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A Straight Couple Accidentally Boarded a Gay Cruise. Should They Sue?


Just how bad should you feel for a straight couple that unknowingly winds up on a gay cruise? Well, how much sympathy would you want if you ended up on a straight cruise when you thought you were heading to Barcelona surrounded by jello shooters and Speedos?

So is the story of an unnamed middle aged Italian couple who thought their cruise from Civitavecchia (outside Rome) to Barcelona would be a regular sun-filled ocean getaway. Then they showed up to the port where media trucks were swarming the ship: It was Italy’s first all-gay cruise, themed “Revolution,” and some 1,500 homos were getting on board.

And now, uh, the couple is suing. Because they were embarrassed. And they spotted friends they didn’t know were gay. Huh.

Gay rights activists say the couple’s lawsuit shows they are homophobic, though the couple’s attorney insists that’s not the case. They’re suing over a breach of contract; they allege the cruise line didn’t accurately represent the voyage.

And while we can understand why activists might be upset, have you ever been on a gay cruise? While cruise organizers say the three-day affair wasn’t outrageously gay, let’s be honest: Gay men don’t get aboard a cruise ship to take pictures of the sunset. So we understand the couple’s frustration, especially if they’re the more button upped type who aren’t interested in laying by the pool while everyone fondles strangers.

And hell, we wouldn’t want to inadvertently board a straight cruise when we expect to board a ship full of mai tais and men.

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  • JonJon

    Oh, please. My partner won a 3-day (low end) cruise in the 80’s from Miami to the Bahamas. We were the ONLY gay couple on board this horrendous, creaky Norwegian Cruise Lines tub…with 1600 Kiwanis-type heteros! HORRIFYING! The midnight buffet? Who KNEW you could make that many shapes out of jello molds?!?! Fuck Sergio and Ana Maria…get a life, both of you. By the way, no amount of money could get me on a goddam boat again….ever. BORING!

  • Cinci Chris

    I’ve been on a number of “straight cruises,” although there was a full diversity of people so I don’t think it’s fair to ever call a non-gay cruise a “straight cruise.” If I were a straight couple, being on a gay cruise would definitely not be my idea of a relaxing vacation. We’re definitely a lot more wild and fun than our straight counterparts…lots of people just want to relax on a cruise. I don’t blame them at all.

  • Republican

    Well, I’d have to know more of the details to know whether homophobia was involved, but I do know that if I went on a cruise that was primarily one of those theme cruises and the site that I purchased the tickets from wasn’t absolutely clear about the nature of the cruise, I’d be VERY pissed. There are Star Trek cruises, Southern Gospel cruises, astronomy cruises, etc., and if those aren’t what you’re into, odds are good that you’re not going to enjoy your trip.

  • Mike

    I’m gay, and from what I’ve heard from friends (who, amittedly, love them) I’d be horrified to find myself on a gay cruise.

  • Republican


    Never been on one. Are they as wild as one would imagine?

  • Kris

    I can only imagine it is a gay bar floating on water — and any gay male or female knows what happens in a gay bar. I don’t if it’s worthy of a lawsuit, but if it can be proven that the cruise line did not fully represent the type of cruise to the couple, I would say they are at least entitled to a free cruise of equal value and it might behoove the cruise to upgrade the couple.

    At the end of the day, no one was hurt, but I would not be happy if I thought I was heading on a theme cruise and when I got on board it was a different theme or not one at all…

  • What About LGBT DIDN"T the Breeders Understand?

    How oblivious could they possibly have been? The web ad clearly identified this as “The First Italian LGBT Cruise”. It’s like signing up for a gay cruise and claiming you didn’t know what ‘gay’ meant.

    Clearly, they went on the cruise. If they had gotten to the ship and decided not to go, I might be slightly more understanding from a strictly commercial point of view. But they went on the cruise. They consumed services. It’s like asking for a refund because you didn’t have as good a time as you thought you should. Or like trying to return a Kobe steak when you found out it was beef and not Kobe Bryant. Stupid straight people.

