Torremolinos, the gayspot of Malaga!

Ask a gay guy to mention a beach place in Spain to party.. and they will probably say: Playa Del Ingles at Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria with his gay beach, Yumbo Centre, parties and hot guys… Last year I discovered Torremolinos. And I was surprised about the huge gay life over there. So, could it be a substitute for Gran Canaria? Let’s find out.

Take a plane to the beautiful city of Malaga, then take the metro and 1 hour later you lie to the hotel’s swimming pool. But what are the pros and the contras of this beach city?

The staying and eating

Torremolinos is famous for his huge hotels on the beach, but you can also find smaller staying’s. If you like to stay among gay guys, we can give you 2 options: Hotel Rituals and Hostal Guadalupe. Both places are close to the beach and the party locations.

Like Playa Del Ingles, you can find many fast-food restaurants, but Torremolinos and Malaga have great restaurants where you can eat Spanish food for reasonable prices. Also try the restaurant of Hostal Guadalupe. You can have there a 3-course meal with a drink for a great price… and it’s delicious.

The beach

Torremolinos has 2 gay beaches and between them Eden beach bar with a nice terrace. On the boulevard you have a fancy place: El Gato lounge. But…the beach is less party minded then the one on Playa del Ingles: a bar, chairs and a beach… and no dunes for cruising. But beaches, chairs and time to enjoy the nice men and the good weather.

The bars, saunas and discos

Playa Del Ingles has Yumbo center, Torremolinos La Nogalera. A big place with many bars, discos, restaurants, shops and a sauna. The most bars are modern and many have cruising areas. So start your evening at NA with a cocktail and then visit the happy hour of Free Eagle. That last bar has a free entrance and is a great place for fetish people. Then visit bars like Men’s bar, Vida, Eden Copas and the best gay cocktail bar: La Bohemia.

The most bars and discos have cruising places, but you can also visit one of the many sex- and fetish clubs or one of the three gay saunas in the city (some of them have a lot of cute rent boys). Surely visit Querell, The Factory, Apolo sauna and sauna Atlas.

The discos start late. Aqua club has a nice bar with terrace and the disco (with cruising) is almost every day open. But on Saturday everyone visits Centuryon! It’s a big disco, very beautiful and great music… but watch out! They not have a drug policy (when I was there, many people used openly drugs) and when you order alcohol with a soda, check your glass. They mix them often with water!

The pros and contras

Why you should go to Torremolinos and why to Playa del Ingles?

Torremolinos has a huge and modern gay life, 2 beaches, nice restaurants, cheap drinks and you are close to many cultural cities like Malaga or Granada. But the weather is seasonal, and younger guys will visit the place in the weekend.

For the good weather you have to visit Playa Del ingles. You can visit it the whole year around. Also the gay life is very vibrant and the gay beach is more party minded. But.. the bars are older, there are no cultural cities and the flights are more expensive.

Delice Dreams

A good way to try this place is by visiting Delice Dreams. For the 8th edition, they choose for Torremolinos and the Ritual Hotel. More than 600 gays will party from the 28th of April till the 6th of May. 15 events are waiting for you with club parties, beach parties and much more. Visit their website for more information:

http://www.delicedream.com

 

 

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Roze Zaterdag Den Bosch: Iedereen Roze en een weerzien met Elof De Neve

Elk jaar kiest Nederland zijn Roze stad. Een heel jaar lang bereiden zij een uniek weekend voor met alle aspecten van een Pink Pride: cultuur, begrip, emancipatie, informatie en vooral veel feesten. Dit jaar waren ’s Hertogenbosch en Oss de gaststeden… en wij waren erbij!

’s Hertogenbosch of kortweg Den Bosch is de hoofdstad van de provincie Noord-Brabant. Tilburg is slechts 20 minuten rijden met de trein. Al vrij snel ontdekten we waarom deze stad zo bekend is bij shoppers. Het centrum is één groot winkelparadijs met kleine en grote straten. Shopaholics vinden hier zeker hun ding.

