Who Will Be The First Drag Queen Kicked Off The Carnival Glory?

Carnival Cruise Drag QueenThe America Blog published an article ("Carnival Cruises Bans 'Drag' on Drag Cruise") this evening about Carnival's bizarre decision to threaten to kick any of their guests who dress in drag off of the December 2nd cruise aboard the Carnival Glory cruise ship.

The particularly strange part of the story is that the sailing is a Drag Stars at Sea cruise!

The travel agency organizing the event promises "Drag Stars at Sea: The Largest Gathering in HISTORY! . . . This is the first event of its kind in the world."

Well, if Carnival goes through with its plan to manhandle drag queens down the gangway in their high heels into Caribbean ports of call, the cruise may well be the first and last event of its kind in the world.

The threats came in the form of a letter dated today sent by Carnival to the guests looking to board the Glory in Miami this weekend.  Now, this seems like a rather rude thing for Carnival to do.  Aren't the guests receiving the materially-altered conditions for the cruise a little bit late? After all, the prospective passengers have already packed their dresses and make-up for the trip, not to mention that they booked their now non-refundable cruise tickets months ago. 

The letter was signed by Carnival representative Vicki Ray who our law firm knows as the smiling face of the cruise industry at Congressional crime hearings over the last many years. Her letter starts out upbeat: "Greetings Fun Seekers!" (exclamation in original) but four paragraphs later the real purpose of the letter is revealed:

Carnival Cruise Drag Queen"These functions will be private and only the performers are permitted to dress in drag in the theater. Guests are not allowed to dress in drag for the performances or in public area at any time during the cruise."

Then comes the threat. Anyone violating the edict . . .  "will be disembarked at their own expense and no refunds given."  

Wow, that's some serious chutzpah! Take money from your guests for a drag queen cruise and tell them that, uh, they can't dress like a drag queen.

Can Carnival really enforce this ban as a practical matter?  There are 35 drag queen performers listed for the cruise, like Delta Work, Venus D Lite, and Phi Phi O'Hara (photos).  If someone in drag walks from his cabin to the theater will Carnival security really try to detain him? How can ship security distinguish the audience members in drag from the performers or, for that matter, attractive buxom women dressed up for the night?

How can the dozen or so Carnival security guards think they can possibly handle several hundred men (anyone remember the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York City?) if they try and arrest everyone in drag who is on the cruise?

The duplicitous aspect of Carnival's conduct is that this cruise line has one of the worst reputations for permitting kids to run wild and drunks to disrupt the cruising experience of guests, all the while looking the other way when fights or sexual violence occurs.  Consider this video about a drunken brawl erupting during a Carnival cruise.  

Carnival Drag CruiseFor years, Carnival and their subsidiary cruise lines have hosted "cougar cruises," "swinger cruises" and "nude cruises" where men and women dress in provocative clothing or no clothing for that matter and engage in sexually promiscuous behavior in and around the cruise ship. What's the beef against drag queens walking around the cruise ship?  Just take a look at the sexually charged and semi-nude advertising for straight "swinger cruises" offered by other cruise lines.  

Is Carnival's intent really to protect children from seeing men dressed in women's clothing?  My kids laughed throughout Robin Williams' performance in Ms. Doubtfire and they somehow managed to survive The Birdcage with Nathan Lane.

America Blog has offered opinions about the basis for a lawsuit against Carnival if the cruise line proceeds with its threats. Although a lawyer, I offer no opinions here about that, except to say that there must be something unlawful about kicking a guest who has paid his full fare off a cruise for dressing in drag on a drag queen cruise.

Let's hope that Carnival comes to its senses.  If not, I'm afraid that next week I will be watching the ugly spectacle on a YouTube video which is eventually shown to a jury in a court of law.

Carnival President Gerry CahillNovember 27 2012 Update:  Under pressure, Carnival claims that there was just a "mistake" in communication, changes course and withdraws ban on dressing in drag.  According to Cruise Critic, the president of Carnival issued the following statement:

"When the group was presented to us we were advised that only the performers would be dressed in drag during the private events," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in an e-mail to passengers booked on the December 2 sailing. "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."

