LOGO TV has been hyping a fabulous LGBT-friendly cruise that will feature many performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race. “Drag Stars At Sea: Caribbean Adventure – Revenge of the Wench“ has been organized by Al and Chuck Travel and received such demand that it had to be updated to a Carnival cruise line to accommodate all the passengers. But those passengers received a troubling email from Carnival about what they can hope to experience on the 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.
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.
It’s unclear how a group that consists “solely of adults” would even still have minors onboard. Al and Chuck Travel offered a response defending Carnival as an ally that did little to address the situation:
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-911 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.
Finally, Drag Stars At Sea is a cruise venue for you to meet the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. Just as you would not go in costume (other than on Halloween) to a club to see them perform, neither should you on the GLORY.
The whole point of such a cruise should be to create an inclusive space for drag culture, as many of those interested enough in a cruise featuring drag stars are likely to participate in drag themselves. Anybody who believes that drag shows never have queens in the audience has possibly never been to a drag show.
It’s unclear how exactly the “post-911 world” impacts wearing costumes on a cruise. It also doesn’t explain Carnival’s Halloween cruises, featuring costume contests. John Aravosis notes that on Carnival’s own web page, it encourages guests to wear Halloween costumes, offering that the only limit on what can be included is toy or imitation weapons. Apparently, costumes are not a problem for Halloween, but when it comes to a boat full of drag aficionados, they are suddenly a security concern.