Roze Zaterdag draait om emancipatie, begrip, respect en samenhorigheid en dat viel onmiddellijk op als je de stad binnenreed. In elke wijk kleurden regenboogvlaggen de straten en huizen, inwoners liepen er met roze handtassen en de roze hoedjes en boa’s gingen als zoete broodjes over de toonbank. Het was duidelijk dat Den Bosch en Oss gay-friendly steden zijn waar je aanvaard wordt door elke inwoner.

Cultuur, info en vooral veel sfeer

Naast een roze kerkdienst en een cultuurroute kon de bezoeker zich vergapen aan een kleine canalpride waaraan verschillende doelgroepen deelnamen… zelfs de politie in uniform! In het park kon je kuieren langs de vele en diverse infostands en op het plein stond een podium met dans, zang en veel sfeer (Of lag dat aan de heerlijke frietjes en het biertje?). Ook de jongeren hadden hun eigen plek met een silent disco.  Op de markt stroomden ’s avonds stadsgenoten toe voor musical, dans, nationale en internationale sterren. De inwoners van Den Bosch lieten een heel weekend zien dat ze konden feesten en voor 1 weekend de roze stad van Nederland vormden.

Gay bar ‘Janika’

Zoals in vele steden verdwijnt er heel wat gayhoreca in Den Bosch. De stad telt nog slechts één gaybar: Janika. Een kleine, leuke bar waar kitsch troef is: oude Nederlandse platenhoezen aan de muur, een bar met luchters in de vorm van ananassen en twee fantastische barmannen maakten het plaatje compleet. Wat maakt de bar dan zo speciaal? De sfeer! Door de boxen galden de ene Nederlandse schlager na de andere. Wij stonden bijna op de tafels! Een avond leuke fun beleven? Dan is deze bar jouw plek!

https://www.facebook.com/Gaycafejanika/

Danse Le Duc: een weerzien met Elof de Neve

Een paar keer per jaar kan je feesten op Danse Le Duc, een partyconcept in Den Bosch met twee zalen, leuke muziek, mooie mensen en als headliner: Elof de Neve. Voor de Belgische bezoekers een leuk weerzien met de ex-resident dj van Red and Blue in Antwerpen. Dance Le Duc is jouw plek als je gewoon een leuke party wil beleven!

https://www.facebook.com/DanseLeDuc/

Den Bosch: een simpelweg leuke stad!

Den Bosch is naast een gay-friendly city gewoon een leuke stad om te vertoeven met leuke winkels, restaurantjes, bars en party’s. Je bent er vanuit Vlaanderen in 2 uur met de trein en met een weekendbiljet betaal je nog geen 30 euro!

https://www.bezoekdenbosch.nl/nl

Italy Gay Summer Pride in Gallipoli Puglia

Italy Gay Travels is proud to announce the first edition of Italy Gay Summer Pride! 4-day International Gay Beach Party on the beautiful Gallipoli bay from 21 till 25 september 2017.

