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Full Steam Ahead: China's First LGBT Cruise Launches

Don’t you need to get away? 

Wind-whipped winter is nearly (nearly!) behind us, and what better way to embrace the summer ahead than with a cruise? Not just any cruise, mind you, but China’s first-ever LGBT cruise. 

Hundreds of men (among others) will join Pumpkin Travel (a subset of InterTravel) on its maiden voyage from the shores of the Middle Kingdom. Departing Shanghai on June 14, this tour will surge across the East China Sea to find culture and commerce in Japan’s cities of Fukuoka and Sasebo. 

Note: While Americans, Australians, and most Europeans can enjoy visa-free entry into Japan, Chinese citizens face different restrictions and should check with a travel agent to ensure the visa is processed in time. 

There are many ways to connect with the LGBT community in Beijing, but this cruise brings together people from a variety of cities for a weeklong journey. The ship is equipped with seven restaurants and a range of ocean view or interior cabins that sleep two to four. Highlights of the five-day cruise include: 

 

Gay Singles’ Night

It’s what we’re all thinking, right? Organizers from Pumpkin Travel are calling out all the singles on board, for an evening of intoxicated limerence. Meet your Mister Right, or your Mister Right Here, and the potential start of something beautiful.

 

PFLAG China 10th Anniversary

China’s largest network of LGBT people (and their family and friends) co-hosts this voyage, so it’s only natural that their 10th anniversary gathering takes place here as well. The stories they share, of challenges and victories over 2016, will all be in Chinese, but the feeling of welcome and warmth will be available for all.  

 

Day tour of Fukuoka

In the days of medieval Japan, Fukuoka was almost a magical city. Twice it fended off invasion by Kublai Khan, aided by tempest winds that came to be known as Kamikaze (Divine Wind). The majestic city is hemmed by mountains on three sides, opening in the north to the Sea of Genkai and your port of arrival. Enjoy a daylong tour of cultural charms—from temples to castle ruins to food stalls and shopping—before returning to celebrate 10 same-sex couples united in an onboard wedding. 

 

Group Wedding

We can’t let San Francisco have all the fun. Back onboard the ship, you can play witness to 10 lovely couples who want to affirm their love in a wedding ceremony before the assembled crowd. Don’t worry: You don’t need to bring 10 gifts. But with all the shops you’ll find in Fukuoka (and Sasebo, on the day before), you’ll be able to represent. You can at least buy something classy to wear, right? 

Pack your sunscreen, your favorite tipples, and your swimsuit, for a fabulous get away across the bright blue sea. Depending on your choice of cabin, prices range from ¥1,248-3,548/person.

Interested in getting your fun in the sun and your glee on the sea? Add Pumpkin Travel on WeChat (ID: 南瓜旅游) or email pumpkintravel@163.com. 

Ready to ship off? Is a boatful of gay boys is terrible idea? Let us know below. 

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robbinsadam
Adam Robbins is Managing Editor for City Weekend Beijing. The peripatetic Yankee left small town Maine for an education at Harvard and UT Austin before moving on to Minnesota to help win marriage equality. When he's not exploring the ancient metropolis on his trusty bike, or building up the capital's LGBT institutions, you can find him relaxing and baking with husband and cat.

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