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All Hail the Queen

Living luxe aboard the Queen Mary 2’s first-ever all-gay transatlantic crossing.
By Chandler Burr
Photo provided by Cunard

The warmth was palpable. Everyone said hi to everyone else. On Deck 7 at 3am one morning at the 24-hour buffet (which was packed), I watched a guy sit down alone at a table and instantly the four next to him looked over, said, “You by yourself?”
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He nodded. “Then get your ass over here, queen! Sit with us!” The moment was worth the trip. The first day I met Mike, a doctor from Los Angeles, and Dean, a financial planner from Boston. When on day two I met David and Lars from Sausalito and David from San Francisco, they assumed by the way we interacted that we’d known each other for years. We all became a posse. At meals in the gorgeous Britannia dining room we ordered everything on the menu and put it in the middle of the table. Some new friends we met said, “So how many years have you six known each other?” Nights, we all danced: two-step, ballroom, house...

Two times at 5am I went out on my balcony. I looked fore to see the pale pink sunrise over the Atlantic, the clouds pearly on top and tangerine underneath. Then aft to the huge full moon and a diamond-like Venus in what was left of the violet night sky, and then went to bed.

At dinner the last night, I asked my adorable, big, straight Romanian waiter if he would write down “I love your big cock” in Romanian. He laughed. “You not tell I giving you this,” he said to me with a huge grin and slipped me a card with my dessert course: “Iubesc pula ta mare.” At 9:58pm beside the stage I handed it to Amy (“Bitch!” she said. Peered at it. “So how do I fucking pronounce this?”) In the middle of the show, Soren came up front to deliver her the fifteenth martini the queens in the audience were sending, and she read it to him at full volume, and he went bright red and we all clapped him on the back as he, the handsome and polite straight Romanian gentleman, walked triumphantly back with his tray.

Amy sang I will remember you / Will you remember me, and we all sang along and stood up and cheered forever and no one wanted to leave the Queen’s Room.

The postscript is that I took the QM2 back home. I didn’t even get off the ship. I just went to bed, and the next day everyone disembarked in Southampton, and the ship was empty and desolate for a few hours, and then it started filling up again with the usual passengers. And it was completely different. The magic was gone. The weird thing was, the crew felt it as strongly as I did. I passed one of the masseurs from the spa, a big beefy blond straight guy. “Wow,” he said, “We miss you guys! That was such great energy, it even came in and filled up the spa!” I saw the quiet Croatian restaurant manager. “We loved you,” he said, “everyone was so nice.” A Dutch stateroom maid told me they wished it could be gay all the time. I went to lunch in the Britannia dining room. The shimmer had vanished. The straight Turkish headwaiter stopped by. “We all loving it,” he said, forlorn. “The leather party was amazing.” I looked at him. Uh, was he straight or gay? “Straight,” he said. He shrugged. “But I go, I talking with people. Really fun party, the leather party. Now,” he said, “we missing. We will all remember you.”

At press time, there are no immediate plans for RSVP to host another Queen Mary 2 crossing. But RSVP hosts cruise vacations all over the world (the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Alaska, the South Pacific, etc.) with several more planned this year. If you’d want to go on RSVP's next cruise, you can book online via www.rsvpvacations.com. Or call RSVP directly: USA: 800.328.RSVP (7787); International: +44 (0) 7968 962 882.

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