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Would you go naked on a cruise in front of 2,000 nude strangers?

Nude cruise vacations are certainly a liberating way to see the world – and they’re actually more hygienic than you might think. Sailawaze investigated.

Words by Samantha Priestly

Whether you’re already a big fan of nudist beaches and baring all in the open, or you just like to dance around your kitchen naked and would love to explore that feeling of freedom more, a nude cruise could be exactly what you’re looking for. On the Big Nude Boat you can be who you are, as you want to be, with no judgements.

The Big Nude Boat, run by nude travel company Bare Necessities, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a big ship, Carnival Pride, and the passengers onboard all love being nude. But there’s no pressure to do anything on a naked cruise. You can go as bare as you want, and if you’re only dipping your toes in the world of nudism, no one minds if you keep some of your clothes on.

While the main focus of nude cruises is fun and feeling free, there are some dos and don’ts to consider.

Everyone has the right to feel comfortable, so no solicitation of sex is allowed and no sexual behaviour can be conducted in public. Once in your own cabin, of course, it’s your own free-for-all.

Clothing is required in the dining room and when the ship is arriving in and exiting port, and no photographic or video images can be taken without the permission of the person involved. But being a practical soul, I had one burning question I needed answering. How do you clean a nude cruise? It might sound indelicate, but how are the public areas of the cruise kept hygienic?

Well, it seems I needn’t have worried as the answer is simple. No one is allowed to sit naked on any of the furniture on the cruise, and that includes sun loungers. A towel must be used at all times. Hats off, and everything else probably, to the person doing that laundry.

Bare Necessities ask, because of the premise of the cruise and the possible overuse of towels, that all guests are mindful of the environment and don’t use more towels than they need to.

This nude cruise has been setting sail since 1991 and since its first voyage with just 36 guests onboard, it’s gone from strength to strength. The boats have got bigger over the years, and the amount of clothing around onboard has got smaller!

As you might expect, one of the most vital elements to nude cruises is hot weather and lots of sunshine – which also means one of the most vital items in your suitcase is suncream.

There’ll be plenty of sun as The Big Nude Boat is traveling around the Caribbean early in 2023, revisiting some Caribbean islands the cruise company haven’t been to for a while, so this is a very special voyage.

It will then sail Greece a little later on (already sold out for 2023), and around Mexico in 2024.

Other items you might want to make sure you pack in your suitcase are – a hat to protect your head from the sun, a swimming costume for onshore excursions where there might not be a nudist beach, and some kind of wrap which you can use to cover up when you want to and to sit on so you don’t have to use too many towels.

Special workshops and lectures are available for those at-sea days, ranging from photography and tango dancing to meditation and massage therapy.

There’s a talent show for all those guests with a hidden, or not-so-hidden, talent, and for those who have the balls (ooh matron) to get up and show everyone what they’ve got, and theme nights with best costume competitions.

But as with everything on nude cruises, there’s no pressure to participate in anything onboard and if all you want to do is hang out with the breeze in your hair, and everywhere else, no one will bat an eyelid. There’s also nightly entertainment, nude discos and a naked casino.

The point of a “nakation” isn’t anything to do with sex or sexual nudity, and it does seem that many bare cruisegoers make strong connections and friends for life. Perhaps there’s something about being butt-naked in front of each other that really does strip away inhibitions and brings us all to one level.

There are no expectations, no sizing each other up based on how expensive our clothes are or aren’t; when we’re as naked as the day we were born, we are all equal. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to get that all-over tan!

Set Sail

15-day Caribbean with Bare Necessities

Duration: 14 nights

Where: Tampa, Florida | St Thomas| St Kitts | Antigua | Grand Turk | Amber Cove | Princess Cays | Half Moon Cay | Tampa, Florida

Ship: Carnival Pride

Price: From $6,344 pp

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Published 12.26.22