Naked couple standing on the beach with their swimmwear on their feet

Nude News: Naked cruises coming to a port near you

Words by Teresa Spencer


Once upon a time, most cruise ships had clothing optional or topless decks for adults only.  This wasn’t always fun for some. I, for one, wasn’t a fan in the early ‘90s when my new husband was refusing to come off the top deck as he obviously was enamored with the sight of female bare breasts basking in the sun on the open ocean. 

However, as I have matured, becoming a little less modest and being divorced from that disrespectful peeper for a few decades now, I am actually OK with a topless deck. Who likes tan lines anyway?

Being a frequent cruiser, I was recently contacted by a company promoting a totally nude cruise here in Florida. Of course, I was curious especially as that memory of being furious at my new (now ex-) husband came to mind.  Now in my 50s, a topless deck would not be a big deal, and hey, I probably would utilize it to get the best tan I could.

Apparently, a few cruise lines still allow topless sunbathing in designated areas: Celestial Cruises, specializing in Mediterranean voyages; Costa Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation; and Virgin Voyages (no pun intended), an adults-only cruise line that’s a little bit different than any other. Seriously, I hear they have mermaids in drag and even a tattoo parlor on board. 

The particular cruise I mentioned is known as “The Big Nude Boat.” This year’s cruise, which is chartered and not sponsored by the cruise line, takes place aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride. It departs from Tampa on Feb. 5, 2024 with stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatán Island.

Everything about The Big Nude Boat is on brand: Ride the waterslide in the buff, try naked yoga, catch the breeze on the zip line, cast your bet in the casino or simply enjoy a cocktail letting it all hang out at the piano bar. And don’t forget to enjoy a naked poolside lunch while feasting on some bomb-dot-com grub from Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint.

The 2025 Big Nude Boat will be on Norwegian Cruise Line, also in February, departing from Miami with stops in Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia.

Guess what, these cruises aren’t just a bunch of horny swingers. In fact, most of them are geared for travelers who live the naturist lifestyle: those who like to be naked in a non-sexual way. Supposedly, nude cruisers are encouraged to be very discreet in hooking up or risk being kicked off the ship. 

If swinging is your thing, there are cruises for that too. Often referred to as “desire cruises” or “bliss cruises,” these charters cater to the more sexually adventurous types and allow public cavorting in designated spaces.

For the nude cruise-curious, there are also clothing-optional cruise ship charters like Bare Necessities that operates on Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and Carnival, including one leaving from JAXPORT. Nudity is at your own discretion; however, all guests must be clothed in the dining rooms. Nude newbies should also know they are required to wear clothing when exiting the ship at ports (though, your friendly cruise director can probably tell you about any nude beaches in the area). It is also considered proper etiquette not to on furniture when naked. Kindly, sit on a towel.

It’s actually no surprise Jacksonville has its own clothing-option cruise since Florida is the No. 1 destination for nudists and naturists with Pasco County holding the “title” of Nudist Capital of the World (at least according to a former president of the American Association for Nude Recreation).


About Teresa Spencer