The third French gay cruise just returned safely. On September 09, after a final and silent morning drive along the Riviera under a blazing sun, the Orient Queen is slowly approaching its 16000 tons from pier 181 of Marseille port, before stopping.
On the upper decks and in the lounges, passengers are exchanging email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook details. On the platform, in a few vivid and precise gestures, sailors and dockworkers moor the ship, which touches ground for the last time during this cruise, which began precisely 10 days earlier
Yann, winner of our sweepstake & Stéphane Loiselier, organizer of the french gay cruise on the day of departure, in Marseille © myGayTrip.com
By looking at these wet eyes and endless hugs, it is easy to understand that this third edition of the gay cruise organized by the gay travel agency Attitude Travels is, again, a succesful bet. Stéphane Loiselier, the man in charged, is thrilled : "I'm exhausted, but the atmosphere was so amazing ! I managed what I wanted to do : bring together all types of gay in an extraordinary human adventure". We were able to verify it : the magic of the cruise once again operated.
Magic stops, to get started: from the steaming flanks of Mount Etna in Sicily to the walls of Kotor, from the walls of Dubrovnik to the cliffs of Malta, from the Venetian balconies of Corfu to the ancient streets of Split, the passengers of the Orient Queen discovered architectural wonders and beautiful sceneries.
MS Orient Queen in the port of Kotor, Montenegro © myGayTrip.com
Two moments come back to our minds : the slow progress of the ship in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, a totally surprising natural spectacle, and entry into the majestic port of Valletta, Malta. From from both sides of the ship, the ancient city, dominated by dozens of towers, decorated with flags and banners.
Magic of sailing, then. You must have found yourself leaning against a railing, at sunset or at sunrise, with only the sea as far horizon, to understand the peace that comes over you at this time. There were two nights of bad sea but the anti-seasickness pills help you forget the inconvenience.
Magic of a gay cruise, finally, since a gay cruise is a bubble of freedom, a unique moment that gays, lesbians, transgender and straight people decided to share, far away from their daily lives. On this boat, they were offered 10 days of life on hold. As Gaetan, one of the passengers, said to us : "I find that this cruise means a lot of freedom : you feel free to be yourself, who you are, as you are." They came from all accros France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, with an average age above 40 years.
MS Orient Queen at sea, south of Corfu © myGayTrip.com
There was magic and there were a few grunts. MS Orient Queen, which was not originally chosen by Attitude for this gay cruise, was obviously out of the league of its predecessor, MS Bleu de France. For some regulars, this was too much and Stéphane Loiselier had to face the controversy. "Yes, the boat was not up to my passengers. But I stand to it. I'm not hiding. And I note again that the success of this cruise is all about the quality of its passengers. "
This has certainly not spoiled the fun for the vast majority of passengers. Almost 60% of them set foot for the first time on a gay cruise and discovered the particular rythm of life on a ship.
Sports class with Sébastien in the loungs of MS Orient Queen
It all starts with breakfast, indoors or outdoors on the Horizon deck. Then morning tour, if the boat is docked, sunbathing around the pool, or tanning on the clothing optional deck. A little exercise with Sébastien, the sports teacher. It's already time for lunch, buffet in the sun, a nap, a book, a film session or a dance class. In the afternoon, even more activities: dj around the pool, theme tea dances, bingo hosted by the tireless Yvette Leglaire, the Madame Loyal of this cruise, surrounded by Victor and Gary, her sexy dancers and body guards.
From 7:00 PM, passageways start to go crazy. The first costumed passengers come out of their cabins. Every night a new theme : pink, aliens, Venice Carnival or even disco. This year's saw a real explosion of creativity among passengers, some costumes would have fitted in the backstagesof the top Parisian cabarets. Loïc*, for example, just learned to use a sewing machine one week before departure and drew some of the most amazing costumes of this cruise for himself and his friend.
Everyone plays the game It's about being in harmony with the rest of the passengers. For those who forgot to bring some costume, the duty free shop offers accessories and costumes that can make it up at the last minute.
Back from a stop in Messina (Sicily) © myGayTrip.com
Past 8:00 PM, everyone in costume! The passangers then divide in two, dinner or entertainment: it is the outstanding feature of this Attitude french gay cruise, the presence on board of theater and cabaret artists who perform in front of the passengers every night, in exceptional circumstances . This year the troupe of Venus Show, the players of "Sauna Le Musical" or "A voix et à Vapeur", of "Peep Show Music" or the play "Un coeur en herbe", all played in Paris theaters.The theater is full every night. At 10:00 PM, those who dined come to the show, the others are off to dinner.
Dinner in costumes, like every night during the cruise © myGayTrip.com
Dinner is actually the highlight of the day. Tables compete with costumes, makeup, eccentricity ... Unaccustomed to this folklore, the waiters laugh, slum it a little, take pictures. Dinner is also the time when the Attitude team celebrates birthdays, thirty in all this year, anniversaries (50 years together, well done ladies!) or salutes the dean of this cruise, Pierre, 86.
It is finally time for partying on the main deck, redecorated every night by the Attitude team. Dj Cyril G, DJ Anthony, DJ Yann, DJ Doc Terry, DJ Dimitri, play the music, play it loud !Only fishes will not be able to sleep. Alcohol ar will (all inclusive), people go crazy, bodies heat up, it's hot hot ho! Give me a look, give me your cabin number, those in a hurry disappear for a few hugs in the outdoor cruising area...
Ten days is a long time if you want to successfully combine partying until 3:00 AM and sightseeing from 07:00! Everyone has its own schedule : there are those who, like JM *, from Belgium, never disembark, "it's a rule" and those who are of all the excursions, like Pascale *, who came with her best gay friend to enjoy the stops.
White party on the main deck of MS Orient Queen © myGayTrip.com
It's a cruise for couples, groups of friends or singles, who come to have fun, to learn something, to make friends, to let go, to find a boyfriend, to sunbathe or simply relax. With one goal : conviviality. If you are alone, it is certainly an opportunity to meet new friends. If you are in couple, beware: the temptation lurks in every passageway. 700 boys locked up for 10 days on a boat makes it difficult to resist ... So beware of jealousy!
One more thing: there were about 80 girls this year and they had so much fun on the cruise. Yes, gays and lesbians can come to live together!
Entry into the port of Valletta (Malta), one of the highlights of this 2011 gay cruise © myGayTrip.com
What about the 2012 gay cruise then? Stéphane Loiselier is very discreet about it. He is currently negotiating the contracts for the charter of the 4th French gay cruise. "Nothing is ever won", he says, "for this new edition, it starts from scratch alla over again, in a bad economic environment, but one thing is certain: the cruise will take place."
The ship will be more beautiful, he promises, probably bigger, with more cabins. Early bird bookings will start from October 2011!
See all pictures of the gay cruise on our Facebook page
A W9 team did film a story on board MS Orient Queen during the gay cruise. It should be aired Sept. 30, at 20:30.
* Some names have been changed for obvious privacy reasons
This is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French