BY Jon Barrett
March 09 2010 8:00 AM ET
Prior to last spring, the only ocean cruise I’d ever taken was a 1993 Christmastime trip with my folks. I had a terrific time—I mean, it definitely beat spending that same winter week in Boise, Idaho. But after seven days on the Carnival ship, it was pretty clear that “every mornin’, every evenin’, ain’t we got fun”–style cruising wasn’t a good fit for my boyfriend and me. And the next logical alternative—the gay cruise—seemed too too…
Now that I’m trying, it’s difficult to articulate my hesitation. It certainly wasn’t that I thought a gay cruise would be too gay; I don’t think anything can be too gay. It’s more that I didn’t think a boat abounding in feather boas, rainbow flags, and shouts of “hey, girls” was my idea of vacation (I have a similar aversion to New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras accoutrements).
I also was weary of what I assumed about the onboard entertainment—nonstop Whitney, Madonna, Beyoncé, and Britney tunes that were perfectly remixed to keep the boys dancing and my cabin reverberating.
But if I’m to be honest with myself, I think I was most worried that I’d stick out like a board-shorted sore thumb in a sea of Speedo-clad gay gods. I’d seen the ads for the gay cruise lines—in this and other magazines—and I knew as well as anyone else that I didn’t look like that. With abs that resemble a two-liter bottle more than a six-pack, how could I possibly relax on a gay cruise?
You know where this story is going, though, don’t you? Last April, I was invited on RSVP Vacations’ Mexican Riviera Cruise (with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta), and my preconceived notions about gay cruising immediately turned into gushing clichés when I got on board.