Carnival ban on “drag” during “drag cruise” is not anti-gay, it’s cuz of 9/11

If Men Dress Like Women, the Terrorists Win

We reported earlier this evening that Carnival Cruise lines allegedly sent an email to passengers on its upcoming “Drag Stars at Sea” cruise, notifying them that drag would be banned on the drag cruise.  That email has since been confirmed by the operator of the drag cruise segment of the larger Carnival cruise.

For the sake of the children, Carnival explained earlier, it just had to ban passengers from dressing up in drag during the “drag cruise.” The drag cruise was a sub-section of a larger “family” cruise that will include children.  But of course. if drag is such a threat to children, then why book the cruises simultaneously at all?

Well, it seems Carnival wasn’t giving us the whole explanation for why they were banning drag on a drag cruise.

You see, it wasn’t about the kids, Carnival is now saying.  Carnival was simply enforcing it’s super-duper-double-secret post September 11 anti-terrorism policy against drag.


From a Facebook posting from the organizer of the drag-cruise-within-a-cruise Al and Chuck Travel:

[P]lease take note, Carnival’s regulation is NOT an example of discrimination. Carnival is an ally of the GLBT community. Please understand that this cruise could not even be happening on the GLORY if Carnival was not an ally of our segment of society. When they say they are a “family friendly” cruise line they mean it in both the traditional and metaphorical sense of the phrase.

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.

Yeah, I mean who would go in costume to a show on a Carnival Cruise.  I mean, besides these guys:

Well, and besides these guys:

Okay, I’ll bite. Carnival has a policy of not letting people dress in costume, because of 9/11, when none of the hijackers dressed in costume. In fact, as I recall, the terrorists shaved and put on nice clothes. Even polished their shoes. So where does this whole “Osama bin Cross-Dressing” fear come from?

The only place I could even find a mention of Al Qaeda in drag was on a loony people Web site, FrontPageMag. In it we discover an article from last year about Taliban terrorists dressed as women in burqas.

Hmm… I’m gonna go on a limb here and suggest that Al Qaeda, or the Taliban, can find lots of other ways to attack a cruise than dressing like Divine.

And there’s another problem.  How is Carnival supposedly okay with trans people going on the cruise, how will they “support” a transgender person’s “right to live your identity,” if men can’t dress as women and vice versa?  One man’s transgender is another man’s drag – what’s to stop Carnival’s straight cruise employes from kicking some trans person off the ship for “being in drag”?  So it’s okay to be trans, but don’t be too “fun” about it, you know wearing fun clothes or, god-forbid a wig (so trans people on chemo are out), lest some Carnival employee mistake you for a gay man in a dress and kick you off the ship?  Can’t get more welcoming than that.

Carnival’s Web Site Says Only Costume Restriction is “No Weapons”

But hey, what do you know – when some asked, just two months ago, if Carnival had any policy on wearing Halloween costumes on their ships, they got this not-very-September-11 response on Carnival’s own Web site:

Well, color me confused, but the good ole gays didn’t get any warnings about weapons. Unless fierce hair is a weapon (and you know it is, girl).

And here are even more reports of Carnival cruise customers, and Carnival’s own employees, dressing in costume all over the ship:

The responses from cruise members to the latest 9-11 news was withering:

JT: When were we to be told this? We’ve spent hundreds of dollars on new outfits, and we learn NOW? This is disgusting. Don’t even tell us that we should be grateful. And furthermore, clearly you haven’t been to a club in a while many ppl do drag to see their idols. I booked this cruise last APRIL and no where was this specified. What are we setting an example for? That we should hide from children and deny them the respect to show them that they can be who they want to be. Shame on you.

MT: The timing and tone of Carnival’s e-mail could have been much better worded. Especially since it came as an Urgent Alert! Did they really just figure out that people would have wanted to be in drag? I personally hadn’t planned on being in drag. I’m sure that all of my fellow passengers that have spent money on looking fabulous while mingling with the Drag Stars girls would have liked to have known about this regulation months ago. The timing of this is terrible and additionally insulting. Please admit, on this aspect of the cruise, Carnival and you guys dropped the ball.

