Atlantis Cruise + Circuit Festival  =
The Best Gaycation I've ever taken
By Steve V. Rodriguez

The summer of 2011 may have been the most decadent gaycation that I’ve ever taken which began with a Mediterranean Atlantis Cruise and ended up during Circuit Festival in Barcelona. The 20-day marathon really tested my group’s endurance to endure a multitude of parties, excursions, meet and greets, live shows, dinners, parties and of course boys! Whew! I’m exhausted just reliving it, but wouldn’t have traded it in for the world. Gay cruises, like Atlantis, are beyond fabulous which allow you to explore the world and experience several destinations within a condensed period.

Where else can you meet new friends, that more often than not, become future travel buds. If you want to explore the many destinations and excursions, the cruise does an amazing job of offering several options from rigorous to relaxing that help you become acquainted with each and every destination. Others like to take advantage of the plethora of amenities that the ship has to offer, like lounging by the pool and checking out the sexy scenery…aka boys.  The staff of Atlantis hires the best deejays and outfits the cruise with state of the art sound systems for the outdoor pool areas. Besides the pool, I loved taking advantage of the spa and gym facilities, which is probably the most relaxing activity you can treat yourself to on a vacation.

Our trip began in Italy. The ship was embarking in Rome, and what better way to start our holiday than to spend a couple of days in one of the most picturesque cities imaginable.  One of my best friends had never been to the Rome, so he toured the city via a Segway, while my other friend and I enjoyed sipping cappuccinos in nearby cafes and taking in the beautiful sunsets atop our rooftop at the Hotel Campo de Fiori. We even hosted a cocktail party one night on the rooftop and invited friends we had met on a previous Atlantis cruise. Spending time in Rome was a perfect prelude to the carnival of activities that awaited us in the coming days.

The Cruise
The cruise took us to amazing spots along the Mediterranean Sea including Rome, Florence, Nice, Barcelona, Ibiza, Tunisia and Corsica. We enjoyed eating pizza in Nice, which by the way, is argued by the Nicoise, to have been invented here, rather than in Italy.

In Ibiza we were lucky enough to attend the SuperMartXe dance party, which featured over the top costumes worn by some of the hottest dancers and trapeze artists. This party alone was one of the best dance parties I’ve ever attended.

One of our last stops on the cruise allowed me to check off my list of entering the continent of Africa. We toured Tunisia, specifically, the ancient city of Carthage and checked out the Roman bath ruins.

Back on the ship, we enjoyed the specialty dining options with old and new friends, and had a blast at all the theme parties: “All That Glitters” and “The Roman Party”. However, I don’t think any future ships will allow the glitter party to continue, as the sparkly dust remained days after the party was over, and is probably still being vacuumed up as I write this blog.

Circuit Festival
Our Mediterranean cruise did come to a sad end, but not to fear because Circuit Festival was about to kick into high gear in Barcelona. Although my friends and I were anxiously awaiting the hot steamy dance floors, amazing deejays and sexy boys, we did carve out some time to explore the city, shop and eat the delicious cuisine that the city has to offer. With stops at the infamous Tickets restaurant by renowned Chef Ferran Adria and his brother Albert, we tried the amazing gastronomic delights. Honestly, the local tapas restaurants were our favorites for late night dining, featuring staples like pan con tomate and the delicious tortilla. 

The parties couldn’t have been more decadent as one was better than the next. The local shuttle, that the festival provides, was convenient and bussed loads of hot boys over to all events, including the after hours parties which went on into the afternoon. Each event featured a show comprised of a stage filled with dancers who possessed some of the best bodies I’ve ever seen wearing very little.

I think the best part about Circuit Festival is that you meet so many people from around the world who all come together to celebrate the summer. Everyone is happy and the spirit is infectious, as it lingers on in your mind for years to come.

It would be hard to top this 20-day gaycation for me anytime soon, as it truly was a decadent adventure. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, the people and places that you are exposed to on an Atlantis Cruise or Circuit Festival are unbeatable. I encourage anyone reading to embark on either one, or better yet try and combine the two trips like I did and be ready for the ride of your life!

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