Highlights

  • 3 or 4 night packages available. Starting from onl €390 per person, including Accommodation, Breakfast and the exclusiveItaly Gay Event Pass
  • Stay in the tallest hotel in Gallipoli, Bellavista Club, overlooking the Old Town with stunning 360degree views of the bays and beyond
  • Welcome Aperitif on Thursday Night, right on the beautiful bay of Gallipoli
  • VIP access to Samsara beach club for the duration of the event: cocktails, lunches and chilled outbeats (eat your heart out Café del Mar)
  • Exclusive Friday Night Party in Le Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons): a restored farmhouse now stage of our private Open Air Summer Party
  • Saturday Night Party at the biggest Gay Club of Southern Italy, Picador Village, infamously wellknown for the huge attendance of local talent
  • Shake that thing on Sunday afternoon at the Explosive Closure Party right on the beach of Gallipoli, at one of the most famous beach clubs in the world, Samsara
  • Indulge in local cuisine: Puglia is famous for its culinary excellence and fresh produce
  • Make new friends from all over the world
  • Discover still relatively unknown gems of Italy, Puglia and Salento
Welcome to Gallipoli, the Ibiza of Italy!
This year, for the first time, from 21st – 25th September 2017, Italy Gay Travels will be hosting the highly anticipated Italy Gay Summer Party.  A 4 day sensational Summer Party in one of the most beautiful undiscovered gems of Italy: the bay of Gallipoli (not in Turkey)!
Our Italy Gay Summer Party gives you the chance to discover one of the trendiest holiday destinations in Italy. Puglia is the talk on everyone’s lips and it is no surprise the gay community in Italy and around the world are flocking here. Gallipoli, and Puglia as a region, is developing a reputation for openness and tolerance. For this reason, Italy Gay Travels is confident that everybody can feel safe and be themselves in this beautiful stretch of Paradise.
Italy Gay Summer Party is held in the heart of Salento, an awe inspiring natural landscape in the southernmost tip of Italy (sunshine guaranteed). Amazing food, Caribbean like sandy beaches, hot boys and friendly locals
should we go on?
Our long weekend is packed with beach, fun and sun! Stay with us at the Bellavista Club, a hotel with 360 degree views of the coast of Gallipoli and smack bang in the center of the action! Our 3 or 4 nights packages (starting from as little as €390 per person) include shared accommodation (in rooms for 2, 3 or 4 people) including a hearty breakfast. Of course, you can also choose to stay alone with a single occupancy charge☺
The hotel has amazing views of the old city too: you can use your free time to meander through the old city walls soaking up history and a bygone culture of artisans working in their workshops.
If you prefer, you can book your own accommodation in the area and simply purchase the Italy Gay Event Pass. The Italy Gay Event Pass includes:
● Exclusive access to the VIP area of Samsara, one the most famous Beach Clubs in the world. This is valid for the duration of the tour and includes 2 free drinks (who doesn’t like cocktails on the Beach?).
● One Free drink and canapes over the bay of Gallipoli on the Welcome Aperitif Evening
● Entrance Ticket to Mine Vaganti Party on the Friday night, 2 drinks included
● Entrance Ticket to the main party, Italy Gay Summer Official Party, at Picador village, an exclusively gay club in Salento (get to know the local flavours of the area), 2 drinks included
● Free bus/shuttle night transfer to and from the venues to and from Bellavista Club
● 2 Meal vouchers to be used at the BellaVista Club, Le Sirene EcoResort and the Jolly Hotel Gallipoli (lunch or Dinner). Feel free to use them at any time during your stay
● Access to the swimming pool and private beach areas of Le Sirene EcoResort and the Jolly Hotel Gallipoli
Have a look at the programme 0f Italy Gay Summer Party below. Just remember: Don’t feel obliged to go to the beach every day! If you prefer sightseeing or taking a cooking lesson or two, there are various other add-on options you can take. These include:
● A guided excursion to Santa Maria di Leuca (another gem on the Adriatic Coast). Enjoy a lunch at a seaside restaurant, a cooking lesson learning to make local dishes and tasting session of typical Salento liquors in a farm stable from 1800 in Villa La Meridiana
● An exclusive excursion by boat to visit the sea caves.
● Plenty other tours in and around Salento
Feel free to email us at info@italygaytravels.com for more details and to find out the cost of these add-ons.
Day 1 (Thursday)
Welcome
For those arriving today, settle into the hotel and come and say hi in the meet and greet area! Get information about the Italy Gay Summer Party and collect your welcome pack. After, do as you please: relax, or have a stroll of the town. In the evening join our Sunset Aperitif over the bay of Gallipoli: you will get to meet your fellow Italy Gay Party goers and your hosts, Scruffy Gios and Kendall. Afterwards, feel free to stay at the bar or grab an artisan gelato in the old town. Gallipoli has many bars, restaurants and cafes: the night is always young here!
Day 2 (Friday)
Your Italy Gay Event Pass gives you unlimited VIP access to Samsara, one of the most exclusive beachclubs in the world. Why not hire a bike and cycle there along the beauti
ful Gallipoli coast? Or, if you are feeling lazy, just take the hotel transfer. Samsara beach club is set on a beautiful long stretch of sandy Caribbean like beaches and has relaxing chillout music throughout the day. Sip on cocktails or refreshing local beers, and grab some food. Gallipoli beaches are a great place to forget the troubles of city life and really get into the vibe of Salento: just relax and breathe! Every afternoon at Samsara the
music picks up a notch and you can watch the sun going down over the bay while getting into the party spirit with DJ beats.
At night join the Italy Gay Summer Party at Mine Vaganti. Set within an idyllic natural area near Gallipoli, this Masseria will give you a taste of the beautiful local countryside. Surrounded by acres and acres of ancient olive trees, you will feel like a celebrity partying in this private exclusive farmstead. This is a truly unique experience!
Day 3 (Saturday)
For those who are feeling fresh and sprucely, feel free to wander through the old or new town of Gallipoli or again go to the beach. There are many natural wonders to discover and secret nooks and crannies. Why not use your meal vouchers for lunch or dinner at the selected restaurants trying out the local dishes and delicate wines?
The highly-anticipated Italy Gay Main Party will kick off at Picador Village. Join the fun at this all gay village set outdoors with amazing stage areas and a unique party experience you will not forget. The party will have all the bells and whistles that you are expecting with amazing DJ sets to keep those moves busting all night long. The venue is very popular with local talent: you will have plenty of opportunities to try out the local cuisine, we promise its not as spicy as it appears!
Day 4 (Sunday)
Those feeling a little rough around the edges, have a hearty breakfast (included if you stay with us at Bellavista Club) and chill out at the pool, or head down to Samsara Beach Club. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to be in time for the Explosive Closure Party
on the beach of Gallipoli, at Samsara. Our DJs will keep you moving on the sand all afternoon, until the sun goes down, with their best beats.
We hope you have the time of your life with us! And we hope to see you back again in 2018!