  • Gregoire

    Most cruises are quite insufferable. You just cannot trap that number of people in one place and come up with activities that aren’t mind-numbingly lame.

  • Freddie

    Are there any cruise ships where people don’t either die of food poisoning, pirates, or get tossed overboard?


  • AlwaysGay

    This heterosexual couple is trying to cheat the system. They knew they were going on a gay cruise beforehand but felt because they are heterosexual (and in their view above gay people) they shouldn’t pay.

  • Kguy

    I’ve been on 3 cruises with my bf and they were fun. Good mix of days to relax vs days at ports to explore on your own.
    We were grossly outnumbered by heteros on the ship (except the crew of course) but how is that any different from every other day of our lives? I’m just about as interested in a gay cruise as a gay restaurant or a gay store or a gay anything.
    I guess we don’t choose to live in the homo-protected shelters that others do.

  • Solis

    Well if I were a straight couple on a gay cruise … I’d be pissed … imagine the long lines for the water slide!

  • Fitz

    I feel badly for anyone on a gay cruise who isn’t 25, white, very fit, and a drug user.

    Did an Atlantis once…. worst 2 weeks of my gay life. The most non-affirming thing I have ever done.

  • Scott

    I’ve been aboard week long cruises filled with heterosexuals, having contests like “Find the guests who are Mr & Mrs WorldCruise”. I had to sit at dinner with a hetero couple and their young kids. When you find yourself in a situation you have to roll with it. Remember the old saying, “when in Rome …”

  • robert in nyc

    they didn’t know it was a gay cruise when they got on? morons.

  • Hard Core Cruisers

    Gay cruises are horribly overpriced (because they’re a specialty booking) and representative of the worst the community has to offer. I prefer mixed cruises (or as you call them, “straight”). The last few I went on there were between 40 and 60 gay men. That’s not a small number really. If you’re looking for a floating bath house, the gay cruises will probably be your thing. If you’re like me, you’ll stay FAR away.

  • jason

    Gay cruise?? I reckon it’s more like “sex cruise”. Face it – a lof of this gay marketing is thinly-disguised marketing of sexual activity. The word “gay” is used as a banner under which to market excessive sexual activity. There’s no dignity in it.

  • scott ny'er

    man. i was thinking of doing a gay cruise. But i’m not 20. Not muscular. And am not trying to hook up. Maybe meet someone but not hook up.

    i guess i need to rethink that.

  • alan brickman

    they were looking for a lawsuit..and they got one…

  • jason

    Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude. I just loathe the use of the word “gay” as a marketing ploy. It’s become all about marketing recently. There’s also a dishonesty in its usage. Whereas once the word “gay” meant rights and dignity, these days it’s being used as a ploy to make money.

    Greedy businessmen and women are rubbing their hands in glee at the expense of us gullible gays.

  • Solis

    @ ROBERT IN NYC: … As they were boarding, they must have assumed that women, children and the elderly or those needing assistance boarded first.

  • Fitz

    Jason– when I was a younger person, I wanted to be around everything “gay”, and I fell for it— did NOT think it would be a 2 week bath house meth party. It sucked!!!!
    Scott– I am really glad you are rethinking it.. At least let me beg you not to do Atlantis. Unless you are a meth head sexual compulsive.

  • SoylentDiva

    They didn’t do their research ahead of time and they want someone else to pay for it? Whiny babies.

  • scott ny'er


    thanks. yeah, i know there are 2 major gay cruise lines, rsvp and atlantis. But, I’ll just do something else. Maybe go back to Barcelona.

  • Daniel

    So as Italians, do they also close their eyes when they look at the sculpture of David? :D Could this couple be anymore backward?

  • B

    “What About LGBT DIDN”T the Breeders Understand?” wrote, “How oblivious could they possibly have been? The web ad clearly identified this as ‘The First Italian LGBT Cruise’. It’s like signing up for a gay cruise and claiming you didn’t know what ‘gay’ meant.”

