All About Trey

Life, Travel, Adventure

Atlantis Cruise: San Juan & St. Maartin

Sleep late, hit the pool at the hotel, go back to the room to pack. Can’t find my passport. Completely empty my suitcases, twice. Find my passport. Start to breathe again.

You can’t board the ship until 1PM, so a little after 1 I got a cab to the Pan American Pier. I arrive and enter this big waiting hall where there are all of these chairs lined up. It’s like 130, and I’m like the 1000th person there. The next hour or so is moving from one line to the other. The funny thing is that I’m sitting next two these two tall guys and this little old lady. Apparently the mother is going on the cruise with them. I listen to their conversation for a bit as I am intrigued. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get that suite so all three of us could stay together.” OMG!! Can you imagine rooming with your mom and your boyfriend? That’s just a parallel universe I’m not prepared to enter. The line actually goes pretty smooth and soon enough I have my ship card and am taking the escalators to get onto the ship. The ship is HUGE! My frame of reference of course is USS Reeves (, and this is a little bit bigger than that.

I’m on the second deck. Basically the lowest deck, with the smallest rooms. But I have it to myself and I have a window. So there! While the room is small, it is pretty nice. There’s a little ship newspaper that lists the various things going on as well as some info on the excursions. So the first plan of attack is to figure out what excursions to do. I do that, and then I’m sort of stuck. I want to go hit the pool, but my suitcase has not arrived. (Improper planning #2: Always carry a change of clothing with you when you board so you can immediately go up to the pool deck and begin the lounge chair Olympics.) So I wander up to the pool deck and do my first initial survey of the men onboard.

There’s the mandatory boat drill at 5 PM. It’s a haze and the life vests are not flattering. Orange will never be the new black. But of course, this is a gay cruise, so there is one guy walking around with an orange boa that *perfectly* matches the life vests. Just too funny. During the drill, they demonstrate how to blow into the whistle on the life vest. Big mistake. First of all, gay men have that blowing thing down pat. Secondly, some of the boys decide now is the time to pretend they are at a circuit party and won’t stop blowing their whistles. Stop. Please.

There is a little bit of pre-departure drama. The original info from Atlantis said the ship departed at 11PM. When we get on board and it's really 6PM. Ooops. And apparently some guys dropped their luggage off around 1PM and then headed into San Juan so they could skip the initial madness of trying to get on board. So there's this question about whether they will get on board on time. I'm not sure if they made it or not, I hope they did.

Cocktails on the pool deck, then dinner (the food is okay, there is lots of it, but it’s just okay). I wander the ship for a bit after dinner. They have all sorts of different events going on all the time: POZ meetings, Friends of Bill W. (which is an AA thing), “Straights Along for the Ride”, and even a Bears and Cub gathering. I go to the bears and cub thing, but its dead. Then it’s time for the first dance, the welcome party with DJ Warren Gluck. We like him. He plays music with words. I don’t make it a late night as I am on an excursion the next day. However, before I go to bed, I discover the midnight pizza buffet. Bad, Trey, bad.

When I wake up, the ship is docked at Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten, the Dutch half of the island. It’s overcast of course, so I take the umbrella from the room. After congregating on the pier, we board the bus for our tour. Now the excursion I was on was a tour the island type thing, head over to Marigot (the capital of the French side of Saint Martin), and then go to this beach resort for a couple of hours. The thing is, I expected the island to be prettier, more resortish, but it’s not. Our tour includes some areas of the island where I wouldn’t want to walk down the street alone at night. Just some kind of sad poverty striken areas. We stop for the mandatory photo ops, but it’s overcast and it’s really not that pretty. We do make it to Marigot, but this “charming little French village” is closed for Sunday. All of the stores and cafes that we were supposed to wander around are locked up. So we end up at the open air flea market where they hawk cheap (cost & quality) t-shirts, dresses, etc. After an hour there, we board the bus for the beach. We eat at this beach resort and then it’s some quality time on a lounge chair under the hot sun on a beautiful sandy beach on this lovely island. Yeah, not so much. I did get some quality time on the lounge chair, but it’s still overcast and there is a bit of a wind, so it’s almost cold. And then it starts to spit rain. Just not a good start. Anyways, after a couple of hours, we board the bus back to the boat. Now the funny thing is I ran into this guy on the ship who’s not doing any excursions. He’s like, “If you’ve seen one beautiful sandy beach in the Caribbean, you’ve seen them all. Why leave the ship.” And I can kind of see his point.

Back on the boat, I have time for a quick disco nap, and then it’s time for the singles cocktail party. Malcom, is the Atlantis cruise director, and he hosts a show every day on the ship’s TV talking about the different things going on that day. About the singles cocktail party and dinner. “It’s for the needy, not the greedy. You don’t count as being single if your boyfriend is up on the pool deck.” He’s just hilarious. The cocktail thing was pretty good. Chatted with some guys. Then we went into the dinner where between courses you got up and moved around so you could meet other single guys. It wasn’t so good. When I got a chance to move, I joined a table too quickly and when everyone else sat down the median age was 50. The second time people got to move (they alternated who could move), the median age went up to 60. When I finally got a chance to escape before the dessert course, I found a decent table and chatted with some interesting guys. But I had to leave dinner early to catch the comedy show. They had three comedians on board the ship and the first show included them all. And it was just hilarious. After the comedy show, it was time to wear my lightweight harness and go to the “Lure of Leather” get together at the bar at the end of the ship. It was fun and I did meet someone who was interested in “checking out my cabin.” So naturally I felt I had to show it to him. ; ) Afterwards, I went up to the Mardi Gras party with DJ Tony Moran. Another lesson learned: you need to pack for the theme parties. Some of these people had insane costumes. So cool. Of course, going shirtless was an option also. I did learn that wearing a harness and wearing mardi gras beads don’t match. How’s that for a bit of fashion advice.

The Mardi Gras Party was great. The music was hot, the boys were hotter, and we danced under the stars with red and green lasers shooting into the sky. It was just amazing. I danced to one of my favorite songs: How Would You Feel by David Morales:

Do you feel, you're in a dream
Is it real or hardly what it seems
Can your heart decide the game
Do you stay or burn me in your flame

Do you wanna remember
Did it last forever
Was it what you imagine
Or did it feel like magic

How would you feel
How would you know
If it was truly love