Our gay couple travel diary The Cruise 2017 by La Demence – We couldn’t be more excited! It was time again to go onboard the cruise ship for our second gay cruise with La Demence, the well-known party organizer from Belgium. This year the route started from Portugal in the harbor of the capital Lisbon and headed towards the Atlantic Ocean for an exciting island hopping tour. Before we started our one-day adventures hand-in-hand as a gay couple on the Atlantic islands of Portugal and Spain, we spent the first day on our cruise ship, the MONARCH. It was nice to meet all our friends again from last year and to get to know the first-timers of this year’s European Gay Cruise from all over the world.
After a long way on the Ocean, we arrived at Madeira, the volcanic Portuguese island also known as “the flower island”. From there, we started our tour around five of the Canary Islands. The Spanish volcanic islands are popular holiday destinations for sun-seeking Middle- and West European vacationers. The first island we visited was La Palma, followed by La Gomera, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and finally Gran Canaria. Join us on our trip together with more than 2,000 gay men from 86 nationalities and experience the Gay Cruise 2017 by La Demence with our European Gay Cruise travel journal through a couple of men’s eyes.
Day 1: Sail away from Lisbon – Let The Cruise begin!
Although we didn’t have so much time to spend in the Portuguese capital, we discovered some beautiful and hip spots in Lisbon while wandering around places like the LX Factory, over a food festival at square Praça do Império Jardim da Praça do Império, and along the river with the fantastic modern architecture of the museum Mans for example. Lisbon is a city to fall in love with, but also the whole Atlantic coast of Portugal offers stunning (almost empty) beaches, crystal clear water, and friendly people. We spent a whole week south of Lisbon at the Cocoon Eco Design Resort in the middle of the forest just 10 minutes by car from the famous Praia do Pego Beach. We definitely have to come back to see more of Lisbon and Portugal, but now it was time to board our floating home and set sails towards the Atlantic.
Reunite with friends during Check-In
The embarkment procedure takes normally already quite some time before everyone is checked in. Unfortunately, this year the complete checking-in system of the passenger cruise terminal of Santa Apolonia in Lisbon malfunctioned. You can imagine what happened: we had a four-hour check-in time. Lucky us we were prepared with snacks and the friendly terminal staff provided enough water and orange juice for everyone to survive. We made the best out of it and made some first contact with cruise passengers of The Cruise 2017 and kept ourselves busy with planning our next days. After a lovely selfie with Drag Queen La Prohibida, it was finally time to board the MONARCH and enjoy the view from the upper deck over the beautiful city of Lisbon. It is going to be an exciting week full of fun and adventures.
Double Superior Exterior at the MONARCH
Our cabin was this year again an exterior cabin with a small window to keep in touch with the ocean view from deck 8. The bed was comfortable and the cabin spacious enough for our four pieces of luggage full of costumes for all the theme parties during the upcoming week. Every morning, our cabin was cleaned by our friendly cleaning lady Jenny and equipped with fresh towels, flyers, and information brochures for the next day. Keeping our tips for a gay cruise by La Demence in mind, we arrived at our cabin, changed outfits, and went on the pool deck to wave goodbye to mainland Europe together with all the other gay cruisers of The Cruise 2017.
First Party Night – 1001 Arabian Nights
New in the La Demence Cruise Party Agenda was the “1001 Arabian Nights” Party. Everyone was invited to dress like Aladdin, Jasmin, a Sultan, or any other kind of exotic Arabian or Indian beauty. Since the weather was blustery and cold the first night, the first dance event of The Cruise 2017 took place in the Atrium of the cruise ship. It was a total success, and we danced this 1002nd Arabian night away.
Day 2: On Sea – Mr. The Cruise & “Where are you from”
A day on the sea means time to chill, relax, and of course, time for the annual “Mister The Cruise 2017 Election”! This year 22 (!) contestants fought for the crown to be Mister The Cruise 2017. We remember well how tough it is for the jury to make their decision since we were jury members of last year’s Mister The Cruise elections 2016. Under perfect conditions like the blue sky and sunny warm summer weather, the hot men coming from all over the world gave their sexy best on the stage to impress everyone. Drag Queens Nickie Nicole and La Prohibida were the hosts of today’s election giving some spicy comments and singing performances during the break. After three rounds of posing in casual, fetish, and swimwear, the winner of The Cruise election 2017 was announced: Congratulations to Christiano Vincenti from Malta. He won a trip to Brussels for two, all expenses paid. For your information: every passenger can participate in getting the chance to win the main prize. Something for you next year?
The party itinerary of The Cruise 2017 offered nights parties but also T-Dance events starting around 5 pm until 9 pm. The first T-Dance of The Cruise 2017 was the annual “Where are you from” T-Dance Party and it is the get-to-know each other event for all the passengers coming from 86 different nationalities.
