5 Wacky, Scandalous Theme Cruises

by Fran Golden

5 Wacky, Scandalous Theme Cruises

by Fran Golden

A theme cruise can help you dive deeper into a personal interest — from knitting to music and even a favorite TV show. (Yes, we're thinking of “The Walking Dead”-themed “Walker Stalker” cruise.) But other theme cruises take the concept of exploration at sea with like-minded fellow passengers further than others. Case in point: These five cruises celebrate edgy, unusual, possibly shocking themes ... not that we’re judging. Hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

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Naked cruising / iStock / MrPants
Desire Resort's Playroom
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1. Swingers

Adults-only swingers cruises are a growing trend, and options include sailings in the Caribbean and Europe as well as river cruises. The latest entrant is Cancun-based Desire Resorts, which is taking its couples-only, clothing-optional milieu to sea with an erotic “Desire Venice Foreplay” cruise on Azamara Quest in the Mediterranean. The operator promises “Pumping Pool Parties,” “spicy” theme nights, meet and greets, custom shows and performances, and “Intense Icebreakers.” If all goes your way, you can celebrate in the signature “playrooms.” If this sounds like your kind of vacation, you can also check out a Bliss Cruise or a Swinger Cruise.

Adults-only swingers cruises are a growing trend, and options include sailings in the Caribbean and Europe as well as river cruises. The latest entrant is Cancun-based Desire Resorts, which is taking its couples-only, clothing-optional milieu to sea with an erotic “Desire Venice Foreplay” cruise on Azamara Quest in the Mediterranean. The operator promises “Pumping Pool Parties,” “spicy” theme nights, meet and greets, custom shows and performances, and “Intense Icebreakers.” If all goes your way, you can celebrate in the signature “playrooms.” If this sounds like your kind of vacation, you can also check out a Bliss Cruise or a Swinger Cruise.

2016 Drag Stars at Sea Caribbean sailing
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2. Drag

Drag Stars at Sea is a biannual cruise, with one in Europe and the other in the Caribbean. (In 2017, the Caribbean sailing is on a Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Crystal trip to Cuba. Organized by Al and Chuck Travel, the cruises are hosted by the stars of Logo TV’s “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” as well as other divas, such as Derrick Barry, Michelle Visage, and Robbie Turner. The cruise includes theme parties, shows, and special shore excursions, and you can sign up for small-group VIP dinners with the stars for an extra fee.

Drag Stars at Sea is a biannual cruise, with one in Europe and the other in the Caribbean. (In 2017, the Caribbean sailing is on a Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Crystal trip to Cuba. Organized by Al and Chuck Travel, the cruises are hosted by the stars of Logo TV’s “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” as well as other divas, such as Derrick Barry, Michelle Visage, and Robbie Turner. The cruise includes theme parties, shows, and special shore excursions, and you can sign up for small-group VIP dinners with the stars for an extra fee.

2015 Gothic Cruise
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3. Goth

Sponsored by Carpe Nocturne magazine, the Gothic Cruise is an annual sailing for those who love the dark and mysterious. This year’s theme is Hell Freezes Over, with participants meeting up on an Alaska sailing out of Seattle on the Carnival Legend. Events include a masquerade ball and performances by bands The Gothsicles and Stoneburner. For an extra fee, you can get married at sea in a Wiccan or pagan ceremony. 

Sponsored by Carpe Nocturne magazine, the Gothic Cruise is an annual sailing for those who love the dark and mysterious. This year’s theme is Hell Freezes Over, with participants meeting up on an Alaska sailing out of Seattle on the Carnival Legend. Events include a masquerade ball and performances by bands The Gothsicles and Stoneburner. For an extra fee, you can get married at sea in a Wiccan or pagan ceremony. 

Chumley's Bear Cruise in Princess Cays
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4. Bears

Bear sailings have nothing to do with the furry animals that live in cold climates. Instead, these cruises gather groups of large, hairy gay or bisexual men and those who are looking to meet them. There are options in the Mediterranean and Caribbean as well as river cruises. Rather than buying out the whole ship, these groups typically have cabins located in the same area and special onboard events, such as a “Bear Den.” There are optional group shore excursions and the group dines together ... we suspect it will be pretty easy to find your party in the dining room, too.

Bear sailings have nothing to do with the furry animals that live in cold climates. Instead, these cruises gather groups of large, hairy gay or bisexual men and those who are looking to meet them. There are options in the Mediterranean and Caribbean as well as river cruises. Rather than buying out the whole ship, these groups typically have cabins located in the same area and special onboard events, such as a “Bear Den.” There are optional group shore excursions and the group dines together ... we suspect it will be pretty easy to find your party in the dining room, too.

Bikini left on the beach
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5. Nudity

A naked cruise is just what it sounds like: You’ll find nudity at the pool, on the rock-climbing wall, in the theater, at the casino, and in the gym. You’ll want to do your research carefully because while some nudist cruises are just about letting it all hang out, others are more geared toward swingers. The annual Big Nude Boat in the Caribbean (in 2017 on Carnival Pride) features events such as a full-day “Nudapalooza” party, a Jimmy Buffett-themed beach party, and a “Naked Man,” with Hula-Hoops, body painting, and drumming. But you won’t be nude every minute of every day: You will be required to at least wear a towel to dinner. Now that’s what we call an informal night dress code.

A naked cruise is just what it sounds like: You’ll find nudity at the pool, on the rock-climbing wall, in the theater, at the casino, and in the gym. You’ll want to do your research carefully because while some nudist cruises are just about letting it all hang out, others are more geared toward swingers. The annual Big Nude Boat in the Caribbean (in 2017 on Carnival Pride) features events such as a full-day “Nudapalooza” party, a Jimmy Buffett-themed beach party, and a “Naked Man,” with Hula-Hoops, body painting, and drumming. But you won’t be nude every minute of every day: You will be required to at least wear a towel to dinner. Now that’s what we call an informal night dress code.

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