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Carnival Cruise Lines has apologized to gay passengers on an upcoming drag cruise who were told Monday they would be kicked off the liner if they dressed in drag in public. Here is there letter:
Within the last 24 hours, we became aware of a miscommunication between Carnival Cruise Lines and AlandChuck.travel, who have booked a large special interest group on the upcoming Carnival Glory cruise departing December 2, 2012.
The group, “Drag Stars at Sea,” includes several performances by stars from Logo TV as part of a series of private events onboard. When the group was presented to us we were advised that only the performers would be dressed in drag during the private events. However, we are now aware that this was not clearly communicated to members of the group and therefore anyone who wishes to dress in drag may do so. Please keep in mind that our safety and security procedures require guests to present government-issued ID, and to be recognizably that person.
At Carnival, we are proud to carry more than 4.5 million guests every year and we welcome them all aboard. We do not practice any form of discrimination against the LGBT or any other community. We sincerely apologize for the miscommunication and for any unintended offense we have caused.
Given this misunderstanding, anyone on this cruise who wishes to cancel for any reason may do so and will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, as well as reimbursement for any non-refundable travel related expenses.
We constantly strive to provide our guests with a fun and memorable vacation. We look forward to welcoming everyone onboard Carnival Glory and again want to apologize for the misunderstanding and for any offense we have caused.
President and CEO
Carnival Cruise Lines
Christopher, Carnival backtracks, allow drag on 'Drag Stars at Sea' cruise, Barry and one other person are discussing. Toggle Comments
Just days before the AlandChuck “Drag Stars at Sea — 2012 Caribbean Adventure — Revenge of the Wench Cruise” – which departs on December 2, 2012 – passengers received this letter from Carnival Cruise Lines:
Arrangements have been made for drag performances in the main theater featuring stars from LOGO TV. These functions will be private and only the performers are permitted to dress in drag while in the theater. Guests are not allowed to dress in drag for the performances or in public areas at any time during the cruise.
We’re sorry to say that any guest who violates our policies and/or whose behavior affects the comfort and enjoyment of other guests, will be disembarked at their own expense and no refund will be given.
Thank you for your cooperation. Now that we’ve taken care of business… let the FUN begin!
Needless to say, we’re sure there are a lot of unhappy passengers at this time. What is your opinion on this? Should Carnival or AlandChuck Travel have been more clear on what the rules and regulations would be on this cruise?
Read the entire article in the Huffington Post
Please leave your comments below:
paul lombardo, David from Denver, and John from NYC are discussing. Toggle Comments
For me, the last day on a cruise can be very depressing. I know that I will once again have to return to my 9 – 5 workday, plan the meals for the week and say ‘goodbye’ to new friends. For Dale and I, this trip was full of positive experiences that can only be felt on a cruise. We had our last meal with our new friend Gilles and his partner Gord where we shared our many memories over a few bottles of wine. We both agreed that cruising is about the community we build on board and the new friendships that we make. Since our experiences were so similar, I asked Gilles if he would share his thoughts. I will soon be writing about our trip and posting it in ‘News & Expert Advice’.
by Gilles Marchildon*
To paraphrase Maya Angelou, people will forget what you say and what you do but never how you made them feel. Norwegian Cruise Line seems to have payed particular attention to Angelou’s words.
Travel provides opportunities to see incredible, breath-taking sights but there are only so many mountain ranges, ocean sunsets, church spires and castle dungeons one can absorb within a short period of time. These are often best revisited through pictures to prompt our recall.
It’s funny, though, that we don’t need pictures to recall the people or stories of a particular trip. For the vast majority of travelers, the bedrock foundation of a truly enjoyable and memorable trip are the people we encounter and the experiences we share. Humans are social animals and nowhere is this more obvious than on a cruise.
Cruises are often used to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. They’re also opportunities for people to cut loose during the many zany on-board game-shows as well as trivia and dance contests, not to mention make friends at the bars.
Our Barcelona to Venice cruise (with stops in Sicily, Croatia and Slovenia) was our “in-between-birthdays” trip. My spouse and I celebrate our respective birthdays in mid-April and early May so travel between these dates is our annual gift to each other. We find a trip so much more meaningful and fun instead of splurging on extravagant gifts for each other. No gift-wrapping required!
Prior to our trip, we had put in a special request for birthday cake at one of our dinners. Except we got caught up in their “free-style” approach, forgetting to book a specific night. So it was that on our second-last evening, we finally remembered our request. We were at a table of fellow gay men whom we’d met (thanks to Norwegian’s promotion of a nightly “Friends of Dorothy” LGBT meeting). Near the end of the meal, a tentative enquiry was made with our cute Indian waiter. We weren’t really expecting that a cake could be produced on such short notice and at this late hour. Indeed, our chatty group, aided by 3 different bottles of wine on the table, was practically the last one in the grand dining room.