    Slow down. There is no requirement to check a web site before buying tickets for a cruise. concert, theatrical performance, etc. Some people never use the Internet. The people selling tickets were remiss if they didn’t give the couple the details. Unless the couple is lying, the company should give them a free ride on another cruise + compensation for vacation time if employed.

    It’s not a question of homophobia – if a horny straight guy signs up for a singles cruise expecting to have an opportunity for multiple sexcapades with gals, single or not, he’s legitimately going to be really mad if that wasn’t the sort of singles cruise he ended up on. He’d be equally mad if he found himself on a gay cruise or a seniors’ cruise where people spend all their time playing shuffleboard and go to bed at 9.

  • rudy

    Wanda Sykes does a wonderful routine on gay cruises in her HBO special that’s on this month.

  • Lex

    To be fair many people have no clue what LGBT stands for. Believe it or not most people who aren’t gay don’t bother researching anything about us, so even things that seem common knowledge to us aren’t to the rest of the world.

  • Bulls Eye

    Hey #1 JonJon, I remember those “SeaEscape” cruises. Ugh. Didn’t we meet in the cafeteria — right next to the Ambrosia salad molded into the shape of Poseidon’s head?

  • Charles Merrill

    Are they suing for damages ? Oh the post traumatic stress of being around fabulous people laughing and having a good time. What a couple of fossils.

  • alan brickman

    They are probably shopping a reality show too….

  • Observer

    I feel for this poor couple. I no longer do the bar scene because of these rude, selfish children who have grown into adult bodies and amount to nothing more than something to sleep with. The muscle-mary’s are the loneliest people walking the earth.

    I can only imagine the look on the faces of that couple when they looked up and saw all the speedo’s, jock-straps and g-strings walking around them. Lord O lord.

  • hephaestion

    How the hell did they board a ship surrounded by a sea of gay men and not notice that they were boarding an all-gay cruise?? Are they blind????

  • Steve

    My lover and I have been on more than a dozen cruises in the last 20 years, but all on regular, mixed ships (not “gay” charter weeks). We only had one problem in all those years. One time, the maitre-de put us at a table with a 70 year old Baptist preacher and his wife. After Sunday evening, we didn’t see them at dinner for the rest of the week.

    Friends who have taken “gay” cruises have told me it is, basically, a floating bath house.

    I can imagine how a straight Baptist couple would feel if they were stuck in a floating bath house for a week.

  • epluribusunumjk

    Are gay cruises really that bad? My boyfriend and I have talked about taking one since college. Now that we are both working and have stable incomes, along with 2 weeks of paid vacation, we were seriously considering it.

    Is it really like a floating bathhouse? Mind you, we are in a committed, monogamous relationship, so we aren’t looking for a lot of sex with other people…and we aren’t into drugs.

  • Fitz


    Yes– except that at the baths you can decide “this was stupid” and go home. At least with Atlantis. I swear to gouda, it was some of the worst 2 weeks I have ever known… We are a couple too, and we really wanted to do this to be surrounded by gay people– it wasn’t that at ALL. And what made the whole thing really awful was that it was the staff of Atlantis leading the charge. (offering “favors” to the hot guys, having invite-only parties, taping people who were smashed getting used). I hear MUCH better things about RSVP, but I am so gun-shy. We have had great times at places like Russian River– where there are the party people, but also all the others, and it doesn’t have that exclusive circuit meth-head feel.

  • B.J.

    We have been on several gay cruises, neither of which were anything close to what everyone here has described a gay cruise to be like. They are what you make of them, If you want to party and play that can be found, but it can also be relaxing and laid back. They were definitely not a “floating bathhouse”. We have been a committed relationship for 10+ tears, in our 30’s, not muscular, and not drinkers or drug users and we had a wonderful time and met great people of all ages, shapes and sizes. I will qualify this by saying that we have been on more destination based cruises (Hawai’i, Europe) and not the “booze cruises” (Carribean, LA-Mexico) that primarily stay “at-sea” and don’t really go anywhere.

