime by the pool. I had to stop traveling with certain friends and family after my 20s because we just had different travel styles and interests, and I’m willing to pay more for certain experiences. Friends either can’t afford it and family just lectures you on wasting money because they don’t appreciate the same things. I work too hard to not enjoy my PTO because of other people, so certain trips are for me and I don’t tell people about them until I’m already there in order to avoid lectures and tag alongs.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||March 19, 2023 12:56 AM|
Of course you can always bring along a rentboy.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||March 19, 2023 1:51 AM|
Why anybody in the universe would still want to go on a cruise in the age of Covid and monkeypox and HRV is just beyond me.
They're basically petri dishes.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||March 19, 2023 3:54 AM|
You say that, R28, but the facts prove you wrong. Millions and millions of passengers sail these ships each year, and very few get sick with anything more than seasickness. When things do happen, of course it makes the headline news. Just like plane crashes. But that is sensationalism, not actual risk. By all means DON'T go on a cruise if you don't want to, but please try and come up with a more valid reason than the old "petri dishes" argument. Besides, here on Datalounge that argument is reserved for hating on bathhouses...
|by Anonymous||reply 29||March 19, 2023 5:42 PM|
[quote]Oh, no, no, NO! They absolutely expect you to tip on top of that
At least on my cruise R15, the tip was "pre-billed" as R11 said, and there was no way to tip them otherwise, as the slips you sign for don't have a place for a tip (and you can't even use your credit card on the ship - you use your room card).
You could leave cash I suppose, but almost no one carries cash anymore.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||March 19, 2023 7:50 PM|
You're expected to leave cash on the last day of the cruise for your cabin steward. They usually even give you an envelope to remind you.
You can tip your waiter/maitre d'/wine steward on the last day as well, assuming you've made use of their services on a regular basis.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||March 19, 2023 11:30 PM|
Gratuities are “pre-paid” on most cruises today.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||March 19, 2023 11:32 PM|
[quote]You're expected to leave cash on the last day of the cruise for your cabin steward. They usually even give you an envelope to remind you. You can tip your waiter/maitre d'/wine steward on the last day as well, assuming you've made use of their services on a regular basis
Yeah ... I'm not doing that.
If they weren't pre-paid I would, but tipping is already out of control and I'm not tipping twice.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||March 20, 2023 12:03 AM|