Well, about as fast as Dorothy could click her heels together and be swept back to Kansas, our table was surrounded by close to a dozen staff singing “Happy Birthdays” (yes – plural) and a jumbo cake landed among the wine bottles and first round of desserts. We had foolishly ordered desserts from the menu, not thinking that a birthday cake was realistic. Round two of desserts. Such is the hardship. We did our best, particularly aided by the ferocious appetite of one of our sweet-toothed fairies. Complementary digestifs helped us wash it down.
See? Norwegian’s efforts ended up being just as memorable as the splendours of the Adriatic cities through which we’d walked during the previous two days. Maya Angelou would just smile knowingly.
* Gilles Marchildon is the former Executive Director of Egale Canada, the country’s main LGBT advocacy group. He was also director of Winnipeg’s Reel Pride gay and lesbian film festival and editor of the city’s monthly queer publication, Swerve
Things my Mother taught me:
1) how to cook, which I appreciate,
2) how to clean a toilet, which I don’t, and
3) how to sew on a button.
With those skills in place I decided that I was fully qualified to design and execute our costumes for our Halloween cruise on the NCL Spirit with Aquafest. Packing for a cruise always takes a little extra planning but when you’re also packing for a Halloween party plus five theme parties, the word ‘packing’ takes on a whole new meaning.
First of all, we aren’t the creative costume types. The process of thinking about our costumes started months ago. I’m a musician and Mark has a great eye, but neither one of us got the gay gene for costume creation
The first two problems we encountered were where do we get the extra luggage for the costumes, wigs, feather boas, make-up, etc and how much are those damn baggage fees going to add up to? That’s where Goodwill and Southwest Airlines entered the picture. We purchased an extra piece of luggage at our local Goodwill for only $8.00 but unfortunately it came with a nasty odor when one opened it. Nothing a few squirts of Lysol can’t cure. By purchasing our airline tickets through Southwest, all of our beads and glitter are flying free!
Speaking of the glitter, we’ll never get all of it out of the carpet and the dogs keep trying to eat the leather scraps I bought for $1.00 per pound.
The first two theme parties I decided to concentrated on were Pirate Nights and Egyptian Night. The Disco theme is automatically taken care of since Mark has always accused me of being stuck in that era. If you don’t believe me, just take a peek in my closet.
For pirate night I found the perfect ruffles to sew on a shirt but the shirts were too perfect and too white. Mark rolled his eyes when he came home and I was mincing back and forth between the kitchen and the back deck with an enormous roasting pan, about 75 tea bags and two oversized white dress shirts to soak. I figured the tea would give them that Errol Flynn patina. You young guys can look that name up on Wikipedia.
I dried the shirts and began sewing on the ruffles, which went fairly smoothly. Luckily the inside of the shirt won’t show because this is the worst job of sewing anyone has seen since my first lesson with ‘Sewing With Nancy’, or so I thought until I began Mark’s shirt. I operated on the mistaken impression that since my shirt went so smoothy I would be able to sew on his ruffles exactly like my Aunt Grace. She could sew, cook dinner, watch TV and nurse a baby all at the same time. I’m not lactating but figured I could do as well as she.
I got home with 4 yards of ruffle only to be told rather abruptly that the colors didn’t match. Instead of coming home with an off-white that worked for my shirt, I’d picked up a stark-white, wedding-gown virginal white, which of course we all know wouldn’t work for Mark.
Back to the no-returns-policy fabric store. By the way that place is terrific. With an inexpensive and wonderful selection, the place is the size of a Costco. In case you need to know, SAS fabrics in Phoenix has the best selection outside Mumbai for material to make Saris. I thought about going as Mother Theresa, then remembered that she didn’t wear a Sari.
I returned home with the correct ruffle this time, no virginal white. We were watching reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race for some costume fashion tips when I realized I had sewn the ruffles of his right sleeve on upside down. When will I ever learn that 3 glass of wine and sewing just don’t mix?
Now it’s on to the Egyptian collars which I need to make ready for all the “precious stones” I picked up at SAS. Wish me luck so we don’t end up looking like a dog wearing the dreaded “Cone of Shame.”
Mike is discussing. Toggle Comments
If you want to organize a group cruise and perhaps sail “free,”* it is possible! If you do it right, you may end up with several free cruise cabins! Over the next four weeks, I’ll be providing a series of tips for planning your own group cruise.
Do all your friends say, “gee, we’d just love to go on a cruise with you sometime,”? If so, and if you’re a natural planner and a bit of a shameless promoter, you could start organizing your own group cruises – either as small gay group cruises, or along other themes of your choosing…or just for a bunch of friends with no theme at all.
I’m about to give you my tips – my lessons learned – from a group cruise I tried to organize a few years ago. I’ll give you the pros and the cons from my own experience.
- If you can’t afford the trip without the group, don’t even start. My wallet and I learned this the veryhard way, the several thousand dollars way.
- I planned a trip I couldn’t afford thinking gay travelers would jump at the chance to sail round-trip from San Diego to Hawaii over the Christmas holidays.
- While plenty of people expressed a desire to join us, too few got out their credit cards (for reasons below); thus my partner and I were not able to qualify for the free or even discounted cabin we were planning on.