Colombia, deciphered the prejudices

Touristicogay was 3 weeks in Colombia and visited 4 cities: Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Cartagena. We had 2 goals: are the prejudices true and how gay is Colombia! In Europe many people think Colombia is still dangerous and everyone offers you drugs. But is that true?

We arrived at the airport after a flight of 12 hours. Many airline companies start with flights to Bogota, also KLM and Lufthansa in Europe. Outside you better can choose for the official Taxi, like in every country.

BOGOTA

Bogota is a huge city and not so warm as other cities, so warm clothes in the evening are necessary. We stayed in Hostel Pink, a gay venue in Chapinero very close to all the gaybars and discos. Reny and his team offers u a nice basic room with a breakfast for u and your partner.

http://www.hostelpink.com

For the touristic part u must be in the historical town. This beautiful part of the city offers you the gold museum and an old town that you can visit with a free tour offered by the touristic office of Bogota. Also visit the monastery on the mountain. U can take a train or a cable. Enjoy the view on the mountain. Its amazing!

If u want to visit the city, take a taxi. It is the cheapest and easy way. Bogota has a bus system, the TransMilenio, but no one understands the system and its dangerous. First Safety tip: NEVER stop a taxi on the street. Use the app on your mobile phone or ask the hotel to call one. The most discos have their own people to bring u save to your hotel again.

The food is really cheap in Bogota: chicken, fish and plates for just 10 euro. The international restaurants are more expensive.

The gay life in Bogota is amazing: bars, disco, sauna, sex clubs… you find it in the whole city. Babylon is a nice gay sauna that u can compare with a European sauna. Dark club is a weekend cruising venue with lots of action. But on Thursday u go to El Mozo Club. This venue has 2 floors, amazing music and full packed of cute guys. I loved it! On Friday and especially on Saturday everyone goes to Theatron. This gay palace is the biggest gay disco in Latin America. Behind those walls you find 10 discos. Remixes, dance, regeaton,… every place has his own kind of music. On the square, people listen to live music and eat a snack. At the entrance you pay 15 dollar and you get a cup that you can refill from 21h till 2h with alcohol. More than 6000 people visit this place every weekend.

http://www.elmozoclub.com

https://www.portaltheatron.co

CALI

After visiting a crowded city like Bogota, Cali is a respite. Also the temperature is better than Bogota and taking a taxi is safer. Here u can surely take a taxi on the street.

