Eight upcoming cruises for queer women who need a vacation

The best cruises from September 2016 through January 2017

Three luxurious all-women Olivia cruises will take to the waves in fall and winter 2016. There’s also a once-in-a-lifetime small ship cruise in Myanmar for mixed LGBT and allies, courtesy of Brand G Vacation and a fun and flamboyant mixed LGBT Halloween cruise through the Caribbean. For those who want to mix it up with both a straight and LGBT crowd, check out the fabulous riverboat cruise from Montreal to New York as well as the European riverboat cruise option from Aquafest.

Many of these cruises will soon be waitlist-only, so check your calendar and your compass and decide in which direction you want to set sail.

Istanbul to Athens sailing

LGBT group

Sept 3–10, 2016

Brand G Vacations

Cruise the Mediterranean on a grand sailing yacht with billowing sails and a mixed LGBT-passenger list. The 277-passenger, 134-metre Royal Clipper allows all on board to enjoy amenities including three swimming pools, a drop-down sports deck, marble private baths and a marina platform for snorkelling and scuba diving. On the teak decks, hidden balconies allow for privacy while safety harnesses are provided to those who want to climb the mast. The Clipper sails from Istanbul, stopping at Canakkale, Turkey, then heading to the Greek towns of Myrina, Ouranoupolis, Skiathos, Mykonos and Poros, before reaching Piraeus, the port of Athens.

Ultra Luxury Canada and New England

LGBT group on board a mainstream cruise

Sept 23–Oct 2, 2016

Aquafest Cruises

Board the six-star Crystal Serenity (said to be the top cruise ship in the world), an ideal option for gay women and men based in Quebec and Ontario. This lovely fall option leaves Montreal and follows the flaming foliage to Quebec City as it sails east on the mighty St Lawrence River, past the Sept-Îles archipelago (home to the Innu people) at the mouth of the river and around Cape Breton to charming Halifax. Youll then continue west to Portland in Maine, south to Boston, around Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, to Newport on lovely Narragansett Bay, before finally gliding past the Statue of Liberty and docking in New York.

Pacific Coastal Cruise

All women

Sept 25–Oct 2, 2016

Olivia Cruises

Sail from Vancouver south to San Francisco via Seattle, then to Astoria, Oregon, gliding under the Golden Gate Bridge with a lineup of incredible onboard entertainers including The Mamas & Papas and Beach Boy progeny, Wilson Phillips, plus shipmates Betty DeGeneres, Elvira Kurt and Suzanne Westenhoefer. After an overnight in Fogtown, the cruise continues down the coast to Santa Barbara for some whale watching and/or winery hopping, ending in dynamic San Diego. Holland-America’s spacious 1432-passenger MS Zaandam has five restaurants, two pools and a packed Olivia entertainment schedule for time spent onboard.


Olivia Travel/Facebook

15th Annual Halloween Cruise

Mixed LGBT/Mostly gay men

Oct 30–Nov 6, 2016

Aquafest Cruises

While Aquafest is known for hosting LGBT groups on board mainstream cruises, this trip is an all-LGBT (mostly gay men) annual extravaganza, setting off from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and stopping at Grenada, St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Tortola, before sailing back to San Juan (with one day at sea). You’ll be among 2,400 partying passengers aboard for this seven-day southern Caribbean carouse with events including a Halloween costume contest and a gay and lesbian film festival. Also in-store are, themed dance parties, singles parties, lesbian get-togethers and couples get-togethers.

Danube Christmas Markets Riverboat Cruise

LGBT group on board a mainstream cruise

Dec 2–12, 2016

Aquafest Cruises

This hosted group of lesbians and gay men on board the stylish Crystal Mozart riverboat leaves Vienna for a splendid seasonal sojourn down the Danube. Expect the glühwein and carolling to flow as you are ferried through the stunning Wachau Valley to Melk, Linz (for Salzburg excursions), Passau, Vilshofen and back to Vienna for a bit more Christmas market gift shopping.

Windward Islands Luxury Cruise

All women

Dec 2–9, 2016

Olivia Cruises

Waterfall trails, reef dives and rare parrots are just a few of the attractions offered by this eight-day, seven-night thriller that loops around the southeastern Caribbean from Bridgetown, Barbados, Pigeon Island in St Lucia, St George’s in Grenada and a trio of stops in St Vincent and the Grenadines (Tobago Cays, Mayreau and Bequia). But it would be just as tempting to stay onboard — the sleek, chic five-star MS Wind Star is one of the most luxurious on the water.

Panama Canal Cruise

All women

Jan 7–14, 2017

Olivia Cruises

After departing Colón in Panama and navigating its way through the famed 51 mile-long Panama Canal, Windstar’s Star Breeze docks in Balboa/Fuerte Amador, known for its lush rainforest, secluded indigenous villages and colonial homes. You’ll also visit the World Heritage Site, Isla Coiba, and explores biodiverse Puerto Jiménez-Golfito in Costa Rica. Once those on board have kayaked through Puerto Jimenez-Golfito’s legendary canals — home to javelinas, butterflies and incredible orchids — the 212-passenger ship continues on to Corcovado National Park and the rugged coastline of Bahia Drake. Next, you’ll explore the beaches and trails of Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos and the rainforest of Puerto Caldera, where you might see quetzals, tapirs and sloths.

Golden Myanmar River Cruise

Mixed LGBT/Mostly gay men

Jan 30–Feb 10, 2017

Brand G Vacations

Brand G Vacations has a luxury small ship option for those wanting to see the watery wonders of the world in at a more relaxed pace. This 12-day excursion includes a nine-night cruise component. The 56-guest Irrawaddy Explorer leaves Yangon (formerly Rangoon) for Mandalay, offering a rare window into contemporary and historical Myanmar. It’s an incredible opportunity to experience the country’s capital, shrines and temples as well as a multitude of mountain pagodas, colonial gems, rural markets, oxcart excursions, caves and monasteries on a wonderful meander down the Irrawaddy and through fascinating land that’s still relatively un-tourist-trodden.

Brand G Vacations/Instagram

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