- I needed to sell 8 cabins for the 50% discount, or 16 cabins for my partner and me to “cruise free.” We sold 5. Ouch.
- How many people do you personally know who are likely to actually pay to travel with you? And would they be willing to pay for your trip—because in organizing group travel, that’s essentially what you’re asking them to do.
- In my case, I actually knew more-than enough people who wanted to go, my problem was timing (see the next point).
- Depending on several factors, it can take as few as 5 sold cabins to qualify for one person to cruise “free,” and 10 cabins in order to obtain a completely “free” cabin. The factors depend largely on demand for the itinerary and how motivated the cruise line’s sales agent is to work with your travel agent (and yes, you will need to use a travel agent, and s/he should be a group cruise expert).
- Timing is a huge factor in planning group travel. People have busy lives. It’s a crucial to make sure you’re planning a cruise during a period when the people in your dream-group will have time off from work and other obligations.
- This is where I made my biggest mistake. We chose the Christmas holidays for our 14-night cruise, because I knew my friends who teach school would be off work.
- Indeed, tons of people expressed a desire to go and everyone had the time, but the majority were unwilling to go because they wanted to be home for Christmas. As someone who hates the family drama at holiday time, I was shocked at the number of mature gay men who said they would happily leave on December 26, but they needed to be with their mom’s on Christmas Day.
- Lesson learned: I would not worry about the school schedule, and would simply plan a cruise for mid-winter when the majority of my friends (who are not in education) could take vacation time.
Next week: Choosing a good group itinerary, Choosing the right travel agent / cruise agent, How to work successfully with your agent.
Do you already have a group cruise planned? Be sure it’s listed in the gay cruise calendar!
*Note: nothing in life is truly free. A “free” cruise as the organizer of a group will have other costs associated, including onboard expenses, possibly port fees/taxes, and of course the cost of airfare, as applicable. You also have to weigh in the time you spend organizing…your time has a value, so keep in mind that there will be expenses associated with a group cruise even if your cabin is “free” or “comped.”
A gay friend just asked me for suggestions on upcoming Panama Canal cruises. If you’ve followed this blog, you should
know that both my partner and I consider our 2005/06 canal cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas our best-ever vacation, for many reasons.
Perhaps the biggest reason was the many gay men we met on board — about 40 of them, mostly couples — some of whom we had “pre-met” through Internet searches… long before MeetMeOnBoard.com was born. Many of us dined together each night in 4s and 6s, but still at larger tables with straight passengers… it was a BLAST. (We’re still friends with many of them, and still travel to see each other).
Anyway… I could go on and on about what a great cruise it was. But I suggest you go book your own! Here are a handful of tips for that trip:
- Do a full-transit sailing, not a partial.
- Go east to west (start in Florida, end in California) so you’re always adding hours to the clock.
- Stay on the ship through the entire canal–that’s what you’ve paid to experience. Guests who get off at/in the canal to do shore excursions miss the complete wow of having sailed between the two oceans.
- If your ship stops in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, arrange privately for a full-day zipline & waterfall tour with http://www.finca-daniel.de/
- If you stop in Acapulco, you MUST see the cliff divers show.
Bon voyage! Randall
As you may have heard, my story about cruising in the Arctic recently won a major travel writing award.
But the article as run by The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News is only part of the story. You see, I traveled on board Cruise North’s Lyuba Orlova because I’m gay, to gauge the reaction of staff and crew to homos. Not that polar bears and muskox really care about humans’ sexual orientation. But cruise companies’ sure do.
I was assured in advance that Cruise North had seen lots of gay passengers, and that gays love the experience. Unfortunately, neither my partner nor a friend was able to join me for my Cruise North expedition, so it’s really hard to say exactly how “gay friendly” shipboard staff actually is…on my itinerary, I was the only “out” gay person onboard.
There was certainly no “Friends of Dorothy” party. It would likely have been a “Friend of Dorothy” party; I’m fairly sure I wasn’t the only homo on board, but none of the Russian sailors or Inuit crew come from cultures where being out is an easy thing.
Lest you think I’m a pansy, you should know that I was as out as I could be onboard the Orlova, and my experience was very good. The chance to see polar bears from the deck of a cruise ship is brain-dazzling beyond words (even for a writer), and my experiences with ship staff and fellow passengers were uniformly accepting. As for the Russian sailors–the crew–who run the boat, I can’t really say. We didn’t have enough chance to interact…although I winked at a couple of them and like to think they smiled knowingly in return.
If you’re looking for a remarkable cruise experience in a region few travelers will ever visit, I encourage you to take a good look at the remarkable itineraries offered by Cruise North. I’m actually considering a return voyage with them to the Arctic this summer or in 2010, although I’ll be bringing my partner or a gay friend to truly gauge the staff & crew reaction when two “out” men travel together, not to mention having a more meaningful experience.
Better yet: invite several friends, make your own gay “polar bear group” cruise, and let me know how it turns out. I suspect sailing on top of the world will be life-changing for you as it was for me, in a very positive way.
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