We stayed at Hostal Dona Sol. John and his partner have a beautiful and quiet place where u can enjoy the swimming pool, the nice room and in the morning John serves you a delicious breakfast. In the past he had a restaurant, so every morning he suprises you with his delicious meal.

http://hostaldonasol.wix.com

Go visit the historical city and if you have time, go visit the zoo. Its one of the most beautiful in Latin America. At the touristic office in the historical center you get a map with faces. Those faces show u what areas are safe for tourists. So keep those warnings in mind.

The gay life starts here on Thursday. From Sunday till Wednesday u find 1 bar open, a gay salsa bar and some saunas. Cali Club is the most European gay sauna with nice facilities, but Phisicus 21 club has definitely the hottest guys.

MEDELLIN

Medellin won the price of most innovating city and you can see why: its modern, nice center has a great (and safe) metro system and a beautiful ecological park.

We stayed at 61 Prado, a European hotel in Medellin, close to the metro. The rooms are amazing and the food in the restaurant is delicious. U really need to try the Colombian food there. Also here, not take a taxi on the street, but use the app on your mobile phone.

http://www.61prado.com

The metro system in Medellin is cheap, good and safe for tourists. It brings you to the center of the city where you can make nice walks. Bogota is bigger, but Medellin more modern in every way. At the end of the metro you can take a cable train that brings you in 30 min to a beautiful ecological park. You can eat there something, make walks or bike tours and have an amazing view over the city.

The gay life here is different from other cities. They have open gay bars where everyone starts his evening with a cocktail on the street. Then you go to one of the gay discos. You can choose between a salsa and electronic/Latin music one. The music is nice, the drinks cheap and the boys hot! I loved Medellin.

JOR: Colombian Fashion for gays

Everyone in Europe knows ES and Andrew Christian, but Colombia has his own fashion designer: Javier Ortega. He has JOR: exclusive underwear and swimwear. I had an interview with Javier. His fashion is more colorful then other ones, more Colombian, but nice! You can find a fashion store in Medellin or buy it online and maybe in the future buy it in shops in Europe. I loved it!

http://www.jor.com.co

CARTAGENA

The last city is the beach city of Colombia. It has 2 areas: the historical town and the hotel part. First I did not like it. It was not Colombia for me, but u start to love this city.

I stayed in Casa el Carretero, a gay friendly guesthouse with nice rooms, a small swimming pool and a nice breakfast. Very close you find many cheap restaurants where you can eat for only 10 euro.

http://www.casaelcarretero.com

You can do everything on foot if you stay in the historical part. If you stay in the hotel part, u need a taxi. Discuss the price with the taxi driver, here he has no meter.

Every day you can have a free walking tour in Cartagena. You just pay a tip. But for that you have a great tour of 2h with very professional guides. Go to the many tourist information points for the details.

http://freetourcartagena.com.co/us

Cartagena is a beach town, so enjoy the good weather and for gays, there is a gay friendly part at the end of the beach. Ask the way to gays and you definitely find it!

The gay life in Cartagena is very small. They have 1 gay bar: Le Petit and in the weekend 2 gay disco. But what an atmosphere at the gay bar: I loved the music, the drinks and if you like muscled guys… Cartagena is definitely your place! Remember that many guys are rent boys!

https://www.facebook.com/LEPETITCLUBDISCOTECA

THE PREJUDICES

My first goal was the look to all the prejudices. Is Colombia dangerous? Yes, but if u follow the rules of the city… its one of the safest countries to travel in. Flying between the cities, you can do with AVIANCA, a very good company.

Is Colombia still a drug country? Of course… but in those 3 weeks, just 2 guys offered me drugs and the police controls a lot.

Is Colombia gay? Oh yes! Its one of the rising gay countries. You find bars, disco, sauna, sex clubs and the hottest Latin guys… and this all for cheap European prices.