AE: Statements like: “…we nonetheless expect all guests to recognize that minors are onboard and, refrain from engaging in inappropriate conduct in public areas.” sound a lot like “Refrain from acting gay because there are children present.” The above statement does not appear in *any* relation to costumes or masks. But it does seem to underline some sort of general prejudice towards gay men that we are somehow uniquely predisposed to uncontrollable outbursts of inappropriate and ‘non-family friendly’ behaviour (whatever that is).

RDLG: Did Carnival send a threatening yet vague letter about “appropriate behavior” and being forced off the boat at passengers own expense to all passengers on the Glory or just the GLBTQ Al & Chuck travelers. This is offensive and discriminatory. It’s fueled with disgusting assumptions on the part of Carnival. I am my friends are no threat to children or families. I am disgusted that I have spent money to support this horrible company.

VP: First of all I would like to express my utter disappointment with how disgustingly homophobic your email is. You must be really ashamed of yourself. Now I was not going to be in drag or walking around naked or whatever your twisted fantasy of what gay people are, but let me ask you one questions. Why on earth would you even consider organizing this event in affiliation with RuPaul and his stars and then prohibit people to express themselves freely. I wonder if there is a transgender person or a drag queen present on the cruise, would it still be considered offensive for them to dress in whatever they choose to? It’s worse than the Soviet Union.

CS: Can you cite Carnival’s rule against costumes. Carnival’s website has several customer posts about costume contests, etc. for Halloween. I understand the rule against masks (from your prior communications) but specifically about costumes? And if there are passengers (female) wearing trashy Forever 21 overly skimpy cocktail dresses or passengers wearing ugly Christmas sweaters will they also be ejected at the next port for violating the costume rule?? Also, can you please let us know (in terms of donations to marriage equality, etc., please be specific) how Carnival has supported LGBT rights?

EP: Do I smell a boycott?

RD: Six days before the cruise you tell us? You don’t understand that the idea of a drag cruise would lead people to believe they could dress in drag? This was going to be our first trip together in the 22 years of our relationship. Thanks so much for ruining it.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

53 Responses to “Carnival ban on “drag” during “drag cruise” is not anti-gay, it’s cuz of 9/11”

  1. 2 Lil Monkeys says:

    So I’m a bit confused about this statement:

    “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.”

    How is this any different than comic con? You go to meet the characters up close and personal. The stars that play the characters, and YES, you go in costume.

  2. karmanot says:

    I get it now :)

  3. karmanot says:


  4. karmanot says:

    What? I am just shocked—you mean drag queens are not ladies?

  5. karmanot says:


  6. karmanot says:

    Maybe it’s a TSA thing. “Excuse me Ma’am, is this your real junk, or are you in drag?”

  7. karmanot says:

    What did I miss here? Paying a fortune for a drag cruise and then being told not to wear drag is like taxes? I don’t get it.

  8. karmanot says:

    Maybe if folks wore Salvation Army drag it would be OK.

  9. Bard Coennius says:

    Be afraid….ooh, ooh…be afraid of those HERETICS….er, ABOLTIONISTS…no, wait…it’s the COMMUNISTS…no, the Soviet Union fell…HIPPIES AND DRUGGIES!! No, I don’t think so…is it the dreaded Y2K…? No, that was years ago…Bird flu…? Armageddon…? What is it now…? Oh, yes…the TERRORISTS!!! BE AFRAID!!! HORRORS!!! DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND DISEASE!!! LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS, OH MY…!

    Wake up people…the primary way that the self-appointed “Powers That Be” make money and keep the corporate jackboot on our collective necks and under control is to keep us all afraid of something.

    When terrorism is no longer an issue (assuming they ever stop creating it – and I’m not holdin’ my breath), they’ll find something/someone else to keep us frightened and under control.

