Showing posts with label Cruise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cruise. Show all posts

March 15, 2020

Business As Usual For A Gay Cruise on 'Scarlet Lady'

Image result for scarlet lady cruise depart from Puerto Rico
 Virgin Cruise Ship Approaches Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

By Nico Lang
Nili Steiner saved up for almost a year to celebrate her 50th birthday on Atlantis, a cruise line popular with LGBTQ passengers. Steiner and her girlfriend were set to depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 21, where they would sail to the Caribbean islands of St. Martin, Bonaire and Curacao before heading back to Puerto Rico a week later. It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, and Steiner worked double overtime to put away every penny she could, with the tickets totaling $2,400.
“We are newly engaged, and so this was going to be our celebratory engagement cruise,” Steiner told NBC News. “She just got this fabulous new job, I just bought a house, and all these beautiful things are happening to us. It just meant so much for us to have this wonderful vacation.”
Virgin Voyages 'Scarlet Lady' Cruise Ship Arrives at Liverpool for Star-Studded Extravaganza
 Virgin Voyages' new cruise ship 'Scarlet Lady'
Virgin Voyages' new cruise ship 'Scarlet Lady' on Feb. 25, 2020 in Liverpool, England. The "Scarlet Lady" will be chartered for an Atlantis cruise that starts in May. Anthony Devlin / Getty Images for Virgin Voyages file