Colombia stepped into the touristic future. More information? Click on the websites for the hotels, listen to the interviews I had with Edison from Theatron, El Mozo Club, Javier from JOR and Rubén Egea, a gay activist. Watch the movies of Theatron, Dona Sol and the new fashion of JOR!

 

The Late Birds Lisbon, an oasis in the city

A visit at Lisbon is a must do: small streets, good food, a beach, culture and nice people. At the end of the day u can relax in The Late Birds Lisbon, the All Male Gay Urban Resort.

Lisbon has many things to offer for the tourist and the gay tourist. The two gay neighborhoods have a gay sauna, nice bars, discos, shops and restaurants. Before midnight the bars are empty, so after a busy day at the beach or the city, u like to rest and then is The Late Birds a blessing in the city.

The Late Birds

The Late Birds lies between the 2 gay parts and is a real oasis. The rooms are very spacious with a beautiful balcony. Ask for the different prices.

Carlos and his friendly staff is available 24h and provides you with all the information you need. But the best part is the beautiful garden with swimming pool. There you can rest while you enjoy one of the great cocktails.

In the early evening all the guests join together for a cocktail or a wine at the bar before they go dinner or party. After the party you can enjoy a fantastic breakfast. For the late birds its even available at 14h.

The App

U can take a map to find all the gay venues or try the great app of the guesthouse. Download it easily from the Android or Apple store. You can find a route with the best LGBT spots in Lisbon, the best cantinas, the best restaurants, the museums, gay beaches, best shopping places and much more. On a map u see the places and in the city u not need internet, because the map works offline. Its surely a plus for this guesthouse.

http://www.thelatebirdslisbon.com

Lisbon Tours

If you like to visit the city with a small group of LGBT people, you can surely choose for Lisbon tours. The tour is very personal and professional. They also organise tours to the gay beach. But you have to be quick, its very popular!

http://www.lisbonbeach.com

Touristicogay was on board of NCL EPIC: one of the most gayfriendly cruiseship

Touristicogay was aboard on one of the most beautiful ships of NCL: Epic. With more than 4000 passengers it is one of the largest and most beautiful ships of the fleet. We left in Barcelona and visited Pompeii, Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes and Palma de Mallorca. The cruise lasted 8 days. Here our report and assessment.

Freestyle cruising

Norwegian is known for its freestyle concept. Granted, we were a little afraid of it, but this is unjustified. With freestyle you are going to eat when you want and with whom you will. You have many restaurants next to the buffet restaurant which are included in the price: the outdoor buffet, 2 a la carte restaurants, an Asian restaurant, a noodle bar and an Irish pub (where you can eat 24 hours a day). In very few cases, you had to wait a little, but this was easily solved by giving a beeper to the guests. Also in the buffet restaurant, the crowds were limited and by the many food stations was mostly a little row. Each cruise line must have to import this concept!

The cabin

We had chosen for a balcony cabin. Many people complain about the small cabins and that is not unjustified. You have little space to you to dress up, but you can ask yourself the question how much time you spend there on such a big ship. NCL is also specialized in single cabins. Thereby you pay less than other cruise lines. Decision: a little more privacy, but it was not really disturbing.

The food

With the freestyle concept you can eat where and when you want. The buffet restaurant has a wide choice and the meals were varied and delicious. The only flaw was that many dishes there were served lukewarm. Those who like to eat a la carte could visit Manhattan Room and Taste. It was amazing! Every day you had a different menu and plenty of choices.

Also the Asian restaurant and Irish pub had delicious meals. People who love noodles, will be disappointed walking outside the noodle restaurant. The plates were to easy. If u like more variety in your choices you can always choose for a specialty restaurant: French, Italian, Brazilian,..

U have a wide variety of bars and everyone is mostly quickly served anywhere. The choice and presentation of the cocktails was less than other companies. Despite your drinks package you need to sign each of the receipts. It frustrated many guests.

The shows

NCL excels in their shows. Most cruise lines make own productions, NCL chooses for international shows and artists. Priscilla Queen of the Desert is an award winning musical. Onboard you saw the full broadway production and it was just amazing: what a show!! Burn the floor was also a great production with a fantastic decor … by far amazing. You felt if you were in a Broadway theater. The fact that u had to reserve your places, was a good choice of NCL.

