For the past week, I had the experience of a lifetime on board The Cruise by La Demence. Cruising the beautiful Mediterranean alongside some of the most attractive men I've ever seen, visiting some of the most historic and opulent cities of the world, building friendships that will last the rest of my life - these were all things that made by journey aboard incredibly special and one that I'll never forget.
Our trip began in beautiful Barcelona. Before I boarded the cruise ship - called the Sovereign - I spent an extra day exploring this incredible city. There was so much on offer in the city that natives affectionately call BCN. Most importantly, Barcelona is one of, if not the most, gay-friendly city in all of Europe.
I absolutely loved the amazing architecture in Barcelona, especially Gaudí’s Guëll Park. The medieval splendor of the Barrio Gótico was also incredibly impressive. And that was before I hit the gay beaches: Barceloneta or Mar Bella. There were so many sexy men along these beaches - and throughout the entire Eixample neighborhood! But even the incredibly attractive gay men on the beaches of Barceloneta and Mar Bella didn't hold a candle to the kind of men I was about to meet onboard the Sovereign.
Once I boarded the ship in Barcelona, I was transported to another world. It was one that was almost magical: fun, friendly, and sexy guys along with plenty of activities, good food, and the pleasant ambience of the Mediterranean. That's what set my cruise experience apart.
After embarking from Barcelona, the opportunities presented on this cruise become immediately clear. La Demence team has worked incredibly hard to create environment where anyone - singles, couples, or groups of friends - can relax, have fun, and enjoy every moment.
On the first night aboard the Sovereign, I danced the night away - and made new friends doing it! The DJs aboard the ship were some of the most talented I've encountered at any the best clubs in Los Angeles and New York; La Demence has gone to incredible lengths to ensure these musicians are perfectly suited to the gay audience and today's hottest beats.
I was pretty tired the first night, so I didn't hit the after party -- but the beats went on all night long and some of new friends said it was the time of their lives. I made a mental note and made sure I'd stay up past sunrise later in the trip.
We spent all of the second day of our journey at sea - and what a beautiful sea it is. The weather was perfect, which is typical for July and exactly why La Demence schedules their cruises for this time of year. I joined my cabinmate for a morning yoga session, which was led by an expert instructor. I'm relatively new to yoga but, despite being much more experienced than I am, the other guys in the class were incredibly friendly.
Some of the guys wanted to eat after yoga, so we grabbed lunch at one of the restaurants onboard the ship. Then, I went back to my cabin to rest and, let me tell you, it was absolutely perfect for on-board relaxation. Even though my room had just a single porthole to the sea, it still yielded a beautiful view of the Mediterranean. The queen bed was comfortable and opulent, and the en suite bathroom offered plenty in the way of essential convenience.
Most important, as a single on the cruise, I was assigned to share a cabin with someone I didn't know before. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but it was a match made in heaven. My cabinmate and I have already been staying in touch and I can't wait until we are able to reconnect when I visit his city in a few months time.
In the afternoon, I took it easy with an appointment at the onboard spa. I had one of the most relaxing facials I have ever gotten in my life and loved the opportunity to gab with new friends about all the exciting events that were taking place on the ship and in the world. It was incredible!
Still at sea, I had a nice dinner at one of the ship's a la carte restaurant. It was healthy, with plenty of choices and options that appeal to guys who eat clean. It was the perfect set up for another night dancing under the stars of the Mediterranean with some of the sexiest men I had ever met.
On Day 3, a couple of the guys I had met and the spa joined me to explore beautiful Málaga. The city was absolutely welcoming and we had a great time at many of the incredible historic and cultural sights. The architecture was incredible, especially the town's Gothic cathedral. One of my new friends was an art buff, so we also visited the city's Picasso museum. It was well worth it. Afterward, we shopped at several of Málaga's chic stores and I even cheated on my diet at one of the towns many modern bars by sampling fritura Malagueña, the delicious local fried fish. It was terrific!
I was stuffed so I skipped dinner back aboard and spent some time getting ready for the night ahead. And what a night it was! The DJs from the night before were back at it again and, with everyone starting to know each other, the dance floors were pulsing with the beats and the touch of so many attractive guys dancing together.
