Cruising

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that my partner, Christopher, enjoys entering sweepstakes and contests.

One of his sweepstakes-entering friends recently won a cruise. A gay cruise. This one.

His friend couldn’t take the cruise, because of prior obligations. But – she transferred it to Chris! So now, Chris and I are going to be on a cruise of the Mexican Riviera, October 28 through November 4.

I found out later, that it’s the Lazy Bear Out to Sea 2006 Cruise. This went a long way toward soothing my concerns that it would be a bunch of circuit twinks. I’m sure there will still be lots of guys in much better shape, but I won’t be the only big guy with hair on his shoulders.

Neither of us have ever been on a cruise. I think we’re getting well-prepared in terms of paperwork, organizing, schedules, etc., – but I’d love more input if any of you have something to add! Suggestions, things you’ve learned, oh-my-god-they-never-mentioned kind of stuff.

And if any of you are going to be on the boat, drop me a note so I can look you up!

41 replies
  1. molasses
    molasses says:

    superfun!

    I’ll tell you a funny story.

    I had a coworker once in the hotel industry and we got talking about what other work we’d done for a living. He was a Canadian and found himself in San Francisco, very happy. He was working illegally putting makeup on dead people for funerals. It was all going great and one day he took a phone call at home, random, offering a Caribbean cruise.

    he answered the skill testing question, or whatever, and packed his bag. He got to the dock, on the day, and boarded the ship and SURPRISE, it was a US Immigration bust, they rounded up all these illegals by offering them a free cruise.
    my friend was returned to Canada the next day.
    which is actually a fairly elegant way to be deported, if you ask me.

  2. julilla1
    julilla1 says:

    It looks like having hair on your shoulders is a big plus on this cruise! Have fun! And don’t forget to tell us how delish the food was. I’d take a cruise, but I know I would gain five hundred pounds. Heh.

  3. admin
    admin says:

    It’s not so much a fancy of mine, as it is just the way I’m made. I tried various ways of ripping it out, but the resulting backne was worse than being a little hairy.

    And yeah, I’ve kind of grown fonder of it on guys – guess it’s more of a “real man” kind of thing to me.

  4. admin
    admin says:

    nope. We fly into LA, catch a shuttle to the boat, and pretty much reverse that on the return trip. Neither of us could spare any vacation days to make it more leisurely.

  5. twistedcat
    twistedcat says:

    bummer

    ok, well, my advice for a cruise is as follows:

    don’t get sick: start taking sambucol lozenges (elderberrry extract = anti-viral) about 2 days before you leave (one in the morning, one in the evening) and continue it through your cruise. also bring an antibacterial supplement of your choice. use hand sanitizer a lot.

    most people gain about 10lbs on a cruise. beware all the free food unless you either don’t care or don’t mind being bummed out when you get home. i suspect this is going to apply doubly on a bear cruise.

    take advantage of the boat. it’s going to have a ton of free ameneties that you may not get at home.

    but beware the room key/credit card thing. especially vis a vis alcohol and gambling.

  6. admin
    admin says:

    We’ve enjoyed two trips so far, one to Vegas, one to LA for the Grammys… plus he’s won 2 Ipods so far, a DVD player, a CD player, another MP3 player, $500 worth of groceries… lots of cool stuff.

  7. darthcynthia
    darthcynthia says:

    Oooh, I’m so jealous! Christopher and I have always wanted to go on a cruise (to Alaska, especially, since there’s no way I’m ever flying that far). Have a GREAT time!!! 😀

    Not sure if you already know of this site, but I’d come across http://www.cruisecritic.com/index.cfm and it had a lot of interesting information on cruises. Best wishes!

  8. unluckymonkey
    unluckymonkey says:

    hahaa sorry but you said circuit twinks and that totally cracks me up. Congrats! I think you’ll have a fabulous time! I’d LOVE to go on a cruise with all gay men. Nobody gives a crap if I look flabby in my bikini and dragshows galore! At least that’s what I’D hope for. 😉 All I know about cruises is give up on any dieting you’re on. they feed you constantly and it’s supposed to be yummy. I can’t wait for pics post trip. I’ve never been on a cruise either but would love to someday.