In the Cavern Club (reconstructed to the original bar from Liverpool) you could watch a performance of the Epic Beatles. I am no Beatle fan, but it was by far one of the most professional cover groups.: top entertainment. But also Soulsatisfaction was purely top. An American group with motown and soul in its purest form.
In the spiegeltent you could enjoy a delicious dinner while watching the performance of Cirque Dreams & Dinner. You felt at times in a close setting of cirque du soleil. It was a stunning and unique spectacle.

But also the other groups, musicians, etc. who played everywhere on board were of the highest level. In short, if you like professional entertainment and you would like to pay more for this, be sure to choose NCL … and many passengers shared that same opinion.

Activities on board

Epic has a lot of animation on board: swimming pools, whirlpools, sports fields, bowling alleys, sport fields, a gym and supper water slides. For the gamblers among us you have one of the largest casinos aboard a cruise ship and you could enjoy the spa area.
Epic also have an entertainment team on Board for the necessary activities during the day and evening. While Epic scores high with its international shows, it lacks quality in their own animation team. The team was little to be seen during the day (out of a faint line dance by the pool) and they organized shows where I had a HI-DE-HI feeling (the American serie about a summer camp). This works with American tourists, but not with European customers. They like a higher standard of animation on board a ship.
The disco was the place to be in the evening hours, but they could not convince. They even managed to screw up the most parties by a bad DJ. There was often even more crew on the dance floor than customers.

NCL surely needs to work on a more professional entertainment staff that has more contact with the guests. Its unprofessional when they all go sit in the back with cocktails and party on their own while there are still guests. Even the macho behavior of certain team members of the entertainment team bothered me enormously (and other guests).

The excursions

Despite the high excursion prices they are very well organized and you get value for your money. Both in Pompeii as in Florence we had very professional guides. If you decided to go on your own, you got very good information on board. Its a shame that the day before they gave no information about the destination. Other cruise companies have this as an activity in their program. By NCL you had to read it on a screen.
The Crew

as a guest we felled ourselves at home on the ship. Epic is a week your home and then you expect your crew to be friendly and personal. That feeling we had here for sure: with the cabin steward, in the restaurant and at the bar. The crew did their job with pleasure and many guests told me to have a good feeling aboard.

One of the most gayfriendly cruises

On Board were a lot of gaypeople: couples and singles. They choose sometimes for a normal cruise rather than a gaycruise. With the musical Priscilla, queen of the dessert, NCL programmed one of the gayest musicals on earth. Many other shows had their gaymoments too: Burn the floor, Cirque@dreams, … and also the crew were very gayfriendly.

The most surprising was the daily official activity of a meeting in the bar for all the LGBT guests on board of the ship. The cruise director told me that its organized on every ship of NCL. Thank you NCL for the gayfriendly touch. Despite the good organization of gaycruises, some people like to do other cruises too. And as an LGBT member we like to feel us at home and meet other LGBT guests to have dinner together, do an excursion or party on board. This makes NCL one of the most gayfriendly cruise agencies. We hope other cruise agencies program this too.

Decision.

Who likes entertainment and international shows during his cruise should definitely choose for NCL. They are by far the best in the market. Also the freestyle principle is a bulls eye. This would have to be organized by other cruise companies. They score less on the personal entertainment and their smaller cabins. NCL is by far one of the most gayfriendly cruise companies.

But would I consider a next cruise by NCL? For sure! NCL is professional, gayfriendly and if you take the small flaws, you get definitely value for money.

With Air Berlin to New York and Washington

New York, famous for his statue of Liberty, Times Square,… and Washington for his White House and Capitol.
Touristicogay went to the Big Apple and Washington to see the best (and sometimes special) spots and the best gaybars in town. We fly with Air Berlin from Dusseldorf Airport. It was an amazing trip!

The easiest way to reach the airport of Dusseldorf is by train: take a Thalys and the ICE and you are there in just 3h from Antwerp or Brussels. Every 20 min you have a comfortable train from the main train station in Dusseldorf.