But Steiner and dozens of other customers may have to eat those costs after Atlantis declined to offer refunds to the vast majority of its passengers who no longer want to board the ship amid fears of an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Luis Masters, the administrator of a Facebook page for passengers on the cruise, said “at least 50” customers have requested the company reimburse their fares after the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory on Sunday warning Americans, particularly those with “underlying health conditions,” not to travel on cruise ships.
Masters, who was planning to go on the cruise with his husband, said Atlantis has advised passengers that they will not be refunding tickets “because the date for any type of cancellations has passed already.” The company, which charters its ships through Miami-based Celebrity Cruises, states on its website that passengers are unable to cancel tickets within 60 days of the departure date. The Puerto Rico cruise leaves in just over a week.
“It makes me feel not appreciated, like they don’t really care about their customers,” Masters told NBC News. “It feels like Atlantis is just looking out for the bottom line, their profits, and how much money they could lose.” 
Celebrity Cruises, on the other hand, has updated its policy to allow those scheduled to sail before August to change their sail date up to 48 hours in advance of their departure for a “Future Cruise Credit.” A number of cruise lines, including Viking, Avalon Waterways and Disney Cruise Line, have halted their serviceamid pandemic fears.
Following news that Disneyland would be shutting down for the remainder of the month and that sports leagues like the NBA, NHL and MLB were delaying or suspending their seasons, Atlantis sent an email on Thursday stating that the ship will sail as planned and only four groups of people would be offered reimbursement. These are individuals from outside the U.S. who are unable to get to San Juan because of travel restrictions; older people; those with a history of respiratory illnesses; and medical professionals who regularly meet with patients.
“We’re aware that many of you are concerned about COVID-19 and want to assure you that your health and safety are of paramount importance with both Celebrity and Atlantis,” the company said, adding that “there has not been a single case of COVID-19 onboard a Celebrity or Royal Caribbean ship, either passengers or crew.” 
Atlantis’ guidelines would leave Julian Sottovia unable to cancel his trip, which puts him in the position of having to choose between using the $3,000 tickets and his family’s health. Sottovia serves as a caregiver for his elderly mother, who is going through cancer treatments and has a history of respiratory illnesses. If he boards the Atlantis cruise next Saturday, he could risk exposing her to novel coronavirus when he returns from the cruise and potentially endanger her life. 
Even if his mother doesn’t contract the virus, Sottovia said that being forced to self-quarantine for two weeks after his trip — the recommended period for those potentially exposed to coronavirus — would further complicate her treatment.
“It was easy for me to arrange for one week of somebody filling in for me, but if I'm stuck in quarantine for 14 days, it would be very difficult,” he told NBC News.
Jim Cone, the vice president of marketing at Atlantis, pledged that the company would work with individuals who fall outside the four affected groups on “a case-by-case basis.”
“We have contacted most of these guests already, but if they fall into one of these groups, they should contact Atlantis directly to make the appropriate accommodations for them,” he said in a statement to the news site LGBTQ Nation, which was copied almost word-for-word from the email sent to customers. 
Sottovia had already attempted to call Atlantis and plead his case, but he said no one responded to his inquiries. “It was very hard to get through,” he said. “They would not answer the phone. I left I don’t know how many messages with them, and no one ever got back to you," he said of his experience.
Others said they are receiving extremely mixed messages from Atlantis regarding their cancellation policy. Steiner claimed a representative with Atlantis said that customers who were upset about not receiving refunds should have purchased travel insurance, which costs around 40 percent as much as the price of the actual ticket. 
A call to the customer service line of Travelex, the travel insurance company recommended by Atlantis, revealed that just one offered policy, the “Cancel for Any Reason” option, would potentially cover a pandemic or the fear of a pandemic. And even then, it would be at the discretion of the company’s “claims department” as to whether they’d reimburse any of the cost, with 75 percent being the maximum. 
Many believe the only solution is for Atlantis to suspend cruises for the foreseeable future. Diamond Princess, which is part of Carnival Corp., announced Thursday it was canceling all trips for the next two months after 700 people contracted the coronavirus aboard a February cruise, resulting in the deaths of seven people.
“Ultimately, this is a public safety concern,” said Masters, who noted that the Celebrity Summit ocean liner that Atlantis is chartering for the Puerto Rico trip has a capacity of 2,158 people and that the cruise is currently sold out. “It’s gone far beyond just people wanting money and their refunds back. They are completely overlooking the CDC, the World Health Organization and state governors asking folks not to congregate with more than 250 people.”
Washington state, for example, has banned gatherings of more than 250 people in several counties, and New York has prohibited most gatherings of more than 500 people. Several cities and states — including Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon — have even closed down schools amid COVID-19 fears.
The high volume of passengers on the ship is particularly hazardous for the LGBTQ people who will be sailing on it, as 100 advocacy groups and public health organizations noted in a Wednesday open letter that this population is “at particular risk for coronavirus disease.” Groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBT Cancer Network warn that the LGBTQ community has “higher rates of HIV and cancer, which means a greater number of us may have compromised immune systems, leaving us more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.” 
Although Atlantis stated in its email to passengers that the company is “working very closely with appropriate agencies to assure the health and safety of all guests and crew members,” some questioned whether it would even be possible to take every precaution necessary to prevent an outbreak. According to reports, the coronavirus can survive in the air for up to three hours’ time and live on surfaces for several days.
“I understand they’re washing down surfaces,” Sottovia said. “But if they’re still planning to have dance parties and events, you’re going to be around people. You can’t purify the air. If you’re next to the person that has it, it’s just going to spread that way.”
As LGBTQ customers demand answers and accountability, Steiner added that Atlantis has a “responsibility” to keep its passengers safe from a virus that has already caused the confirmed deaths of at least 40 people in the U.S. and 5,000 worldwide. “If we are scared about a global pandemic of epic proportions, we should not be forced to go on this cruise because we don’t want to lose the money,” she said.