Smart move by Carnival, otherwise it would have faced a riot on the high seas. 

The Carnival statement continues:

"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."

Cahill further stated that anyone booked on the cruise who wants 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."

Carnival Letter - Vicki Rey

Who's covering this story?  

Daily Kos: Carnival Cruise Line Bans Drag On Their "Drag Stars At Sea" Cruise

Think Progress: Drag Cruise Refuses To Let Passengers Dress In Drag

America Blog (story # 1): Carnival Cruises Bans “Drag” on Drag Cruise

America Blog (story # 2): Carnival Ban on “Drag” During “Drag Cruise” is not Anti-Gay, it’s Cuz of 9/11

Huffington Post: AlandChuck.Travel: No Drag for Passengers on Drag at Sea Cruise?!   

Queerty: Carnival Cruise Line Bans Drag On Upcoming Drag Cruise

Village Voice: Carnival Bans Drag Patrons From Drag Cruise!

Miami New Times: Carnival Bans Drag Costumes from RuPaul's Drag Race Themed Cruise

USA Today: Carnival's Ban On Drag Costumes Sparks Controversy

Crushable (WTF Blog): Carnival Forbids People From Dressing In Drag On ‘Drag Stars At Sea’ Cruise

SFist: Carnival Cruises Forbids Drag Queens During Drag Cruise

NYMag: Carnival Bans Guests in Drag on RuPaul’s Cruise

Passport Magazine: Carnival Cruise Lines in Hot Water Over Drag Ban on a Drag Cruise!

Advocate: Drag Ban Creates Rough Sailing for Drag Star Cruise

Miami Herald: Carnival Apologizes and Says Cruise Passengers May Dress in Drag

 

 

Story credit: John Aravosis / America Blog

Photos: Al and Chuck Travel

Carnival letter: America Blog  ("Gay - A Great Nation Deserves A Great Debate")

Friends Bring Fellow Passenger Back to Life on Carnival Glory

This morning, the Free Lance newspaper in Fredericksburg, Virginia published a cruise story with a happy ending. Entitled "Friends’ Actions Aboard Ship Save Woman’s Life," the article is about cruise passenger Patty Bliss who joined 25 other women from the Sheriff’s Office and government offices in Stafford County for a weekend getaway two weeks ago on Carnival Glory’s “cruise to nowhere.” 

Shortly after boarding the cruise ship, the women were enjoying food and drinks on deck. Suddenly, Ms. Bliss slumped over in her chair.  

The women observed Ms. Bliss not breathing. She had no pulse. Her skin turned grayish–purple. She had suffered sudden cardiac arrest, causing her heart to stop pumping blood throughout her body.  “I thought she was gone,” said one pf the women, Sgt. Nancy Morin, who was also traveling with two Carnival Glory Cruise to Nowhere - Heart attackdaughters. Morin's oldest daughter was certain that Ms. Bliss was dead. She began crying.

But Sgt. Morin and Detective Christine Hammond sprang into action. They initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation with Morin compressing her heart and Hammond blowing into Bliss’ mouth. The newspaper writes:

Bliss’ heart didn’t start beating on its own. Other women in the group asked crew members for an automated external defibrillator, a device that sends an electric shock to people suffering from cardiac arrest . . . .

. . .  crew members weren’t responding, but instead “ran around in circles trying to figure out what to do.”

One of the women in the group then clapped her hands in the face of one crew members and told him to get the device “and get it now!”

By this point, Morin and Hammond reportedly had given CPR to Ms. Bliss for 15 to 20 minutes.

According to the newspaper, when the defibrillator arrived, a crew member shocked Bliss once, but the device indicated another shock was needed. When the crew member hesitated, one of the women pushed the button to shock Bliss again and again. 

Finally an ambulance took Ms. Bliss off of the cruise ship to a hospital where the doctors implanted a defibrillator in her chest.  

Ms. Bliss may have missed the "cruise to nowhere," but she was fortunate to fall ill in port around a group of women trained on how to save her life. 

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger From Carnival Glory

A Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a sick cruise ship passenger suffering from chest pains from the Carnival Glory, which left Norfolk yesterday. According to WAVY, the 52 year old woman, her husband and a nurse were hoisted off the ship and flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. 

