Since our very first cruise back in 2018 we have both been absolutely sold on this unique way of holidaying, and we have been on multiple gay friendly cruises since, with a number of different operators. [no_toc]
Whilst we have cruised onboard Royal Caribbean ships previously, these have always been chartered cruises booked through Atlantis Events – gay cruises, with onboard themed parties, circuit-esque style parties, dancing the night away etc – and so slightly different experiences than booking a Royal Caribbean cruise directly!
As such, we were really keen to have a ‘true’ Royal Caribbean cruise experience when we sailed with them recently. We were especially keen to see how they compared as gay-friendly cruises to other companies we have sailed with.
Safe to say, we had the most amazing time! Whilst every second onboard was incredible, and it was a week of pure luxury, here are our top 5 highlights of our gay-friendly Royal Caribbean cruise.
Which ship did we sail on?
We spent 7 days onboard Royal Caribbeans beautiful Harmony of the Seas.
Harmony is an ”Oasis-Class” ship – one of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise-liners, with 18 decks and a total passenger capacity of over 6700 guests!
It’s no surprise that cruise liners are often referred to as floating cities!
Our Top 5 Highlights of Our Gay Friendly Cruise
1. The Food
We are total foodies. We love eating out and experiencing new restaurants and different cuisines, especially when we’re on holiday! This is no different when we’re on a cruise, and onboard Harmony of the Seas, the food was out of this world.
Even main dining room that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner is akin to fine dining. All food served here is complimentary (included in your cruise fare) and you can order as many courses as you like. Can’t decide between 2 different starters? Order both! There are new dishes on the menu each night, so even if you opt to eat here every night of your cruise rather than trying the other restaurants, you won’t repeat a course!
Harmony of the Seas also has a huge range of Speciality Dining options that are available for upgrades, or you can pay as you go. Should your cruise include onboard credit this can also be put towards speciality dining.
Our favourites were the beautiful and elegant 150 Central Park, and Wonderland, serving imaginative cuisine – think dishes giving off dry ice, meals served as liquids – all listed on a menu that you can’t read until you have brushed it with a magical paintbrush!
2. The Drinks
No judgements please, but I’m sure you will agree, no holiday is complete without a cocktail or two, and there is certainly no shortage to be found onboard!
Harmony of the Seas has more bars than I have fingers, and we certainly did the rounds over the course of the week!
The Bionic Bar was a personal favourite of ours – sit back and order a tailor-made drink on the tablet mounted at your table and watch the robot-bartenders get to work!
We also loved the ‘Rising Tide’ bar, which moved between three decks at the centre of the ship.
3. Shows, Entertainment and Activities
There is never a dull moment onboard a cruise! Of course, most days you have a port of call where you can choose to disembark and spend a day ashore exploring, but for the days at sea you can easily fill every minute should you wish!
You can fill your days relaxing poolside, rock climbing, zip lining, trying out the Flowrider, working out in the fitness centre – the list goes on and on (just bear in mind the activities and facilities can vary from ship to ship – our list is based on what we experienced onboard Harmony of the Seas).
At night, we loved sitting sipping martinis in the piano bar listening to live music with a different theme every night, ranging from divas to Disney. We also thoroughly enjoyed watching headline acts such as the Celine Dion tribute act, and of course the big number ‘’Broadway-style’’ shows such as Grease.
We were lucky enough to experience two different accommodation types during our week.
We spent the first few days in a beautiful, spacious balcony cabin, before being upgraded to a simply stunning luxurious loft suite split across two levels.
The loft suite comes with exclusive perks such as being allowed to take meals in the smaller, more exclusive Coastal Kitchen restaurant rather than the main dining room, and the services of a concierge for any help or assistance you may need, rather than having to visit Guest Services.
However, there is accommodation onboard to suit all requirements – standard inside cabins, outside with sea views, balcony, connecting family rooms etc, and they are all equipped with everything that you need for your holiday.
5. The Service
The service onboard a cruise is second to none. We were so well looked after from morning until night. Even sat around the pool, you don’t need to go to the bar – the drinks come to you!
This is especially noticeable in the restaurants – the staff know everything about the menu – which is why it reminds us so much of fine dining. Everywhere you walk onboard you are acknowledged with a smile and a ‘hello’ – it is completely reminiscent of staying in a deluxe 5* hotel – but better!
Did we find Royal Caribbean gay-friendly?
Quite simply, yes.
If we had to think of one main reason why, we would put this down to the service. As we have mentioned already, the service onboard is top notch, and every member of staff that you come into contact with during your cruise will do everything possible to give you the best experience.
This goes hand in hand with the members of staff treating every guest equally, making you feel welcomed onboard, and as a result we felt completely at ease travelling as a gay couple. We felt completely relaxed during our week onboard, even strolling around the ship hand in hand without a second thought. In fact, we even noticed a few other gay couples doing the same!
In addition, on the first day of our cruise, Royal Caribbean also hosted an LGBTQ+ Meet Up in one of the bars which was great to see! It was also good that this was held so early on in the sailing, as it means guests have a chance to connect with fellow LGBTQ+ passengers from the off, so they can see familiar faces during the course of their cruise.
Royal Caribbean are also a Pride 365 champion committed to be authentic supporters of the LGBTQ community all year round. They have recently made new pledges and commitments both within their own business and in the wider society.
It really was a week of pure luxury and relaxation from start to finish. Cruising remains one of our favourite ways to travel, and our week onboard Royal Caribbeans Harmony of the Seas has only solidified that even more.
We can’t wait to get back onboard again soon!
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