Evening Two – Gala Party from Chic to Hip
The first T-Dance of the Cruise 2017 made us hungry. Additional to daily changing offers at the all-inclusive buffet, the gay cruise travelers onboard the Monarch can have dinner from the menu in one of the included restaurants. Ready for more dancing, we changed into our gala outfits. The gala event was undoubtedly the most elegant party of the week, although even for the gala, there were no rules for the outfit of choice. 😉
Day 3: Island Madeira – Disco T-Dance & Superhero Party
The first stop on our one-week gay cruise adventure was the flower island, Madeira. The Portuguese island is known for its rich flora and beautiful flowers. After last night’s party and late morning breakfast, we had about 5 hours’ time in the capital Funchal. Equipped with our blue The Cruise backpacks, we walked along the harbor promenade of Funchal to the cable car station Teleferico Funchal. After a short waiting time, we made our way up over the roofs of Funchal to the summit station Teleférico do Jardim Botânico. But this was not our final destination. Thus, we took a second cable car just around the corner to the Jardim Botânico da Madeira, the famous botanical garden. The view over the city, the bay, and the ocean were stunning and an appropriate reward for the long trip all the way up. On our way back we made a short stop at the Igreja do Monte, the popular picturesque baroque chapel overlooking Funchal. Soon more about our One-Day Trip Madeira!
Back on the Monarch and after a small snack from the buffet, it was already time for the 2nd T-Dance of The Cruise 2017. Dressed in gold, the right wigs, and glitter, we joined the party crowd on the pool deck for the “Disco T-Dance” Party with Funky disco music and great weather on the sea towards La Palma.
The Superhero Party: Sexy Batmen & Super Mario
The Disco Party was an experience. But before we could join the Superhero Party, it was time for a nap and some relaxing hours in bed. Don’t worry about missing a party since the night parties always start around 11 pm and continue all night long as a whole night event with an indoor after-party. Our outfits for the Superhero Party: Mario and Luigi alias Super Mario Brothers. We were really proud of them since Daan made our outfits himself! The chance to be the only one wearing a costume is almost impossible. Look at the photos: of course, we ran into some other Marios and Luigis that night, but we made some great new friends from Costa Rica too!
Day 4: Canary Island La Palma – Fetish Party for the Night
We didn’t make it that long last night to be well-rested for our outdoor trip to the National Park ‘Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente’ on the Volcanic island La Palma. Starting in Santa Cruz de La Palma, we took a public bus over the mountains through an adventurous tunnel to the ‘Centro de Visitantes de La Caldera de Taburiente’, the visitor center of the National Park. After collecting information about the island and its sights, we took a cap to the ‘Mirador de la Cumbrecita’ where we started our two hours hike inside the Caldera. We were lucky with the weather: blue sky, clouds, and an incredible view over the Canary Island pine forest with loads of photogenic spots. We even saw the famous falling sky over the mountain range. Soon more about our One-Day Trip to La Palma!
Fetish Party & Darkrooms on the Gay Cruise
Back on board, we took the evening at a slow pace since tonight was Fetish Party night. As one of our favorite parties, like for many other passengers on the ship, it was also the first party on the pool deck outside under the starry sky. Every fetish was welcome from sexy leather outfits with harness and jockstraps to rubber overalls and sporty wrestling outfits. The mixed crowd of sexy men enjoyed the night until dawn and so did we. Some of you may wonder if there is a darkroom area on the ship and we can confirm that there is. As we talked to some American passengers, this is one of the reasons why they choose the European Gay Cruise over the American ones. This year there have been even two darkroom areas. One indoor 24h-darkroom open 24 hours a day, and at night a second outdoor darkroom built like a maze while made from sunbeds which a magnificent view over the moon and star lid ocean. The darkrooms provide enough condoms, lube, and “privacy” for everyone who wants to get to know each other a little closer. Hey, we are on a gay cruise so as long as it is safe, enjoy yourself!
Day 5: La Gomera (or Sundeck), Ladies T-Dance & White Party
We needed a break from our daytime adventures when our cruise ship anchored at La Gomera. We escaped the cold breeze coming from the island on the nude deck, the wind-protected area of the cruise ship. It was also the perfect day to catch up with our new friends onboard, have a swim in the pools, and chilling in the whirlpools listening to the lounge tunes being played by the DJs. We also meet up with our fellow blogger friends from Madrid, the twobadtourists, Auston, and Dave. We had a great time together chatting about our blogger experiences, future planned trips but also sharing some private quality time exploring the cruise ship and taking some selfies. If you didn’t do it yet, check out and follow their blog and social media.
Sunbathing the day away made the time go by quickly. But we were also very excited about The “Ladies T-Dance” Party of The Cruise by La Demence. Just Imagine more than 2,000 gay men dressing up in the craziest drag outfits, makeup, high heels to celebrate their female side.
About the Food on the Cruise Ship Monarch
Today we found the time to also take some food porn pictures. We have to admit, the selection of meat, vegetarian options, and sweets was remarkable this year. Even Daan as a vegetarian was the happiest man on the cruise ship: there was a daily pasta kitchen where he could select his vegetable ingredients for personalized pasta. Thanks to alternating menus in the 24-hour buffet area and menus à la carte in the restaurants (dress accordingly!), there was no way of staying hungry. The only thing you have to pay for is costly drinks. Tap water and some juices from the bar were available for free, 24/7.
