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Carnival Cruises under fire from gay passengers for banning ‘drag’ attire on ‘drag cruise’

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carnival Cruses on Tuesday issued an apology after it came under fire from gay passengers who were told they were forbidden from dressing in drag on an upcoming “drag cruise,” or face being kicked off the ship.

But the “apology” implies that those who choose to dress in drag, may do so only if they remain recognizable with their government issued identification.

The flap stems from an “urgent” email sent to passengers who booked the Dec. 2-9 cruise through Al and Chuck Travel, one of the nation’s largest gay-owned travel agencies. In the email Carnival warned passengers to “refrain from engaging in inappropriate conduct in public areas.”

Passengers who booked the cruise through “Al and Chuck” are scheduled to be entertained separately throughout the cruise by drag performers who’ve appeared on Logo TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Al and Chuck Travel was quick to come to Carnival’s defense, posting on its Facebook page that “Carnival’s regulation is NOT an example of discrimination.”

“Carnival is an ally of the GLBT community,” wrote owner Al Ferguson. “When they say they are a ‘family friendly’ cruise line they mean it in both the traditional and metaphorical sense of the phrase.”

But on Tuesday, after gay passengers posted damning messages on Facebook and began demanding refunds, Carnival Cruses backed off its “no drag” policy. Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill issued this statement, in which he said passengers would be allowed to dress in drag — so long as they are recognizable by their i.d.:

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. (emphasis added)

Al and Chuck Travel have called this latest response by Carnival “a very positive announcement.”

“On behalf of everyone at ALandCHUCK.travel we would like to again express support for Carnival and we do not believe they intentionally meant any offense to our guests and are glad they have taken the extra steps for clarification,” Al and Chuck Travel said, in a Facebook post.

Carnival Corp. received a zero rating by the Human Rights Campaign in its most recent Corporate Equality Index.

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18 more reader comments:

  1. I’m pretty hot about it. Thinking I should try a new cruise line.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:12pm
  2. How odd. What did they think drag meant?

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:14pm
  3. While they ‘straighten’ the situation out, its obvious that Carnival has no idea or sensitivity to the guests they are marketing to. Grow up people.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:17pm
  4. That doesn’t make a bit of sense to me!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:18pm
  5. Dump carnival…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:20pm
  6. Wut?

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:20pm
  7. Shame on Al and Chuck for defending the initial statement by Carnival. Cruises are where Travel Agents make the most commission, so obviously they did not want to upset their relationship with Carnival. With that said, Carnival is the Wal-Mart of cruise lines and should be avoided at all costs.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:21pm
  8. There are way too many “accepting” cruise lines to put up with this discriminative nonsense. Carnival bit it on this one, big time. I find Celebrity and Royal Caribbean classier anyway!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:22pm
  9. ?????

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:22pm
  10. I totally agree with Val and Jarrid. What a steaming pile of crap from Carnival and shame on AlandChucks for kissing their asses in the name of the almighty dollar. I wish Rupaul and the performers would back out or at the very least SPEAK out!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:31pm
  11. And do they have the same restrictions for a Halloween cruise that you have to be recognizable? hummmm I smell a pile of crap!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:57pm
  12. How can you dress in drag and still look like your government issued ID? What a load of hog wash. Do a retina scan, assholes!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:58pm
  13. I think everyone should dress in drag. Gays, straights, allies, everyone. Make of it a very stylish *Occupy* movement!!! Will they kick everyone off the ship? What about the LGBT employees, you know they exist, how does this make them feel?
    Occupy Carnival! Stylishly!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 6:10pm
  14. They thought only the performers would dress in drag? does Carnival not port in New Orleans?!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 8:39pm
  15. So, to be clear, Carnival Cruise reserves the right to tell what style clothing to wear while on their ship?

    Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 9:14pm
  16. Not ok Carnival!

    Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 1:44am
  17. Guess I will have to find a different cruise line when I finally book a cruise

    Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 5:11am
  18. WHAT?!

    Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 7:31am