 

Did the Carnival Glory Sicken Canadians Ashore With Norovirus?

Cruise Ship NorovirusWhen passengers fall victim to norovirus while cruising, cruise lines typically blame the passengers for bringing the virus aboard and sickening the ship and crew. But if this Canadian news report is correct, its looks like the table has been turned on one cruise line which allegedly sickened people ashore in the port of Halifax with the dreaded "cruise ship virus."

According to CTV News, the Carnival Glory which stopped in Halifax about two weeks ago is the suspected source of an outbreak that shut down two restaurants on the waterfront this week. Two waterfront restaurants, The Bicycle Thief and Ristorante a Mano, had to close after at least 26 staff and customers became ill with what appears to be the norovirus. 

Other business owners complained that Carnival cruise passengers came through their shops and sickened the employees and customers.  

Some locals commented that they intended to avoid waterfront businesses out of fear that the virus from the cruise passengers might infect them.

We commented on the puke fest on the Carnival in a prior blog.  

Norovirus on Carnival Glory Sickens Passengers

A puke fest is underway on the Carnival Glory cruise ship, with passengers taking to the message boards at Cruise Critic to comment that passengers are suffering from diarrhea and other norovirus-like symptoms,

The message board states that Carnival prepared a letter to passengers this weekend that passengers on the prior cruise experienced norovirus sickness. Several passengers are stating that the current cruise has been plagued by norovirus as well.  Some comments mention the strong smell of vomit in public areas of the cruise ship.  

One passenger comments that the Centers for Disease control (CDC) came onto the Glory on August 9th.  

Carnival Glory Norovirus Outbreak Cruise ShipThere has been no official determination by the CDC yet. According to the CDC, cruise line calling on U.S. ports are required to report the total number of gastrointestinal (GI) illness cases evaluated by the medical staff when the GI illness count exceeds 2% of the total number of passengers or crew on board.

Last year there were 14 official cases of norovirus on cruise ships.

The usual debate is taking place about where the virus comes from, how it's spread and how the cruise lines is handling the outbreak.   The cruise industry bristles at the label "cruise ship virus" and always blames the passengers for not washing their hands and spreading the virus. The fact of the matter is that no one is conducting a scientific analysis to determine the origin of the virus notwithstanding the CDC's findings that the most common cause of norovirus on cruise ships in contaminated food or water.  

Some people are commenting that Carnival is doing a good job dealing with the outbreak, while others are saying that the cruise line is not disclosing the true number of affected passengers to avoid an official determination that the outbreak is norovirus related.

The last norovirus involved the Sun Princess during a July  8 - 21st sailing.  

Augyst 13, 2012 Update: The CDC says that the type of virus is "unknown."   This is the ninth gastrointestinal outbreak aboard a cruise ship calling on a U.S. port this year. 

 

Photo credit: Mark Davis via Wikimedia

Coast Guard Medevacs Ill Cruise Passenger From Carnival Glory

The U.S. Coast Guard website reports that it medically evacuated a 41-year-old woman from the Carnival Glory cruise ship today.  The passenger reportedly exhibited stroke-like symptoms.

The cruise ship was approximately 55 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts at the time of the emergency.

Coast Guard Sector Boston received the word from the Carnival cruise ship at approximately 3:35 p.m. In response, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the scene. Carnival Glory Cruise Ship Coast Guard MedevacThe helicopter hoisted the ill woman up to safety and then transported her to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.

The Coast Guard website quotes a John Tomaszewski , a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Boston, "our crews launched swiftly . . . they were able to hoist her and get her the care she needed.

The Coast Guard did not comment on the passenger's medical condition.  

The last medevac from the Carnival Glory occurred, according to our records, in May 2010 when the Coast Guard in Miami rescued that a 36 year-old pregnant woman who needed emergency medical treatment.  

Read about other Coast Guard rescues here

Coast Guard medevacs like this are always the highlight of Cruise Law News.  The Coast Guard just celebrated its 222nd birthday! 

Anyone with photos, video or information about this latest Coast Guard rescue, please leave a comment. 

 

Photo: Space Coast Blogger