    Probably invaders from the Planet Xeenu…

  10. JamesR says:

    It’s a ship filled with drinking and gambling in international waters. Please define “unbecoming” and “the many.”

    Erstwhile well paying customers.

    Carnival’s whole business model consists of managing people who behave badly, and extracting money from them. Not scolding them and punishing them, before the fact. You should really get out more.

  11. Guns don’t kill people. Drag queens kill people.

  12. Yeah I was kind of waiting for someone to catch the name of that ship…

  13. priceless

  14. Can you imagine. Ma’am, I have feel down your pants, please. Of course, I might put on lipstick just for that opportunity.

  15. Jamie says:

    I see. So I can get on an airplane at any airport in this country enfemme, and TSA don’t care, as long as I match my picture ID, but I can’t get on their stinky boat? What a cop-out. You know this has NOTHING to do with terrorism. Once again, the “T” gets left behind on the dock when the big LGB boat sets sail.

    more here:

  16. Skeptical Cicada says:

    It basically means the same thing, doesn’t it?

  17. Bruce Hakes says:

    It’s not that the turbans are subversive – it’s just they make you look like Gloria F***ing Swanson.

  18. mofongo says:

    *Ouch!* If I was bitten by a “Glory”-hole, I’d want my money back.

  19. nicho says:

    Yeah, because people who aren’t in drag always behave perfectly. Pffft. You should change your name to StupidlyGay.

  20. ConservativelyGay says:

    This is just a case where the few ruin it for the many. I’m sure they’ve either seen or heard about drag queens behaving badly…which happens a lot. They get dressed in drag & think they can say or do anything they please. Behavior is what they’re concerned about. Doing drag is one thing…bad, unbecoming behavior is another. Unfortunately they’re combined in this circumstance.

  21. Nothing says:

    And they still won’t let him on the ship (

  22. Naja pallida says:

    Where in my comment is such a thing said at all? Anti-discrimination laws would be the US laws I would be referring to… and I was just pointing out that Royal Caribbean, not being incorporated in the United States, does not have to abide by United States law with regards to anti-discrimination. They choose not to discriminate against people simply because it is good for business. Carnival apparently has no such business sense, and they do have to abide by US anti-discrimination laws… and maybe, in the not too distant future, gender identity will actually be protected.

  23. olandp says:

    Are they issuing refunds? If not, someone should sue.

  24. Anyone who is stupid enough to trust Carnival Cruise Line to treat gays decently deserves what they get…

  25. Indigo says:

    Nothing says incompetence like the people-policies on Carnival cruises. A weekend at sea is an easy option for us year-around Flor-idiots and for a genuinely unpleasant choice, Carnival has sailing options at almost every port in our sunshine state. I’d rather not sail Carnival but when a bunch of friends get together and Carnival is handy, that’s the way of it. But . . . for a gay-based organization to tap Carnival for a partial drag cruise with Ru Paul tells this old queen only one thing: they did not do their research before signing with Carnival. RSVP and Atlantis gay cruise organizers book with other cruise lines. What does that tell us?

  26. JamesR says:

    Does Carnival really want to bring up security on cruises? Really? Do they really want to go there?

    I will. Al Quaeda and (insert any other actual trrorist group known to man here) already fucking know this as of eleven years ago.

    Security for passengers embarking and debarking cruise ships? FUCKING PLEASE.

    Best way to smuggle something into the US: a discount cruise. Do it at a high volume entry time BINGO your whatever you’d want gets right in. Security at ports of call? NONE. Fucking none. You might find Fatherland Homeland Security hassling you at a train station, or a subway station, or a bus near the border in Texas but you’re more likely to be a child on a Carnival Cruise than ever find a ‘secure’ scan at a port.

    Carnival is really shitting and stepping in it with their “children” nonsense-lie followed by this.

  27. Max_1 says:

    H I N T:
    It’s not about the costumes as much as it is about WHO’S gonna be in the costumes.

