Carnival Cruises is in hot water for reportedly telling passengers that drag would been banned on an upcoming drag cruise. An email was sent to ticket holders on Carnivial’s “Drag Stars at Sea” cruise, telling them that they wouldn’t be able to put on a wig and heels and kiki aboard the U.S.S. Glory. Only the professionals from RuPaul’s Drag Race could. Y’see, there were other people on the boat—including children—so everyone would have to keep their pants on.
When asked, Carnival management acknowledged that gender illusion was verboten among passengers on the December 2 cruise, but said it wasn’t discrimination. It was part of their standard policy as a result of the war on terrorism.
A post on the Facebook page for Al & Chuck’s Travel, which organized the gay cruise, explains:
Dear Valued Guests and Friends,
We hope that this brief note finds you well. By now, we are sure that most of you traveling with us on the upcoming Drag Stars At Sea: Caribbean Adventure – Revenge of the Wench have received Carnival’s letter regarding their regulations concerning costumes and masks (under which traditional “DRAG” falls under).
We are sympathetic to your sentiments that you have expressed via email and social media. As a gay man who has been partnered for 25 years, I have suffered many forms of discrimination because I am part of the GLBT community. But please take note, Carnival’s regulation is NOT an example of discrimination. Carnival is an ally of the GLBT community. Please understand that this cruise could not even be happening on the GLORY if Carnival was not an ally of our segment of society. When they say they are a “family friendly” cruise line they mean it in both the traditional and metaphorical sense of the phrase.Carnival’s “no costumes rule” is NOT meant to be an insult to the gay community. As a gay business, we would not have organized this cruise if they were prejudiced against gay people. This rule goes for both GAY and STRAIGHT passengers that travel on all Carnival cruises. It is in response to the post-911 world we live in. It is meant to protect passengers and guests – NOT to marginalize a few.Additionally, we know that transgendered members of our community will be aboard with us during this event. Please do not worry, Carnivals rule is not meant towards you. Your right to live your identity is always supported.Finally, Drag Stars At Sea is a cruise venue for you to meet the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. Just as you would not go in costume (other than on Halloween) to a club to see them perform, neither should you on the GLORY. Again, our desire was always to bring this incredible talent together in one place for you to enjoy along with all the other benefits of the VALUE of a mixed guest cruise. We pointed out to you that a private charter (and they are excellent cruises) can be DOUBLE what you are paying for this experience. This is an opportunity for your favorite entertainers to shine for YOU! We will of course, still have our parties and events aboard (the rules of which are outlined in your travel package) for you to join in on the fun.
Ultimately, let’s use this opportunity to set an example so that all the world can see that the GLBT community can follow rules and regulations just like everyone else. Finally, I want to say from the bottom of my heart, we have done our absolute best in creating this event. We have tried to communicate effectively and bring you the best possible experience, which we believe would not be available to you any other way. At the end of the cruise, I hope you will agree with my sentiment humbly expressed here.
Chuck and I look forward to meeting you on board….we promise you the best time of your lives!
Carnival’s own forums are heating up with comments. One poster stated, “That is interesting. There were men in drag on our past Magic cruise and it wasn’t even a drag cruise.”
Has anyone been on an LGBT Carnival cruise? Have you seen passengers giving drag realness before? Share in the comments below.