  9. admin
    admin says:

    Fortunately for me, they have Gluten Free diet as one of their options – I’m not sure what all I’ll be able to eat, though. Often, it means “You get what they get, only minus the bread, the pasta, the sauce, and the dessert.”

  10. unluckymonkey
    unluckymonkey says:

    awww! I didn’t realize you’re a gluten free guy. 🙁 that’s a much harder road than even vegan really. Bring snacks and know that at least you won’t gain 1,000lbs? I’m sure just getting away from it all and doing nothing but hanging out with your squeeze will be awesome in and of itself. 🙂

  11. faithellen
    faithellen says:

    I was pointed here by — I’m a sweeper, a cruiser (and a former lesbian). 🙂 8-day cruise, there’s probably at least one formal night, so bring tuxes or suits if you prefer. I’ve never cruised on Princess before, so I don’t know if they give everyone tote bags — but they’re invaluable for carting all your crap around while you’re out of the cabin…suntan lotion, CD player, CDs, books, crosswords, pencils….

    One thing that a few cruise lines are doing is charging you an automatic tip per person per day and adding it to your bill. If you’re okay with that amount, you don’t have to do anything. If you think it’s too much, you can go to the purser and ask them to reduce it or remove it entirely (which gives you the ability to tip the people you WANT to tip, rather than the ones “they” say you have to.) My favorite line has no tipping at all, but I went on a Cunard cruise a couple years ago, and there was a tip built into EVERY bar bill, and then they had the gall to include a blank line under that to add a tip. Really frosted my ass.

    On the sweeping front — how does Chris find his sweeps? I’m a member at OLS, and I ADORE it. I’ve bagged 6 grand prizes this year, three of which were trips. My life revolves around getting free crap from companies in exchange for a lot of email. 🙂

    Have a WONDERFUL time!!

  12. admin
    admin says:

    Hee. It’s not all that bad, really, once you realize what you can and can’t have. I sometimes get “dessert issues” when other people get something sweet and there’s nothing sweet for me… but I usually manage to either find something tasty, or just get over it.

  13. spiderfarmer
    spiderfarmer says:

    Make sure to get a couple of those magnetic seasick wristbands at the pharmacy. I don’t know *how* they work, but they worked better for me than dramamine, and it doesn’t make you sleep through the whole cruise. 🙂

    Oh…did I mention how jealous I am, yes…yes I am. 🙂

  14. doobieous
    doobieous says:

    A friend of mine who moved up to San Francisco, and a few of his friends from the city (one of whom I know). If you hear or see a “Visa De Klein” on board, that’s one of them.

  15. loveisagypsy
    loveisagypsy says:

    I went on an Olivia crusie with my best friend a few years ago. It was definitely different. It was the only way to totally get away from guys for awhile and we weren’t the only straight girls that went together either. I bet you have an AWESOME time and I can’t wait to see pics. Honey, I love me some bears. Twinks are sweet eye candy but bears are the best for rubbing your feet on while they are lying on the floor… hee hee

  16. carouselrose
    carouselrose says:

    I utterly adore crusing, 1 cruise turned me into a total geek about it, have been on 3 so far and dying to go again…so keep that in mind if I sound too gushy 🙂

    My biggest hint is to go to your room immediately, get your lifejackets and head out to the general area of your assigned station – they have a lifejacket drill first thing and they are the one thing I hate about crusing. Wrap yourself up in stinky plastic and foam and then march up several decks and stand in the hot sun surrounded by a bunch of other hot sweaty people wrapped in stinky plastic and foam. Not fun. So I lessen the strain and pain by being in the area, life jacket over my arm, so I get a good spot in the shade. And then I don’t put on the lifejacket until someone makes a point of telling me I must put it on 🙂

    On Carnival the food is free, but the drinks aren’t – alcohol of course isn’t free, but neither are soft drinks…they are horribly expensive. You can get ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch for free, but nothing else. They will leave bottles of water and pop in your room – don’t think that’s free either. My solution was to have a small thermos with a web handle that I would fill with ice from the buffet line, that I would carry with me – as the ice melted I had water.