The airport surprises you: its modern with a lot of facilities: bars, shops,…..
Everyone hates a long check-in. With Air Berlin it goes fast and friendly. It just took me 15 min. Air Berlin flies on a regional airport, but is surely not a low cost company. You have much space on the economy seats and your own entertainment programs. A screen broken? They just come replace it. The staff is very friendly and the food was one of the best catering services I had on an airplane. In just 7 hours you are in the Big Apple. But first we fly further to Washington…

Washington

You can reach the city by plane from JFK. There are different companies who fly directly to the city.
We stayed at Palomar hotel, one of the Kimpton hotels. Its central in the gay area and popular by Europeans. At the corner you have a Tube station. We stayed in a nice suite with bathroom and soft beds. The hotel has a 24 hour gym and a swimming pool. During the week you can enjoy a free winetasting and socialize with the other guests. The breakfast can be taken in the restaurant for a small extra price. You can choose between continental and American Breakfast. It was just delicious.

http://www.hotelpalomar-dc.com

Washington is a green city. You can reach every part easily with the metro. Our first stop was the air and space museum. It gives you the history of the space program till the space shuttle and the history of the airplanes in US. They have many free tours. Try to catch one. We had an engineer of the past space program. He could tell us many stories.

But Washington is famous for the White House and the Capitol. Make your reservation for the White House in progress, but do not expect too much. You just see 5 rooms and no pictures allowed. After just 30 min you stay again on the street. A tour in the Capitol is very interesting. For that go to the visitors center. You will be placed in a group and get a free guide. You visit the main rooms, the library and the parliament. And its all free. But there is much more to see. If you like museums, you will find many on the mall, the green spot of Washington.

For shopping, take a free bus to the outlet shopping store outside of Washington. Its a big shopping mall with more than 200 outlet stores. Take a whole day and many credit cards, because its really cheap here.

Washington has a nice gaylife. You find discos, a Latin and black gaybar, stripper bars and a nice gay sauna. Here the bars close early, and they have many happy hours. But the sauna is open 24 hours. Just take the free magazine in one of the bars and you know where to go. And.. they serve Belgian beer!!

On Sunday, gays go brunch. You can do that at Agora restaurant. You pay 30 dollar and can choose for 2h from the map: small diches with different eggs, salads, toast and yoghurt. This all with champagne or cocktails as much as you want. Not a better way to start your Sunday! Up to New York…..

http://agoradc.net

New York

The best way to go from Washington to New York is by train: comfortable and easy… and free Wi-Fi!!!

We stayed in Colonial House Inn, in the nice neighborhood of Chelsea. Its a gay friendly B&B and Tony and his staff helps you with everything. You can book a nice room with shared bathroom or a suite with private bathroom. The breakfast is just delicious with own baked bagels, eggs, orange juice, yoghurt and fresh fruit. In the summer, you can sit on the rooftop.

http://www.colonialhouseinn.com

You can take the Metro to reach the the different areas of New York, but its a nice walking city. We walked a whole day and saw many places that you will miss when you take the metro. Go visit Time Square, museum, statue of Liberty and the other famous buildings and attractions. But do not forget to go to the new museum of 9/11. Its a nice spot where you can think one moment of all the victims of that day. And of course on Sunday you must visit Central Park: every New Yorker does the same.

If you book a tour chose for the Harlem Gospel tour on Sunday or Wednesday or the Brooklyn tour. We took the Harlem gospel tour with a guide. She can tell you many stories about this neighborhood and ends with a Gospel church visit of 1 hour.

The gay life in New York is huge: sports bars, disco, parties, strip bars, lounges. Every bar has happy hours from 4pm till 9pm. But not forget to visit the stonewall inn. At this gay bar, our freedom started in the 60s. For the rest: take a free copy of the magazine and look to the parties (and the hot bartenders) of that week.

Conclusion: Washington is nice, green city… New York an amazing one. If you like service, quality and friendly staff… then choose for Air Berlin. I do it again next time!

http://www.airberlin.com