atlantis-cruises-celetrabes-20-years-0Aaahhhh the memories. . .

Last May I found out that a friend of mine, who we will call Aunt FiFi since he would like to remain anonymous, was buying myself and other friends tickets to the Atlantis 20th anniversary cruise on the Allure. At the time we had only heard rumors about what the Allure would be like, but when it was unveiled here in South Florida in December the excitement grew exponentially. As excited as I was to go on my first gay cruise I got a bit nervous about being on a ship with 5,400 gay men; it seemed like it would be a bit overwhelming.


Atlantis Celebrates 20 years on the Allure

Aaahhhh the memories. . .

atlantis-cruises-celetrabes-20-years-2Last May I found out that a friend of mine, who we will call Aunt FiFi since he would like to remain anonymous, was buying myself and other friends tickets to the Atlantis 20th anniversary cruise on the Allure. At the time we had only heard rumors about what the Allure would be like, but when it was unveiled here in South Florida in December the excitement grew exponentially. As excited as I was to go on my first gay cruise I got a bit nervous about being on a ship with 5,400 gay men; it seemed like it would be a bit overwhelming.

My body was full of adrenaline the morning of the cruise, even though I only slept for three hours. The day that I had waited almost nine months for was finally here. I threw the last few things in my suitcases, somehow managed to close them, and wheeled them outside my house as the bus arrived to pick me and my roommate Eric up. The nine of us were now on the bus which was taking us to the pier for what we knew would be a fabulous (or should I say fagulous) vacation.

When we arrived at the pier we went through security, and in moments the cruise director, Malcolm who is a good friend of Hotspots Magazine, was greeting us with his signature kisses. A few moments later we were entering the Promenade of the Allure. Now it’s rare that I am at a loss for words, but damn this was nothing like any ship I had seen before – it was more like being in a shopping mall nestled in a 5 star hotel complex. It was truly unbelievable. The rest of the ship did not disappoint. From a miniature version of Central Park, to the Boardwalk, to the restaurants, the Spa, the Gym, the theaters, the pools and everything in between this is ship is truly exquisite. It is truly a floating city that took my breath away!

At 6 p.m. there was a singles sail away party, which began the theme for the week….”Lots of Alcohol.” After the party we went for an early dinner in the main dinning room and afterwards headed to the Aqua Theater for the OceanAria show. I cannot express in words how phenomenal this water show is. People compared it to O in Las Vegas (which I have not seen), but all I can say was that it was an amazing way to kick off the cruise. Afterwards we went to Schooner lounge to hear the very talented Pamela Stanley sing and entertain us.

atlantis-cruises-celetrabes-20-years-3The next morning when we woke up we were already in Nassau. After having quick breakfast we all got off the ship and went on the island for a few hours. When we got back we went to the room to get ready for the much anticipated Ask Me, Tell Me T-Dance (Dog Tag). Atlantis is famous for this T-Dance where as you enter you get a Dog Tag and then the sticker you put on it determines your availability (Green is single, Red is married and Yellow is something in between. . .figure it out). The T-Dances all took place at the Aqua Theater. They covered up the pool and it became the dance floor. I cannot not tell you how incredible it was to be dancing in this outside theater, in the back of the boat, and watching the waves disappear behind you. After the T-dance we quickly changed and went to the Amber Theater for the Allure’s “Chicago” production. This is a full on Broadway quality production of “Chicago” that was absolutely amazing. You could just see how much fun the actors were having with the enthusiastic gay crowd. After the show we had dinner at Chops (the steakhouse), which was delectable and then went to the Hero Party in the Solarium. The superhero costumes were incredibly inventive (sexy men in tights, who am I to complain!) and fun.

Tuesday was a sea day and after breakfast we found lounge chairs by the pool (not an easy feat) and tanned and relaxed for a few hours. After Mondays T-Dance we realized that these are the parties you arrive on time for, so we changed and got to Revival T Dance (Classic Disco) when it was scheduled to start. This was by far my favorite party as it featured all the songs I was brought up on. My friends and I were on the dance floor from beginning to the last song and had a blast! After T dance, I had to get to the Spa for my Men’s Package (facial, shave, back rub, foot rub and arm rub) which made me feel like a prince. Yes, I admit it, I am a spa queen! The spa technician and I got along so well that she (yes, it was a woman) went over the time by an hour. It was so relaxing that I didn’t even realize that we went beyond the time. I was so late I had to run to the room, change quickly and meet my friends at Giovanni’s (the Italian restaurant) where we had a phenomenal dinner. Everything was scrumptious, but the Tiramisu was beyond decadent; the best I have ever had! After dinner we went to the Amber Theater to see Pam Ann, the most controversial flight attendant on the planet. She is hysterical and her wit never ceases to amaze me!

