When planning their holiday last year, Bryan and Kevin Manley-Green made the choice that more and more adventure-seeking gay travelers around the world are making — they booked themselves on a river cruise.
The Manley-Greens knew they wanted to explore Eastern Europe, but they wanted to do so safely in a region that’s not known for being incredibly gay-friendly. So they chose a 10-day Danube river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest being offered by Emerald Waterways, one of a growing number of companies now catering to fierce public demand in this hot tourism sector.
“A river cruise is a really easy way to go to a place like Serbia, which for a gay couple could be really dangerous,” said Bryan Manley-Green, who runs a translation company in the 29-year couple’s hometown of Birmingham, England. “On gay river cruises, we know we’ve got the safety of the cruise ship, and we’ll be on guided tours. If we venture off on our own and if push comes to shove, we could say we were brothers.”
The Manley-Greens opted for a “mainstream” cruise, since they said they prefer traveling with a wide range of fellow passengers. “We’ve never wanted to be surrounded only by gay people,” Kevin Manley-Green explained.
However, for many gay travelers, being surrounded by others like themselves is a big part of the pleasure of cruising. With these folks in mind, several tour operators are now offering LGBTQ-specific gay river cruises charters, which journey to an ever-increasing roster of global destinations, and combine the convenience of pre-arranged travel with the intimacy of a smaller-boat experience.