  • El Brucio

    They aren’t suing for an egregious amount – they’re suing for 2,800 pounds – or about 4,570 U.S. dollars. It seems an entirely reasonable amount if their vacation was indeed ruined, given the amount a lot of cruises can cost.

    Ten years ago I had friends who would hiss and glare at straight couples who dared venture into a gay bar because “this isn’t a *heterosexual* space”. I doubt a decade has softened that stance much in the gay community.

    I’m sure the straight couple was stared at a lot, sometimes with open hostility, and that can certainly erode any enjoyment you might feel on a vacation.

    Just imagine yourself in a similar situation, such as accidentally being booked on a Womyn’s Empowerment Cruise, and suffering the angry glares of a thousand lesbians over your male privilege.

  • Nick

    If you want a great vacation in a gay-friendly environment that is pretty close to a gay cruise I suggest Sitges due south of Barcelona.
    Beautiful sea coast town, no need for a car, Barcelona just a hop away and lots of gays but straight people too. It can be as raunchy or as tame as you want it to be and you’ll meet gays from all over Europe. Go for a week. Explore the surrounding area, day or night trips to Barcelona and lounge on the gay beach or linger the late afternoon away in the many sidewalk cafes to people watch.
    It’s a blast!!!

  • glennmcgahee

    I understand this couple completely. I took a romantic partner on a 7 night cruise. Booked through a travel agent, it turned out to be a “Bluegrass Cruise”. There was pickin’ ana grinnin’ in every nook and cranny constantly. Everywhere you went, there were gospel songs, clogging, you name it. They took over the shows on board and carried their instruments and voices to the dining room. There wasn’t anyplace to escape to. I demanded a refund. Got another cruise, but lost the romance. We did have a few laughs though but generally a very uncomfortable week.

  • Sam

    @epluribusunumjk: I’ve also been on two cruises, both Atlantis, with my husband and our experience was NOTHING like what Fitz describes. We’re also in our 30’s, in average shape, don’t do drugs and don’t really go in for the whole “circuit party” scene. While you could definitely find that on board, there were so many different things going on that we had no trouble avoiding it. Never did we feel “stuck in a floating bath house.”

    Maybe different perspective, maybe different dynamics on those particular cruises. The two we did were very different from each other, so I could see how a third would be what Fitz described. Also, I’d say the average age on our cruises was 40, so you don’t have to be 25 to fit in (though they WERE very white).

  • Fitz

    Sam: and mine was like 10 years ago. Maybe they got better. Blech. Enough talking about this for me, I should just focus on the good stuff.

  • jason

    The word “gay” is simply a word of marketing these days. It’s being used as a means of marketing excessive sexual activity. There’s a degree of dishonesty in this notion. Instead of being honest and calling them sex tours, we hide behind the “gay” word.

    Look, guys, we truly are no better than sleazy straight guys who go on sex tours throughout various parts of the world.

  • Kenster999

    I’ve done a few Atlantis cruises, and I certainly wouldn’t describe them as “floating bath houses”. That phrase suggests a seediness that just isn’t there. It’s much nicer and classier. Of course, you can make it what you want. You can be a total slut, or a total recluse. Do all the parties all night, or read books in the library. It’s up to you.

    People do seem to partake in a range of, um, “actitivites.” There’s probably some “meth heads” but that’s *never* been the vibe I’ve felt. There’s all kinds of things going on, all the way down to “Friends of Bill” meetings for alcoholics. Use your imagination, and it’s probably going on. But, it’s not all happening everywhere all the time. Seek out your own preferences, and everyone seems pretty accepting of everyone else.

    Speaking of which… I’m leaving tomorrow to go on the Atlantis cruise to Mexico! (I’m concerned about Hurricane Rick, of course.) Maybe when I get back I could post some pictures for a Morning Goods or something? Any interest?