Wednesday was St Thomas Day and after going on the island for a few hours of shopping we headed back for a late lunch. Afterwards we changed and went to the Atlantis free cocktail hour celebrating their 20th anniversary (the Cosmos were great!). Next we were off to see Andy Bell, of Erasure fame, in concert followed by a quick dinner. We topped off an incredible day with That ’80s Party at the Aqua Theater (the only night time party at the Aqua).

atlantis-cruises-celetrabes-20-years-4Thursday we were in St Marteen, which was absolutely beautiful. The water is so crystal clear blue it is mesmerizing. We headed back to the boat for a little shopping and walked around the ship getting to know it a bit better. After all, it is the largest ship in the world and it is easy to miss things. Then we were off to the show Blue Planet, which featured the actors of “Chicago” and some of the acrobats from Oceanaria. It is very hard for me to explain to you what this show is about, just know it was amazing and definitely worth seeing. We then ate a late dinner and called it an early night.

After a wonderful breakfast in the main dining room Friday was a day of leisure at the pool. We just sat in our lounges and relaxed and took in all the beautiful sun Mother Nature had to offer. Around 3 p.m. I went to work out in the gym and as I was leaving the gym there was an announcement on the PA system from Malcolm saying that since it was such a beautiful day there was going to be an Instant T Dance at the Aqua Theater. The thousands of men on the pool level scattered more quickly then when bugs scatter when the lights come on. Within five minutes T dance was on and it was packed. I told Malcolm that on my next cruise if I can’t find a lounger I will find the PA system and get on it to announce Instant T Dance and then there will be plenty for me to choose from. After Instant T we had to quickly change clothes because we had tickets to see the handsome and very talented Cheyenne Jackson. Cheyenne’s voice is a mix of Broadway and a mix of crooner and is absolutely soothing to the soul. The fact that he was very handsome and charming doesn’t hurt. . .hehe! We left that show and went to dinner in the main dinning hall. After dinner we went back to the room to change for the party threat everyone has been talking about for days, The Angels (White) Party. The outfits were extraordinary and ranged from full on costumes to guys practically naked to everything in between. Either way white was the predominant theme and you could see it everywhere. This party lasted from 11 p.m. until 7 p.m. The Demons party happened that night in Studio B from 1 a.m. until 10 a.m. We stayed until about 3:30 and we pooped out and went back to the room (damn, years ago I would have been on the dance floor until the music stopped).

As you can imagine we awoke late on Saturday (our bodies clearly needed rest) and did a very late breakfast in the Windjammer buffet. Eric and I decided we wanted to get a good workout in and we took advantage of the beautiful gym. We were going to go lay out, but it got a bit cold so we decided to walk around the ship for a bit, grabbed some pizza (oh my god the pizza on the Allure was so good, and free!) and then went back to the room to change for the Final Rinse T-Dance. After the T-Dance which was fab, but a bit bittersweet knowing it was the last one of the cruise, we quickly changed for our final dinner. After dinner we all went to the room and packed all of our stuff. Around 11 p.m. we went out to see what was happening on the ship and it seemed like everyone was walking around trying to say goodbye to everybody on this one-of-a-kind unbelievable ship. We then went down to deck 4 for the final dance party and we happened upon a Jazz lounge we never knew existed. The band led by a beautiful (her appearance and her voice) singer were incredible. We stayed until their set was over, and then went to the Last Dance Party. After being there for about 20 minutes we realized our bodies had had enough so we left the party, went to the Promenade for a bite to eat and then decided it was time to get a few hours sleep as we had to be up at 6 a.m. to disembark.

One would assume that with all the events listed above I attended everything the cruise had to offer and one would be wrong. Here is a list of some of the things I did not get to attend: Miss Richfield’s many shows, Rachel Cantu, Matt Yee, Brad Loekle, Liz Feldman, Jim David, Shawn Pelofsky, the Project Runway Fashion Show, Sherry Vine, Aiden James, Scott Perham, R U Smarter than a Straight Woman, Ice Games, The Dating Game, The Not So Newlywed Game, Bear Belly Flop Contest, the Madagascar Aqua Show and many more.

As I was falling asleep I realized the magical dream called the Atlantis 20th anniversary trip on the Allure was about to come to an end, but the memories will last a lifetime. I would like to thank the entire Atlantis crew for making my trip so memorable, but would like to make mention of two standouts: 1) Malcolm Neitzey, the cruise director, you are irreplaceable and you make everyone’s trip that much better and 2) Tony from Chicago, who was just so adorable you made me smile every time I saw you. Chances are he noticed I had a crush on him as I would take his pic every time I saw him.

The trip was so amazing, my friends and I are already planning on going again next year and I would highly recommend it for everyone. However, book soon as the Allure cruise is sure to sell out again!