"Azamara Journey" in Palma's port. | GABRIEL ALOMAR


In recent years, there has been a growth in the number of cruise ship holidays with specific themes and which cater for special interests. On Wednesday, Palma played host to one of these holidays. The Azamara Journey stopped over, its itinerary dubbed Desire Montecarlo Cruise; it is a cruise ship holiday for swingers.

This ship is comparatively small. It arrived in Majorca with 674 passengers, most of them American. They weren't necessarily all habitual swingers; some were "open to the experience". The cruise started in Monaco. As well as Palma, stopovers are in Saint Tropez, Portofino, Ibiza, Valencia and Barcelona. It is a cruise "full of erotic pleasure" for which "clothing is optional". Intimate encounters, it is explained, are limited to specific areas of the ship. As well as these encounters, the cruise offers personalised, "exquisite gastronomy".

There are erotic events, designed to arouse passions. A woman from Miami, on the cruise with her airline pilot husband, says that the experience is fantastic. Each night there are themed and costumed parties. She explains that there are two types of swinger. One practises "soft swing", which means not going all the way; the other type does.

Her husband says that in Miami there is an open mentality. This is not the case elsewhere in the US. In conservative parts of the country, a swinger is looked upon as being "the devil". He adds that this is the first cruise of its type that he has been on. "It's incredible."