  • Joe Moore

    If the ad said LGBT, and they still bought tickets…they should not get a dime in the law suit. If they honestly overlooked the LGBT part of the ad, and didn’t see the pictures of ALL half naked men (which usually accompany those ads) then they are idiots.

    And once getting there, seeing the press and the majority of the people getting on, they would have had a better chance getting their money back had they NOT boarded the ship! At least then they would have not used the ship, eaten the food, or used the services provided by the cruise.

    They are idiots. In this day and age, who doesn’t know what the word gay means?

  • B

    Joe Moore wrote, “In this day and age, who doesn’t know what the word gay means?” Italians and Germans who don’t speak English, for one. The German word fluent German speakers should know is

  • Kenster999

    Eh, never mind. I don’t want to feel like I’ve got an “assignment” — it’s supposed to be a vacation! :)

  • epluribusunumjk

    @ Fitz and Sam: Thanks for the perspectives. I think that we are just going to go to maybe more of a “gay” destination like Sitges in Spain or something of the like.

  • Jeff

    We’ve been on a big Atlantis Cruise of over 2000 guests and smaller gay venues of 200-300 passengers. We do not have a perfect bodies, do not do drugs, and are 40 somethings. It was like pulling teeth to get my partner to do the first one, but you know what? We had a blast! Gay cruises can be anything you want them to be. If you want to party, go ahead and party, if you want to kick back and just relax, you can do that too. I love that you unpack once and get to see some incredible sights without the worry of where to eat and moving luggage from place to place.

  • John D

    B (#46)

    I’ve been to Germany. I’ve been to Italy. People know the word “gay.” I was in a bookstore in Italy and passed by the big sign “Libri Gay.” Sure, German and Italian have their own words, but “gay” really has become the international word.

    Except the French insist on spelling it “gai.”

  • hotshot70

    If they were so bothered, why didn’t they get off before they left port?

  • B

    John D wrote, “B (#46) I’ve been to Germany. I’ve been to Italy. People know the word “gay.” I was in a bookstore in Italy and passed by the big sign “Libri Gay.”

    … you mean you were most likely in major cities. Try a small, isolated village in Northern Italy, where people tend to speak German more than Italian, and you may find something quite different.

    BTW, even in the U.S. you’ll find people from isolated areas that are completely clueless. Like the couple from the rural deep south who visited San Francisco and ended up at the corner of 18th and Castro: “Is that a man or a woman? Now Ah’ve seen everything.” They were suffering from severe culture shock, much to everyone’s amusement (or so I’ve been told, not having seen this spectacle first hand).

    If you are running a cruise line, you probably want procedures in place to handle people like that. It’s part of running a business.

  • Angelo

    Pleez!How DUMB can you be?

  • jjgg5

    Why didn’t they have a great time?

  • B

    jjgg5 wrote, “Why didn’t they have a great time?” … probably because the disco music was distracting when they wanted to play bocce ball on deck.

  • SteveDenver

    “They had booked the holiday using loyalty points from a supermarket.”

    And they ended up in the meat department!

    On top of it, they find out some of their friends are gay. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! (“I always thought Alessandro just hadn’t found the right girl for 40 years.”)

    Now they want money. Fukkem!

  • extrabatteries

    sounds hot. next time they should scalp their tickets to me

  • KevMusic

    As opposed to jumping right into a lawsuit, why didn’t they speak to someone on the ship immediately or reach out immediately to the company? How about: “There seems to have been a mix up. We are a heterosexual couple. We were not informed by the company that this was an all gay cruise when we booked directly with you. So, we would like to re-book for another time.” Any properly run company would apologize for the mix up, any inconvenience and re-book their trip at no cost to them with upgrades.

    Though the company is at fault for not notifying the couple that it was a gay cruise (they booked directly with them, not via their website), the couple could have handled things differently as well. As for the “floating bath house” scenario, as some of the other posts have stated, whether it be a club, bar, circuit party or cruise, you’re an adult so you make the experience your own.

  • lw

    I’ve never been on a gay cruise, but you know what’s kinda like a straight cruise? The entire freaking world.

  • Sam

    Why is it that people are assuming that they overlooked the “gay” part of the cruise. They could have had a third party do the planning or used a third party website. The assuption that they automatically are idiots and ignore the facts is possible but highly unlikely. I guess if we were to go by that…then if you are gay you MUST have AIDS.

  • Sam

    To add more and reclarify… it is possible for them to book the cruise and NOT be told that is was an all gay cruise…

  • Tom

    I think group cruises offer the best of both worlds. My partner and I went on a cruise where there was an organized group of approximately 100 gay men, but where the rest of the passengers were straight (or — if gay — at least not a part of the group). There were activities specifically for the group, so you could hang out with the boys if you wanted, but you could also mingle with the larger population if you weren’t in the mood. We did some of each and had a great time.

    As for the straight couple who ended up on a gay cruise, I have some sympathy, but they really should have investigated a little better. If the cruise was billed as “Italy’s first LGBT cruise,” who in their right mind wouldn’t want to find out what LGBT meant before blowing a wad of money on it? “Caveat emptor” — Let the buyer beware!

  • thomaswos

    Obama wins nobel peace prize. Why?
    Hard to believe that a U.S. President can win a peace prize while engaged in two wars.
    Can some one please inform me as to why Obama has gotten a Nobel Peace Prize when he has yet to do what he has gotten the prize for?

  • sciemonsinc

    By the way

  • Keith Kimmel

    They should get a refund of their ticket upon request and maybe the company that sold them the tickets should offer them a perk for not explaining the product adequately.

    Or, as far as I am concerned, they should have been good sports and gone on the trip. They probably would have had fun. As the only breeders on the boat, they would have been a center of attention for sure, I would hope that my fellow homos would be good ambassadors…

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  • GAY CRUISE 0ct 25

    I just recently got back from a cruise that was also a gay cruise on carnival cruise lines Oct 25 – nov 1 . It was not advertised but there were 2000 homosexuals on board and approx 500 straight. I can’t even explain my experience the inappropriate behaviour, discussion, everything about this experience for me was a nightmare, I am not a homophobic i have multiple gay friends but when that shit is in you face for 1 week jammed down your throat with no where to go and get away it is extremly unfair I paid lots of money to enjoy myself but when i have to go and suntan in corners so i don’t have to witness guys grabbing each others balls and talking about dropping of the cosbys before they go have sex this is a problem and an issue. SO yes SUE that cruise line for what ever you can get, I am trying for the same. The cruise lines get away with it because they say we didn’t ask you sexual preference or race when you booked so why would they know anyone elses.!!!!

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  • Grayson

    i DEF think they deserve a refund. i’ve been on more than one gay cruise (and LOVED them) and i have never seen so much shit going on on-deck. it’s like a floating bath house. so yeah, that little couple should get their money back or a free cruise on another more ‘mainstream’ trip.

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  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    Obviously. Gays can be annoying enough to each other. The wife should sue, or both if straight…

  • Imani

    If it were me, I would definatley look back on it years from now and laugh.

  • alan brickman

    Print their names and photos..it’s just that simple…

  • Flex

    I’ve never been on a cruise, and nobody could pay me to go on one; however, a gay cruise would be another consideration. I would be disgusted if I heard all of the cheapos complain about a lack of scrambled eggs with their continental breakfast. The only negative I would experience is the constant, nagging, sense that I would need to look good.

  • Cam

    Most of us spend our entire lives going to straight events, they can deal with one gay cruise, I’ve had to sit through thousands of movies where the guys only goal is to “Get the Girl”.

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  • jimbo

    did they at least have a threeway with some hot muscle stud? Actually most of the passengers on a gay cruise are older than in their 20’s and not that pretty to look at either…if they had more hotties maybe I would go because im superficial that way and always horny and honest!

  • Dumbass

    @JonJon: yea, but you knew it was going to be a cruise dumbass. you were not under the impression that it was an all gay cruise

Comments are closed.