The next morning we arrived in Cádiz, a city that completely lived up to its historical reputation. My cabinmate and I took a side trip to the beautiful city of Seville, the capital of Andalucia, where we enjoyed an amazing lunch at one of its bodegas. When we got back to Cádiz, we still had time to take a walking tour of the historic city center. It's peppered with interesting artifacts from Christopher Columbus' time in the city as well as a plethora of very exotic plants!
When we got back aboard the ship, I was exhausted. But I rallied with some of my new friends to go to dinner at the Wú Fusion restaurant on board the Sovereign. The asian fusion food was incredible - the kind you'd get at the best restaurants in New York or Paris.
That set me up for an incredible night at the ship's Broadway Theatre. While cruise ship performances sometimes get a bad rap, the actors and dancers on board the Sovereign were absolutely incredible. I was spellbound and so was the rest of the audience. And I particularly loved the drinks that were served during the show; the cocktails were a perfect complement.
That night I stayed up late for the After Party on the pool deck. It was a blast, with hot guys and flowing drinks. There's a reason why La Demence calls the After Party - and all their incredible pool deck parties - Europe’s hottest and friendliest floating open-air gay party land. No detail was left unfollowed, down to the hot lights that showed off the even-hotter bodies on the dance floor. It was incredible.
We were at sea the next day, Day 5 of our trip. I woke up late, enjoyed a nice lunch, and then partied at the pool. The swimsuits were plenty revealing and the other sexy guys throughout the pool deck were all friendly and open to chatting. The drinks flowed and the sun shined - it was a perfect day!
In the afternoon, I went to the Tea Dance. There was a dance floor on the pool deck and the same DJ talent, but it was a more relaxed, light-hearted atmosphere perfect for the early evening hours. That night I enjoyed watching the High Heels Run across the ship. It was absolutely hilarious, and my friends and I couldn't stop laughing.
The next day we arrived in Ibiza. There's a reason this place is an incredible gay landmark. The beaches were incredible. Some of the hottest men flock to the Es Cavallet gay beach on the island every summer and with La Demence you get to see them up close and personal.
In addition, Ibiza's historic Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the friendly crew on the Sovereign helped steer me and my friends in the right direction so we knew exactly what sites to visit and what historic landmarks weren't worth our time.
Our stop in Ibiza was an incredible day on an incredible island. When we all grabbed a drink at dinner back aboard the ship, all my friends and I agreed that we couldn't wait to get back to Ibiza and that our journey had let us do it in one of the coolest ways possible.
I took a detour to the Sovereign's casino that night and - unexpectedly - had one of the best experiences of the whole trip. This isn't a dingy casino in the middle of nowhere, it's a pulsating, sleek and modern pleasure palace. The dealers were sexy and fun, the drinks were delicious, and the other gamblers were friendly and open. In short, it was everything I didn't expect but everything I loved about the entire trip.
That night I hit the greatest part of them all, an absolute blowout on the roof deck. I danced and partied with an incredibly sexy Australian - there are sexy guys from all over the world aboard the Sovereign - and had the time of my life doing it. (There's more to the story, but I'll leave that to your imagination!)
With that behind me, I prepared for our final stop: Valencia. Another city with a rich history, my friends and I loved the slower pace as we toured its historic old town. The modern museum complex (The City of Arts and Sciences) was particularly impressive.
Back aboard the ship, I couldn't believe that our journey was almost ending. The final night's parties were incredible, perfect for chatting with new friends and basking in the glory of the Mediterranean in summer. After this final tea dance, all my new friends and I crowded into the buffet for dinner - I think they saved the best food for last.
While this cruise definitely isn't cheap, it is incredible value for everything you get along with your journey. As I've mentioned the Sovereign is a nice cruise ship, the staff is friendly, the food is delicious, and the entertainment out of this world. There is something for everyone on this trip - and each day is a new and incredible adventure surrounded by other outgoing, fun gay men.
After experiencing The Cruise by Le Demence in 2016, I don't know how my life was ever complete without it. I am already planning on going on this once-in-a-lifetime trip next year and I'm working on convincing by best friends to do it with me. But whether you go as a single, a couple, or a pack of friends, you are guaranteed to having an amazing time.
Photo credit : Matthieu with Karlisworld