First Time CruisingPart 1: Prep and Arrival

By: Joe Thompson

Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned pro looking for a refresher, we’ve got a three-part crash course for cruising. The good news?

•We won’t make any Love Boat jokes
Most of you are too young to get how funny they are, and those of you who are old enough already heard them when gay cruises first launched.

•We will not refer to longtime cruisers as “Sea Hags”
There’s nothing wrong with a guy who’s been around the deck a time or ten. That man ain't no hag, he’s a daddy we wanna meet.

•This will be fun and useful
Because that’s what we are at—fun and useful.


Cruise_2009_eurodam_2006_10_29_0754 New cruise ships are basically floating resorts, with endless decks of lounges, bars, nightclubs, theaters, restaurants, pools, spas, sports facilities, rock-climbing walls, putting greens— pretty much everything. Study what's on your ship in advance and figure out the things you'd like to experience before boarding.


_D3K6248--4-guys-against-rail-over-party-pool-deck 1. Bring your passport.
You need it. End of story.

2. Use soft, collapsible luggage
Cabin storage space is usually limited, so if you can shove your bags away next to your house boy you’ll have more room to move around.

3. Pack light
Yes, with 3 daily outfits, costumes for every party, and shoes to match it all that can be tough, but really think about what you need. Consider three shoe options—sandals, walking/gym shoes, and one dressy pair. Limit pants since you’ll mostly be in shorts, bathing suit, and T-shirts anyway. If you’re sharing a space with other boys know that it will fill up fast if you all don’t plan wisely.

4. Bring the necessities
Lots of sunscreen, lube, condoms, sea-sickness pills, etc. Yeah, you can buy them on board, but choices are limited and that money is better spend on a cocktail anyway.

5. Chilling your meds?
Ask if a room refrigerator is possible, or bring a small cooler; there’s plenty of ice on board.


Guess what... they’re illegal! Shock, I know. You likely won't be searched getting on the ship but luggage is x-rayed. You can be put off the ship if you're caught using them. Your cabin is also subject to search by customs officials at any port. This has happened, and passengers have been fined. Finally, there is always a chance you will be searched by U.S. Customs disembarking a ship at a U.S. port.

Check it, boys: Don't ever risk bringing drugs back into the United States.


WD3K1023 1. Don’t wait in line
Many passengers arrive early on day of departure to settle in (see below), but that’s when bunches of people show up. Our secret? Arrive halfway through the boarding hours. So if boarding is between noon and 4pm, arrive around 2pm.

2. Carry on vitals and valuables
This is all your jewels, prescriptions, and maybe shorts or a sweatshirt depending on the weather. (You can pack your chaps and harness since it's doubtful you'll need them upon arrival.) Your tagged luggage may take an hour to be delivered to your cabin, and longer if you don't tag it correctly.

3. Do your "Signing and Dining"
On most ships, you pay for all of your onboard purchases with a special charge card that needs to be activated with a credit card. Do this first, THEN get a cocktail. Find out how the dining is being set up for this cruise. You may need to head to the dining room for a seating assignment. Spa appointments book up fast, so schedule a massage, haircut, manicure, etc. now. You can always try to change them later.


What’s next in cruising? Tips for wardrobe, seasickness, off board adventures, navigating the party scene and more. Check back this week for more tips.