I’ve only been back on land a few days following Atlantis Events’ amazing Allure of the Seas 20th anniversary cruise, and my withdrawal symptoms are already severe.
It’s hard to describe how perfect life aboard the Allure was, and how intensely real the feeling of community was at sea. Where else in the world do 5,500 sexy seamen come together with such sincere smiles and such pure intention to play nice together and make the best of every magical moment?
The scale and scope of the largest gay cruise in the world was daunting, and while the logistics and venues on the ship weren’t always flawless, the vibe and spirit certainly were. From the epic T-dances in the Aqua Theater to the Studio B dancefloor that was packed until well after dawn each day, the cruise far surpassed my expectations.
Maybe it was because my San Framily was heavily represented on the “dick deck,” or maybe it was because this third cruise for me was the charm in terms of knowing how to prepare and pace myself, but I was repeatedly blown away by the sense of love and privilege everyone seemed to be taking so deeply to heart. The cruise was sold out for nearly a year before we embarked, and by the time we finally set sail, everyone was set on making it the experience of a lifetime.
When you dance around the clock for seven days and barely stop to eat or sleep, it’s hard to even remember, much less select, a list of highlights. But I was literally brought to tears by one spontaneous expression that sums up the sublime joy of the journey. At the “Final Rinse” T-dance, a group of guys did flip cards on a terrace high above the crowd. “My chosen family” was the first message, and the last was “We are blessed.”
Blessed indeed. The gay world has come a long way in 20 years, and the Allure of the Seas was the best representation I’ve seen of living proud and out loud, with full appreciation of common cause and hard-won victories. Anthems like “I’m Coming Out” and “We Are Family” took on new meaning as we celebrated the freedom and joy of such a validating voyage, and I know I’ll never forget the feeling of being totally satisfied and totally at peace with my Love My Gays lifestyle.