Carnival Cruise Line faces heat over no 'drag' letter sent to passengers

Company reverses stance on cross dressing onboard

SAN DIEGO - Carnival Cruise Line is facing a backlash Tuesday after passengers were sent a notice warning them not to dress in drag on an upcoming sailing.

Click here to view the notice

The Carnival Glory is scheduled to depart from Miami on Sunday, but ahead of that sailing, passengers received the letter titled "urgent notice" warning them of the policy.

The sailing will feature shows by performers dressed in drag, but passengers were advised that they would not be allowed to cross dress in public spaces.

The cruise line said in the letter that it wanted to present a "family friendly atmosphere."

"What? That's just plain discrimination," said North Park resident Ricky Lozano, who booked his tickets weeks ago.

Lozano said he never intended to dress in drag himself, but was insulted nonetheless.

"It was a like a slap in the face. That's how many people took it," he said.

AlandChuck.Travel tried to smooth passengers' nerves by saying Carnival would never discriminate against the gay community.

"I disagree with them; for them it's just business," said Lozano.

10News contacted Carnival for comment, and in response, Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill issued a statement that called the situation a miscommunication. He said passengers will be allowed to dress in drag or they could ask for a complete refund.

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.

Sincerely,

Gerry Cahill
President and CEO
Carnival Cruise Lines
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