Day 6: Canary Island Tenerife – Neon Party
We have been too tired to actually go to the White Party. But since we experienced the white party sunset during last year’s cruise 2016, we recharged our batteries until noon on Day 6 when we arrived at Tenerife. Plan of the day: shopping in the city center of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and some sightseeing along the harbor area of the city. Therefore, we took one of the main roads uphill following the shops, tourists, and other gay cruise passengers. We ended up having a break at the Parque García Sanabria. From there, we decided to take a walk to the Clock Tower Recova with a short look at the art space of Tenerife TEA, the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes. You know we love modern architecture. So of course, we put the Auditorio de Tenerife „Adán Martín” on our bucket list for Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The concert hall right next to the San Juan Baptist Castle is also known as “Castillo Negro”. The photogenic area around the two histories charged buildings seems to be the place to be for teenagers, anglers, and tourists.
A snap from the Neon Party The Cruise
Tonight was the night of black light. The annual neon party and a third outdoor party of The Cruise 2017 was again an event of colorful shiny outfits. We loved it! This is also the last really big party, so everybody gave their best and danced on their last energy reserves…
Day 7: Lanzarote & Goodbye T-Dance of The Cruise 2017
Time to say goodbye… Almost! But before our last T-Dance, we wanted to conquer the Volcanic island Lanzarote. We decided to rent a car directly at the Cruise Terminal of Arrecife to visit three famous spots on the island. First stop, the Jameos del Agua, a partially collapsed lava tube in the lava field of the volcano Monte Corona. Here we explored the grotto with an underground lake that is home to the unique white type of crab, the so-called Munidopsis polymorpha. From here our tour went further to the lava cave Cueva de Los Verdes. The spectacular tour led into a gigantic lave tunnel with some extra surprises for the visitors. The last stop of the day was the viewpoint Mirador del Río offering a stunning view over the archaic island of La Graciosa. Throughout the whole trip, we encountered the artwork of the Spanish artist César Manrique Cabrera, who shaped the face of the whole island Lanzarote. Soon more about our One-Day Trip to Lanzarote!
Porn Shows & Performances onboard
Like we wrote in our last year’s diary of the cruise: on board a gay cruise ship everything is gay, gay is normal and so every queer passenger can be, behave and express himself the way he/she/it feels like. No one feels offended, and we encountered almost every time friendly people, smiling faces, and happy holiday people. When taking a vacation on a gay cruise ship with its rainbow environment it is more than appropriate to have show events and performances like an ABBA show, Lady’s night, stand-up comedy, and karaoke. There were even two live porn shows during The Cruise 2017. Take our little advice and be on time before the event and bring a drink from the bar.
Day 8: Goodbye The Cruise 2017 – Hello Gran Canaria!
Last afternoon and night were the time to slowly say goodbye, exchange numbers and Facebook profiles, and dance together for the last time into the night. But not too long, unfortunately, since we had to put our packed luggage in front of our cabin door before 3 am. The last morning is always a bit frantic since everyone wants to have breakfast, wants to leave on time, wants to get the bill, and manages the last things onboard the ship. We stayed calm and remembered our last days of explorations, friends, parties, and the wonderful people we met. And there we were on Gran Canaria for the first time.
Since our flight back to Amsterdam was scheduled to depart late in the evening, we decided to rent a car and explore the center of the Canary Island. Already the way up in the mountains was spectacular and very steep. After 1.5 hours we suddenly entered an area where bushfires destroyed the forest just a couple of days ago. Driving further, we arrived at our destination, the landmark Roque Nublo. This Volcanic rock was formed around 4,5 Million years ago and is a great hiking area and protected natural monument of the island. Soon more about our One-Day Trip to Gran Canaria on our blog!
Treat yourself – And book your own The Cruise Experience 2021
In less than a year, The Cruise by La Demence will set sail to explore the Mediterranean Sea starting in Barcelona. The route is brand new and so will be the renovated cruise ship Sovereign. Visiting Palermo and Catania in Italy, The Cruise 2018 will also stop on the gay-friendly destinations Malta and Palma de Mallorca before heading back to Barcelona. Have a look at the website of The Cruise, and we hope to see you next year again onboard The European Gay Cruise by La Demence.
Our Travel Journal of the European Gay Cruise The Cruise by La Demence
This year we decided to divide our Gay Couple Travel The Cruise into a diary, 3 party posts, and 4 one-day island posts. Why? As simple as that: we made too many beautiful, colorful pictures of the wonderful handsome gay men on board the cruise ship. Every part has several galleries, videos, and stories to tell, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Hopefully, you will get inspired to book your trip around the Mediterranean Sea next year together with us! Do you want to know more about our gay travels? Stay tuned… on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. See you onboard a cruise ship or somewhere else around the world!
Thank you, The Cruise for making this trip possible. Nevertheless, our opinions, our photos, our videos, and our writings are our own, as always.
Karl & Daan