After our last gay cruise with Atlantis Events we sat down and talked about all the different types of people on board and how incredible it was to see everyone be themselves, free from outside judgement.
We reached out and asked the community for their own personal experiences on-board the Atlantis gay cruise and had an overwhelming amount of responses.
One response that really stood out was from Jon and Blake from Oregon.
They have been on three gay cruises and have seen their relationship develop over time. They shared some incredibly interesting and refreshing insights in our interview below.
To read about other types of people on a gay cruise, head over to ‘Who goes on a gay cruise‘ where we have spoken to everyone from solo travellers, to couples, throuples and groups of friends.
Over to Jon and Blake to talk about cruising as an open gay couple:
Cruising as a Gay Couple: An Interview with Jon and Blake
Hi guys, thanks so much for offering to speak with us. Please could you introduce yourselves to our readers.
Hi there, I’m Jon, here with my husband Blake, in Portland, OR by way of NM and AZ.
We’ve now been together just over 10 years.
Can you tell us a little about your cruises with Atlantis to date?
We first joined the Atlantis cruise family in 2018, so this was our third consecutive “January cruise.”
Our first was as a closed, engaged couple in an 8 year relationship. We went with a group of about 30 friends, and as we were considered a more ‘uptight’ couple, they weren’t sure whether we would come along!
By our second cruise, much of that group had decided not to return, though with a few carryovers, friends, and others we had met on the 2018 cruise, our orbit continued to grow.
Just a few months prior to the cruise, we had begun discussing the idea of an ‘open’ relationship, in part from exposure to it via coupled friends, and in part, via the 2018 cruise.
We went into the 2019 cruise having decided we would be more open-minded to such situation as we were presented with them – as long as we remained communicative and sensitive to each other’s emotions throughout.
Ultimately, it took us a few days to feel comfortable with this new situation, but we did end up playing a little – coincidentally with a partner of another couple we connected with.
I mention this because that experience was our first organic connection as an ‘open’ couple, allowing us to start finding our new path.
A year later, we boarded Atlantis 2020 firmly established in a strong, happy, fulfilling, and exciting relationship, open to connections, personalities, and experiences, and even more committed and in love with each other!
That’s really interesting that you have experienced the cruise during so many stages of your relationship. Starting with when you were closed, how did you find being a monogamous couple on board the ship (any challenges)? Some people have commented in the past to say ‘’why would you go on a gay cruise as a monogamous couple’’
That first year was a bit challenging for us. We were a monogamous couple, joining our first gay cruise in our early/mid-30’s and not in the best shape. We definitely had preconceptions, had never been to anything like a circuit party before and so didn’t know what to expect!
Our friends kept info to a minimum pre-cruise, and literally threw us into the deep end!
Throughout this first cruise, we never considered or discussed our relationship beyond the context of its current monogamous status.
Instead, we found ourselves observing everything going on around us with true fascination, then diving deep into our own ideas and perceptions of a ‘relationship,’ and how we viewed ours in this new context.
It truly was eye-opening to see so many intelligent, rational men seem so very happy in what seemed to us to be strong, loving, emotionally-conscious, non-monogamous relationships, and it began a period of introspection that led us here today.
Regarding life onboard, we found most every other person we spoke with to be both very friendly, and very respectful of our monogamy.
Unlike other obvious indicators on this cruise, there is nothing outside the T-dance that tells anyone where you are in your relationship journey, and because of the highly sexualized nature of the environment, it is a topic that can come up in general conversation.
Actually, that’s part of the fun of this cruise – there is no topic too private for the elevator!
Ultimately, you have to be comfortable enough with your relationship that you’re not thrown into a jealous rage at the sight of some jockstrap’d 25 year old slapping your husband’s butt as you both walk to your special dinner date in actual shirts and (gasp!) pants.
But you also don’t have to worry about being assaulted, berated, criticized, or judged by anyone around you for not playing along with the free-for-all attitude many take, either.
Very true – it’s very much a ‘live and let live’ situation. How did you find being an open couple on board the ship in comparison? Did you find anyone was judgemental about it?
In our second, ‘semi-open’ cruise, the most stand-out of moments were those where one or both persons in another relationship opened up to us in conversation – whether on the dance floor, at dinner, by the pool, in the elevator – about their own open and closed relationships.
Everyone was happy to share a little about their own journey in an effort to help us better understand where we were in ours.
All we felt at the time were feelings of love and acceptance of whoever we were, well-wishes on our future, and an occasional offer to play!
While also continuing to shape our intellectual and emotional concepts of openness, these interactions also allowed us opportunities to become more comfortable with physical openness, particularly with each other and a third.
Here on our third cruise, we’re not close to our journey being over, so we entered it having decided that we’d be open to any experience that approached us, deciding there and then if it might be for one, both, or neither of us.
We had safeties in place, but honestly, we ended up having so much fun at the parties each night, and exploring with old and new friends all day, that the details and mechanics of our relationship, and its continually-progressing status, simply melted away into a week of such brilliant fun that we never had need of them!
We simply enjoyed the company of each other, and others, in all its forms, as we moved into and out of each others’ orbits at any given moment of the week.
It was truly the most fun we’ve had in our lives, and yet another level-up in our relationship.
We even made the comment mid-week that the cruise, and the community and experiences on it, had actually helped us strengthen our relationship far beyond anything we’d ever expected, and never threatened to tear it down.
And to the idea that others may have been judging our openness, honestly, we never noticed one way or the other.
We were always accepted into every social circle we attempted to enter, even if just for a quick ‘hello!’, and have never felt it another way.
So in your experience, out of all the other couples you met, were many of them also open? Do you think the cruise suits one type of couple better or is the cruise for everyone as long as they are happy?
We’re the first to admit that regardless of how much we’ve tried to meet and experience as many different people, groups and situations as possible in three cruises, there always seems to be more around the next corner, down the other hallway, and on the floor above…it’s part of what keeps us coming back!
But the cruise seems to be made up of thirds.
1/3 are there for the ship, the ports, and the relaxation amongst an exciting and accepting community.
1/3 are there for a bit of that, but also a few parties.
The remaining third are there for the parties, with a few other cruise activities sprinkled in.
So, we strongly believe that the cruise is what you want to make of it…there are others onboard just like you, who or what-ever you are, or want to be for the week; you simply have to acknowledge that, and make an effort to find and engage with them.
As far as this applies to couples along the continuum of monogamy, we feel that if you approach the cruise willing to learn about each other and your relationship, be open to experiences, and choose to strengthen your bond, you may find that it to be the best opportunity to grow you ever had.
What made the Atlantis cruise special for you?
It’s evolved a little over the three cruises we have been on.
On our first, it was the rapid-fire exposure to a community of incredible, friendly, happy, and fascinating people from all over the world, flocking to over-the-top parties in amazing costumes, dancing until morning to unbelievable music, floating in the sea on the worlds largest ship.
Truly an astonishing experience, like nothing we’d seen before!
The second cruise took all that, then added the pleasure of a growing ‘cruise family,’ who amplified the feelings of love and community.
It also was a cruise of personal and relationship growth, leaving us in a place where we could begin a new phase of our lives.
The third brought together so many of our new friends from cruise and circuit families from all over the world, gave us the opportunity to become ‘Cruise Daddies’ to three of our good friends, helping them discover their own 1st cruise magic, and to continue exploring and growing in our own way, strengthening our bond in ways I never thought possible.
This to us is what makes these cruises special…they grow with you, being whatever you want or need them to be, just when you need it.
Will you be returning?
HA. While we thought 2019 would be our last, we had re-booked our room by the end of it, with the same happening this year.
While we travel extensively, and include parties regularly, we’ve simply decided that these cruises provide the best combination of parties, community, relaxation, and convenience, so we’ll be on them for the foreseeable future.
Anything else you want to add?
As in life, but amplified on the cruise, is the idea that your interactions with others are shaped by your ‘energy’ in those interactions.
Your attitude and approach-ability, countenance, body language, even attire, signal to the other 5000+ men on the ship who you are, what you are, and how you play…but wherever you sit on any spectrum, always say “hello!”
Jon and Blake x
We couldn’t agree with Jon and Blakes sentiments more.
Interviewing these guys has been an incredibly insightful experience and the level of emotional intelligence in articulating their responses a fantastic way to help explain a type of relationship some people are too quick to disregard.
When it comes to going on a gay cruise, this is the one of the main reasons we love it. It breaks down all the barriers of society and gives you the freedom to question, experiment and grow in a safe space.
For more gay cruise experiences from solo travellers, other couples, throuples and groups of friends, head over to ‘Who goes on a gay cruise‘ to learn SO much more. People have had a LOT to say!
We hope to see you next year!
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