February 14, 2013

Passengers Walking on Toilet Water "Modern Luxury Cruise Liner"

Jayne Clark, USA TODAY

An engine room fire that disabled the Carnival Triumph on Sunday left more than 4,000 passengers and crew members adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. The 102,000-ton ship is now being towed to Mobile, Ala., where it is expected to arrive Thursday afternoon.
We queried cruise experts on questions incidents such as this one inevitably raise.
Q: Why don't ships have backup generators that take over in the event of a power outage, a la hotels and hospitals?
A. By law, they do have emergency back-up systems, but only enough to operate critical functions. The massive bulk of the generators (about the size of a bus) is limiting, says Jay Herring, a former senior officer with Carnival and author of The Truth About Cruise Ships. The Triumph has six such generators, but 80% of the power they create goes into propelling the ship, he explains.
Q: Other Carnival ships are in the area. Why can't they just transfer passengers onto one of those?
A: The cruise line evaluated options and decided the safest alternative was to tow the ship back to port, says Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen.
Plus, Carnival ships tend to sail full, so there may be no way to accommodate extra passengers. "And who would you choose?" asks retired cruise line executive Art Sbarsky. "Given a choice, I'd rather be on a ship the size of Triumph than bobbing around on a (life boat)."
Q:Three other Carnival ships have delivered food to the Triumph. Don't cruise ships stock plenty of food?
A: Perishable food doesn't last long in tropical climes with no refrigeration, so the ships delivered extra non-perishables and also some cooked meals, Gulliksen says.
Q: The ship is being towed to Mobile but isn't expected to arrive until Thursday. Why does it take so long?
A: The Triumph is a big ship — about the length of three football fields, says Herring. Its regular cruising speed is 15 to 20 knots. The tugs are traveling at about 6 knots.
Q:Why don't toilets work when the power goes out?
A: Cruise ship toilets operate on a vacuum system that requires electricity to function. "That's the toughest part of the equation," says Sbarsky. "People can live with a little less food and without air conditioning. But the emotional and intellectual impact of having no toilets is huge."
Q:What training does the crew receive in handling a situation like this, both from a practical and a psychological perspective?
A: Crews are trained to handle safety issues first and then attend to the comfort of passengers. From a damage-control perspective, the crew should be proactive and communicate regularly with the passengers, says Ernest DelBuono, senior vice president with Levick, a Washington, D.C., strategic communications firm and a former Coast Guard commander.
"There are going to be people who will be totally miserable, and you can't make them happy," DelBuono says. "The bulk of the passengers probably aren't happy — their vacation has been ruined. But they understand what happened, provided they're being communicated with and given food and water. Maybe (management) should break out the band."

July 27, 2012

Gay Men Cruising Lingo or ’Brolish'

Screen Shot 2012-07-27 at 3.43.33 PM
Sometimes it seems like men on cruising sites and apps have more abs than meaningful words in their vocabulary. Mister, a Grindr competitor that launched in December, shows you the exact kind of monosyllabic "Brolish" cruisy lingo you won't find on its dating-focused GPS app. Find out what's "sup" after the jump!

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March 23, 2012

(Follow Up) Two Men Arrested For Having Sex in Dominica Cruise

Two Southern California men pleaded guilty on Thursday to indecent exposure in Dominica after they were arrested during a stop on a gay cruise of the Caribbean.
John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, of Palm Springs, apologized in court and said they regretted their actions. 
Police said they were seen having sex in plain sight of people on land, prompting officers to board the ship and arrest them on Wednesday.
Gay cruise: John Hart, 41, left, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, both of Palm Springs, California, pleaded guilty to indecent exposure after they were caught having sex
Gay cruise: John Hart, 41, left, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, both of Palm Springs, California, 
pleaded guilty to indecent exposure after they were caught having sex
Mayer, 43, second from left, and Hart, 41, third from left, are escorted by police officers back to court following their arrest during a stop on a gay cruise of the Caribbean
Mayer, 43, second from left, and Hart, 41, third from left, are escorted by police officers back to court following their arrest during a stop on a gay cruise of the Caribbean
The two initially were arrested on suspicion of the local equivalent of sodomy in the eastern Caribbean island, which prohibits sex between two men.
The men's attorney, Bernadette Lambert, said they were remorseful.
'They were struck by the beautiful mountains, the clean and clear fresh air and were having a few cocktails, and so threw caution to the wind,' she told the court.

March 22, 2012

Two Men Arrested At Gay Celebrity Cruise Liner For Gay Sex

Two California men on a gay cruise of the Caribbean were arrested Wednesday in Dominica, where sex between two men is illegal.
Police Constable John George said the men were arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure and "buggery," a term equivalent to sodomy on the island. He identified the men as John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, but did not provide their hometowns.
The two were later charged with indecent exposure and are scheduled to appear before a magistrate Thursday morning. If found guilty, they could be fined $US370 ($NZ353) each and face up to six months in jail.
George said the men were seen having sex on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship by someone on the dock.
The ship carrying about 2000 passengers departed Puerto Rico on Saturday and arrived in Dominica on Wednesday. It departed without the men and headed toward St Barts.
The cruise was organised by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel.
President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment after the two were charged.
The presence of gay cruises in the Caribbean has riled several conservative islands including Jamaica and Grenada, where anti-sodomy laws are enforced with strong backing from religious groups.
The last time authorities in the Caribbean intervened on a gay cruise was in February 2011, when agents with US Customs and Border Protection arrested a California man aboard the Allure of the Seas, which had docked in St. Thomas. The man, Steven Barry Krumholz of West Hollywood, pleaded guilty to selling ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine to fellow passengers.

February 4, 2012

A Britton Disappear From A Gay Cruise Aboard A Ship

A British tourist is missing after falling more than 100ft overboard from the world’s biggest cruise ship off the coast of Mexico.
The Mexican navy and coastguard are still searching for the unnamed man, who is aged 30, but there is  little hope he will be found alive.
He was among more than 4,500 passengers on board Allure of the Seas as it sailed from Florida to an island south of Cancun on a gay and lesbian-themed seven-day cruise.
'Hedonistic': Allure of the Seas was used to host a massive party with 4,500 passengers on board as the ship sailed from Florida to an island south of Cancun on a gay and lesbian-themed seven-day cruise
'Hedonistic': Allure of the Seas was used to host a massive party with 4,500 passengers on board as the ship sailed from Florida to an island south of Cancun on a gay and lesbian-themed seven-day cruise
CCTV captured him falling from a balcony outside his cabin on Deck 11 at about 7.10am local time on Friday when guests were sleeping after an ‘Eighties’ party.
Most of those on board the ship, chartered by a firm called Atlantis, are gay men said to be enjoying the ‘hedonistic atmosphere’.
A picture, above, posted online from a recent Atlantis cruise shows the decks of the 213ft-tall vessel packed with bare-chested revellers.
Sean Patrick Lewis, a passenger on the current cruise, said the tragedy has done little to dampen the mood on board: ‘We have been having parties every night on the ship with lights, lasers and very loud music.’
Royal Caribbean's 'Allure of the Seas' cruise ship. CCTV captured the man falling from a balcony outside his cabin on Deck 11 at about 7.10am local time on Friday
Royal Caribbean's 'Allure of the Seas' cruise ship. CCTV captured the man falling from a balcony outside his cabin on Deck 11 at about 7.10am local time on Friday
The ship’s owner, Royal Caribbean International, insists that the CCTV footage shows the man jumped deliberately.
But the family of 24-year-old cruise ship worker Rebecca Coriam, who disappeared from the Disney Wonder off the coast of Mexico last year, believe it is too early to make this judgment.
They were also told their daughter had jumped, but a year on they say they are no closer to discovering the truth about what happened.
Rebecca’s mother Ann Coriam said: ‘They can’t possibly have carried out the thorough investigation necessary to come to that conclusion.’
Campaigners complain that there is no international police organisation for crimes at sea, leaving investigations to the police force of the country where the ship is registered – often places such as Panama, Bermuda or, in the case of Allure of the Seas, the Bahamas.
A Royal Caribbean executive, who asked not to be named, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The ship is on full charter to Atlantis, meaning they essentially bought the ship’s cabins for the cruise and then sold them. Atlantis likes to throw big parties in the public spaces.’

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