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The debate surrounding Carnival’s drag prohibition
on an upcoming theme cruise has been fierce. But from a mess of wigs, eyeliner and blood pressure spikes, an interesting question emerged:
When a cruise line agrees to host an affinity group – fans of music, cats, vampires, werewolves, drag queens, bikers, heavy metal fans – what responsibility does it have for notifying nonaffinity passengers?
Lines don’t feel the need to share.
“For groups of people with similar interests, we always evaluate group size, in the interest of not altering or interrupting the experience for other guests (not in the group) onboard,” explains Celebrity Cruises’ Tavia Robb. “We are committed to ensuring that all guests on our ship never feel excluded and come back to sail with us again.”
In other words, Celebrity doesn’t share the already-vetted group’s identity.
Still, most Cruise Critic readers asked said they’d like to know. “It has nothing to do with what kind of passenger it is chartering,” wrote Tina Annette
. “It has to do with how much or little it will change the non-themed passenger’s expected, anticipated, paid-dearly-for cruise experience.”
“The line definitely should notify passengers,” Cindy Chapman Kern said. “We have been affected by this twice. Both times, we felt it changed our cruise, and not for the better.”
“If lounges and theaters are closed for private events all week, I should not be charged a full fare,” Bob Harvey added.
Only a handful of the 120-plus responders thought the line shouldn’t have to say – “as long as the activities are legal,” Amy Johnson said.
But many also recognized the inherent problem. “Where you draw the line is a tough call,” Rae Ann Nolan said. “What if it’s only 10 people, or 100 or 1000?” Ricky Cokely added.
Said Carl Berman: “If they do it for one they should do it for all. They should not, though, cherry pick which groups to pre-notify other passengers.”
Regardless, Cruise Critic readers have a way of finding out who’s on their cruise. Tracy Antonioli
discovered she was sailing with Grand Old Opry lovers when a fellow passenger announced it on a Roll Call
(which, by the way, are invaluable). If it’s a large group, like the hundreds of drag fans scheduled to sail on Carnival Glory next week, run-of-the-mill publicity might spread the word, too.
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Curious if you’re sailing with crocheters or Beatles fans? Check out our frequently updated Theme cruises feature.