In the words of Latrice Royale, "The shade, the shade of it all." Around 1,500 passengers who booked tickets aboard Al and Chuck Travel's Drag Stars at Sea -- 2012 Caribbean Adventure -- Revenge of the Wench Cruise, scheduled to make the seas a more glittery place on December 2, received a frantic email on Monday care of Carnival Cruise Vice President of Guest Services Vicki Rey demanding that no guests dress in drag. Why? Because they want to protect "families with children." [Scroll down to bottom for important update.]
Ugh, this again.
The letter was first posted by noted drag queen Alaska Thunderfuck. The first part of the missive starts out with "Greeting Fun Seekers!" and just gets ickier from there. Behold:
We know you are looking forward to your cruise next month. We're certainly looking forward to welcoming you and your group aboard the beautiful Carnival Glory. [ed note. "Chortle."]
There are lots of special activities planned for your group so we are confident you are going to have a great cruise. However, in order to endure a fun and memorable time for everyone, we want to take a few moments to make you aware of certain policies and conduct expectations so as to avoid any possible disappointment during your cruise.
Carnival attracts a number of families with children and for this reason; we strive to present a family friendly atmosphere. It is important to us that all guests are comfortable with every aspect of the cruise. Although we realize this group consists solely of adults, we nonetheless expect all guests to recognize that minors are onboard and, refrain from engaging in inappropriate conduct in public areas.
We're sorry to sat 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.
The second half tells you what said "inappropriate conduct" means:
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!
In an effort to sooth an already swelling situation, queer-owned-and-operated AlandChuck.Travel only made matters worse by framing Carnival Cruse Line's anti-drag decision with post-9/11 paranoia. Quite the spin there, fellas. At around 7 p.m. on Monday, the travel company posted the following tenuous explanation:
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-9/11 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.
Seems that if Carnival was, in fact, worried over Cher-impersonating terrorists (because who isn't?) besieging old Glory, the cruise line would have made such concerns very explicit in their damning and shaming letter sent to passengers.
We should point out that LOGO TV had nothing to do with this decision or the letter by Carnival Cruise. But that, thank God, didn't stop Michelle Visage, who appears as a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race, from adding her own two glorious cents. To sums things up, read how the former Seduction member reacted to the news via the following screed she posted on her Facebook wall:
STONEWALL AT SEA:
babies, of course i have gotten the same letter from Carnival as you have and quite honestly, i am shocked and disgusted. I don't really have the right words to express my disdain. I am just so saddened that in 2012 they feel the need to "protect the children". I own 2 of the said "children" and my kids love nothing more than to see a gaggle of drag queens kiki'ing and carrying on. SO much fun. At this point I am committed to this cruise and i will go and do my job. I intend on being in full drags many of the days and nights and just wait til the "children" getta load of my titties in broad daylight! I am looking forward to being with all of you in love and drag and NO ONE is gonna tell me that i can't wear what i want to wear. i will not wear a mask, those are the rules, FINE. other than that? FUCK YOU
UPDATE: They caved. According to Carnival Cruise Lines, it was all a big misunderstanding and you can totally come dressed in drag. Below, a letter from Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Line's President & CEO, to the guests sailing on the Carnival Glory on Sunday, December 2. Check it:
"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."