The Italian Almanac

Cruise Barcelona

Gay Cruise

Italy is to launch its first ever gay cruise in September, with some couples hoping to benefit from Spain`s liberal same-sex marriage laws when the ship docks in Barcelona. Although Italy is often included as a stop-off on similar cruises that originate in other countries, this is the first time a gay cruise will leave from Italian shores.

Joint organisers and Gorgeous have chartered the largest cruise ship in the Mediterranean for the event - the 225-metre long Cruise Barcelona, which can accommodate 2,300 passengers and has two discos, two swimming pools, a gym, a beauty centre and a sauna aboard. The ship will leave from the port of Civitavecchia north of Rome for Barcelona, with passengers being entertained by famous drag queen Regina Miami, Italian gay comic Fabio Canino, and a fleet of ``sexy sailors``. Organisers said they are in negotiations with Barcelona city council for passengers to be able to tie the knot when the ship docks in Spain.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in Italy, where attempts by the last centre-left government to pass a law granting certain rights to cohabiting heterosexual and gay couples were also shot down following heavy criticism by the Catholic Church. Tickets for the cruise, which is open to gay men and women, are available online and more than 100 were snapped upin the first few days.