    Toilet flushing – you just have to experience it 🙂

    I was never sea sick, and I was the child who was always car sick/air sick. I took the OTC Bonine or Dramamene II (must be the II, not the regular) – which you start taking a day before you leave, one tablet in the morning, one at night, and then continue the 2 tabs every day/night and I never had a problem. Of course I also am just totally in love with the “feel” of the sea – I find a calm cruise boring 🙂 I want to know I’m on ship.

    When you get back from your cruise you’ll feel like you’re still at sea for several days.

    At the end of the cruise you’ll get some little envelopes to tip your staff, and they will “suggest” what you should tip, but it’s your call. The room steward, the waiter and the assistant waiter always got extra from me, because they gave extra. You were also asked to tip the Maitre’d, but this was a man we saw maybe once, and none of us ever did tip him.

    On Carnival you get a credit-card like card that is your everything – it’s your room key, its what you use to charge your drinks and such, it’s your ID…everything. Buy an id card holder on a lanyard for it and wear it around your neck and don’t fill silly about it…it makes life so much easier – I did not lug a purse around ship with me, just my little ID Card holder.

    First boarding the ship can be a pain – long lines and such…my first cruise was just before 9/11 and things were much different afterwards, a lot more security, meaning a lot more lines. Each port seems to handle things differently. Frankly LA was the worst of the bunch for me. But it’s bearable.

    Your room should have a little safe in it – first cruise it was operated by a key, later ones by credit card.

    Towel animals are fun.

    You know how on movies they always show these romantic moonlight scenes? They’ve obviously never been out on deck at night. We are talking serious wind – I found it exhilarating, but it’s not very romantic. I gave up carrying how I looked, because wind and salt spray had their own hair styling ideas.

    I tend to be shy and self conscious, but there is something about the atmosphere, everyone becomes friendly and accepting. I loved all the silly games and campy entertainment – and after you’ve taken 3 Carnival cruises you often know the jokes by heart, but it’s still fun. Enjoy yourself in the ports too – be picky about the tours they offer, some are worth it, some are a rip off. One of the things I loved the most was the diversity of people – the ship’s staff comes literally from all over the world…I am always just in awe of all these gorgeous faces and accents. On Carnival everyone wears a name tag that shows where they are from and you often can have very interesting conversations with them. I think the most important thing about cruising is to just let go and have fun, wallow in the silly camp of it all. Enjoy yourselves!!

  17. misoranomegami
    misoranomegami says:

    That’s so fun! I’ve been on a couple of cruises but they were all Royal Carribean courtesy of my parents. And believe it or not I actually *lost* weight both times I went. I’m not very active at home so instead of sitting around all day in front of a computer eating pizza I was having large balanced meals and walking everywhere.

    My major recommendations would be to
    a) take some of the tours they’ll offer. Not everything’s going to be a good deal but some of them are really worth it especially if it’s something you’re personally interested in. In the carribean my family took a rain forest tour that included climbing a waterfall and in Alaska we took some beatiful train rides up into the forests to look for bald eagles.

    b)When out to sea keep an eye on the various free activities they offer. Royal Carribean at least offered some lectures and classes. They were mostly cutsey things like napkin folding and food sculpture but it was a neat way to get to meet new people outside of really loud bar areas.

    c)You might want to consider bringing some little Texasy items with you since you’ll probably make some friends. We had an assigned table that we sat with for breakfast and dinner every day which included 4 teachers from Chile, a mother and daughter from Washington on a graduation trip and a lady from Argentina. It was so interesting to talk about where everyone was from. We even went out at one of the ports and got some stuff to through a birthday party for one of the teachers.

    And since everyone’s mentioning tipping anyway… remember that the crew really does work hard. Our waiter was there at 6am when breakfast started being served (so says my dad cause I was never up that early) and at 2am when they were finishing up the midnight buffets. They work, sleep and eat on the ship and they’re not given a lot of choices. When asked what our waiter’s plans were for when we got back to dock he said he was going to stop by a KFC on his way to a hotel and then sleep for 2 days so he’ld be ready to leave on the next ship heading out.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    We’re taking a cruise on Nov. 20th.

    The bear hubby and I (I love stocky hairy guys, so don’t go waxing!) are going on an 11 day cruise out of Miami on November 20th through the western Caribbean–Barbados, Domenica, St. Thomas, Margarita Is., etc. It’s a standard Princess cruise. I think the bear cruise would be awesome.

    Christopher (mine not yours) and I have both cruised before and we love it. The food is glorious–enjoy it and diet when you get back if you feel the need to. It’s nice to have everything pre-paid on the cruise, but you do need to watch the bar tab. C. paid off his last bar tab with his gambling winnings, so maybe there’s a wash there. Besides, what better place to have Thanksgiving dinner!

    Do whatever you can to avoid getting seasick. Once it starts you don’t really get past it. My parents both got seasick and the whole thing was ruined for them. So do the dramamine, wrist bands, whatever you need to. They also made the mistake of imbibing in a few too many blue colored fruity cocktails the night before we left port… If you don’t have any issues after the first couple of days, you’re probably golden.

    The other great tip was from my grandfather, who is a big traveler. First night at dinner he greased the palm of the maitre d.. the rest of the cruise, the guy was fawning over us and ensured that we had any and everything we wanted. You’ll no doubt get better service if they know you are a sure thing and are generous.

    A free cruise, how cool. We’re doing this for our combined 40th birthdays. We’ll have to share photos.

    -Ames

  19. barongiles
    barongiles says:

    How Splendid!

    That’s brilliant. That’s the cruise Joe and I took for our honeymoon….

    Absolutely no sea-sickness; I think you’ll be on the same boat we were (Norwegian Princess), and I think there was one night that we felt a little motion from the ocean. Do NOT take the shore excursion to Taxco, the quaint 17th Century silver mining town in the mountains northeast of Acapulco. The (small, dark, dank) cathedral and the two silver shops you have time to shop in are not worth the 9 HOURS(!) travel time in a van.

    I suspect you’ll make lots of new friends (we certainly did, and it wasn’t a gay cruise… but there were four “Friends of Dorothy” cocktail parties scheduled by the entertainment director!)… wander the ports with them, look at the fascinating things, do not drink the water, do not buy anything that may even remotely illegal from the street vendors; they’ll turn you in for the reward, and Mexican jails, I’m told, are not places you want to spend your vacation.

    We took some dance classes, played Scrabble in the lounge, and Joe drank a lot. I drank lots of soda water (which was free).

    Have a wonderful time, and post pix when you’re back!

    G

  20. admin
    admin says:

    Re: How Splendid!

    Hee. It sounds like you were on a different path – we’re going to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo san Lucas. We’re scheduled for a forest-canopy zip-line adventure and a snorkeling trip – fortunately, nothing near as long as your van trip. I think the longest day trip, we’re out and back inside of six hours.

  21. schroedertx
    schroedertx says:

    Wow! How lucky for you!

    We’ve always wanted to take a cruise, and while I prefer warm so I can get around without putting on pants, he’s always wanted to do Alaskan.

    I never did. But then I saw a show on Discovery: Travel, and now I do want to go on an Alaskan cruise.

    I do share, as does he, your concerns about going on a gay-themed cruise. It’s so circuit boy twinkish. I would not be appealing at all.

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