  28. Max_1 says:

    Since when is going drag against US law?

  29. zorbear says:

    Oh, right — it’s the turbans! Now why didn’t I think of that?

  30. zorbear says:

    like “paying” to spend a week in WalMart…

  31. Naja pallida says:

    Carnival is incorporated in the US, so is subject to US law for such matters… pays taxes in the US, and has to abide US labor law. Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia which allows it to skirt all of those things on legal technicalities, while still ostensibly looking like an American or European company.

    Of course, in reality, it just means Royal Caribbean doesn’t want to offend its customers and create a PR shit storm.

  32. Sweetie says:

    Next revelation: Rudy Giuliani took over Carnival.

  33. Sweetie says:

    two words: class action

  34. Naja pallida says:

    You pay taxes, don’t you? :)

  35. Ben says:

    Carnival is the thrift store of cruises. I learned a long time ago that spend a little more money and take a better cruise. I have coupons from Carnival for the nasty cruise I toke with them. So hearing that Carnival did this is no suprise to me. They will take your money but then control your fun.

  36. David Kae says:

    Actually, Carnival didn’t say anything about post-9/11 security or related issues. did.

  37. FunMe says:

    I went on 2 gay cruises with Royal Carribean and there was A LOT of people wearing drag in many of the themed parties. What’s the difference here?

  38. Rupaul addict says:

    Everyone should pull out and go all class action on their butts…boycotts and everything…totally rediculous

  39. karmanot says:

    Is Amanda her drag name?

  40. George Heymont says:

    There’s a simple solution. Have everyone wear T-shirts that say “I’m proud to be on board the Carnival Glory Hole.”

  41. karmanot says:

    Truly amazing to pay money to be discriminated against.

  42. This is the letter that Carnival sent to me: Standard cut and paste with no care at all to the real issue:

    Good afternoon Mr. Sanders:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact our corporate office.

    We realize great service is fundamental to an enjoyable vacation and
    sexual orientation is not a factor when providing the excellent service for
    which Carnival is known. Nevertheless, we are very sorry to hear
    that you were offended during your stay with us. The poor
    impression we left you with is of great concern to us and we have taken the
    liberty of sharing your feedback with the relevant department managers for their
    internal review so that corrective action can be taken, where warranted. Please
    don’t let this rare occurrence determine your opinion of us.

    As you’ve experienced on your first cruise with us back in January, our
    goal is, and has always been, to provide a valuable, fun-filled vacation. We
    extend our sincere apologies for your disappointment this time around; however,
    you can rest assured that we are just as committed today as we have been in
    previous years to providing a top-notch cruise experience.

    Mr. Sanders, we were disheartened to learn this has you wavering on
    whether to sail with Carnival in the future. Despite the
    circumstances, we trust you took home some fond memories as souvenirs that will
    last a lifetime. All of us at Carnival do hope you’ll reconsider your position
    in the future and allow us an opportunity to welcome you and Mr. Ruiz back


    Amanda Saenz
    Guest Care Specialist
    Carnival Cruise
    Lines | 3655 NW 87th Avenue | Miami, FL 33178
    [email protected]

  43. Jon/Jen H says:

    Also, we are not a small sub-section of the cruise. Last I checked, 1300 or so were booked on the drag cruise. The ship holds 2,974 passengers. Even if filled up entirely, we’d be well over 40% of the people on this cruise!

  44. Ummm….I sailed on the Glory in June and the Cruise Director and some of the crew made homophobic jokes from the main stage during the Welcome Aboard/Ashore presentation and the Murder Mystery Kickoff. I complained and was promptly treated as persona non grata the rest of the cruise. It took me over a week of letters and phone calls to Carnivals HQ in Miami and then was only given a cut and pasted letter (I know it was cut and paste, since they didnt bother to reformat the size and types of fonts within the letter) acknowledging I made a formal complaint. Nothing further from them at all. They dont seem to care about our community at all.

  45. Jon/Jen H says:

    I feel really sorry for the poor sap in security who’s going to be nominated gender police.

  46. Bingo. And I think you describe the situation perfectly for anyone who’s trans – the entire cruise is going to spent worrying about whether you cross some trans/drag line in the sea that gets you kicked off the cruise. That’s hardly welcoming. I just find it amazing that, of all the things they’re worrying about on a gay cruise, it’s people dressing in drag, as if that’s the worst that can happen LOL

  47. nicho says:

    I just can’t believe gay people cruise on Carnival. I thought they had better taste than that. A cruise on Carnival is like spending a week in WalMart.

  48. Jon/Jen H says:

    The cruise was originally booked on a smaller ship (not carnival, I think – maybe Royal Caribbean), to different locations, when it was first planned (and I first signed up for it) back in March/April. I love how it took them 8 months to realize that, hey, people might want to dress up.

  49. Jon/Jen H says:

    I cannot believe this. Does this mean if you are wearing women’s clothes and look masculine, you will be asked to prove your gender? Do TG/TS need to carry papers to avoid being kicked off? Way to not define “drag” Carnival – and way to act like you don’t care. It really seems like “if somebody feels weird about seeing a man in a dress, that man in a dress is going to be kicked off”.

    What if the little kiddies see men kissing? Are they going to be kicked off too? Is that the next ‘urgent alert’ – “We realize a lot of you are gay, but please, no gay in public spaces”?

    I spent the last 8 months getting ready. I ordered $200 of dresses to wear on this cruise just today – never mind wigs, shoes, and luggage to bring all of it in that I have been building up over time. Now I am being told that I can’t do any of it.

    Even if I wear attire entirely appropriate for a woman, because of my sex, I will be kicked off the boat?

    Or is it okay because I am gender fluid and not doing “drag” but “expressing myself”? Good luck to carnival in trying to enforce THAT difference.

    I’ve never been so upset in my life. They are subjecting us to a level of discrimination I’ve never seen even at a straight establishment on land. (I am sure they exist, but no respectable, urban place in my city would have such a policy!) What are they thinking? How is this a good play for them?

    The letter from Al and Chuck is just an attempt to fight the fire. I’d like to see them go to bat for us but it’s really Carnival’s ridiculous policy.

  50. Telsa Croop says:

    is this Aland Chucktravel first carnival experience?? bc i’m about sure Ralph Hickman and Telsa Croop were on the Royal Caribbean International cruise, and people were dressed up as zombies!

  51. AdmNaismith says:

    This 9/11- no costumes thing is bullshit. Someone at the Miami office got a bug up their ass about men in dresses and issued these stupid statements.

    If this was really a problem, Carnival should never have booked the cruise.

    Half the crew the passengers see on an hourly basis is Gay, and Carnival knows better than this.

    They’ve had (straight) nude cruises in the past, for fook sake.

    Now, if I know my Drag Queens, those girls ought to be able to turn this into a PR free-for-all in their favor and put Carnival in their place (I say this as a former employee- I Bob Dickinson still President?) Owner Mickey Arison does not want this bad PR.

  52. BeccaM says:

    Gay-themed cruises are a major source of cruise company revenue.

    Company realizes their no-drag ban is turning into a PR disaster.

    Company marketing dept flails like a freshly tasered frog until some dink says, “Hey, let’s blame terrorism! No costumes because…well, TERRORISM!” Backs are patted, reach-arounds dispensed, and none of them stop to check whether they’ve had ship-wide costume parties on previous cruises. Which turns out to be all the frickin’ time.

    Tune in tomorrow when they try to come up with another, less patently ridiculous reason for open expressions of trans- and homophobic bigotry.

    “Carnival Cruiselines: We’re Okay With The Gays, Just Don’t LOOK Gay.”

  53. karmanot says:

    Oh, I get it: all those drag queen turbans are subversive. Therefor boycott Carnival because their cruises are not safe and attract terrorists.

© 2021 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS