RSVP passenger defends cruise

Bill and I had the pleasure of being on the RSVP 30th anniversary cruise, with 3,400 other LGBT men and women, this past Feb. 8 – February 15 and I felt the need to write in order to refute comments made to SFGN by another passenger about the cruise.

On Monday, Feb. 9 The Regal Princess set sail from Princess Cay in the Bahamas and was on its way to Cozumel, Mexico. Bill and I were at one of the many dances happening on the ship when at about midnight, we heard a call go out over the ships PA system for medical to come to the pool deck of the ship immediately.

Already on the pool deck we looked around to see what was going on. We then saw on the right side of the ship, the crew moving people away as they had a man lying on a table with an oxygen mask and their medical team was working frantically on him, we originally assumed it was a heart attack, but found out later that it had been an OD and not only he, but a friend of his was also in need of medical help.

All the other guests on the deck went about what they were doing and stayed out of the way to let the cruise employees do what they are trained to do in order to help one of our fellow passengers.

By 3 p.m. the next day we were pulling into the port of Miami and witnessed the two gentleman in question being brought off the ship, into ambulances, and taken away for more care (we have since heard from a very, very reputable and reliable source that the two men in question have since been released from the hospital and are doing well).

The cruise line and RSVP worked feverishly to make sure the rest of the cruise would go off without a hitch. The only change was where we were supposed to dock in Cozumel on Wednesday, they would go full steam ahead and get us there on Thursday instead, one small hiccup in our schedule everything else stayed the same.

The comments I have personally take offense to were those made to SFGN by another apparent passenger who stated “It’s an all gay cruise and they’re all drunk. There’s three thousand gay men on this boat. You know what that means. There’s a lot of high risk activity associated with that.”

After reading that my head spun around 18 times like Raven in the exorcist! These comments were so off the mark and offensive it’s not even funny! Were cocktails available, of course. Were people drinking, of course. It’s a damn cruise vacation for god’s sake. Do people have sex on the boat, of course, but to take what two individuals did to themselves, and to give the impression that the other 3,398 passengers were also all inebriated, drugged up, stumbling and humping fools was a totally irresponsible statement. We did not see one drunken, stumbling mess (and yes, we attended every party!).

People danced, people wore costumes, people went to see the entertainment including Charo, Kathy Najimy, Anne Hampton Calloway, Jinx Monsoon, and Amy and Freddy and people dined in some fabulous restaurants! All in all, people were having a wonderful time, but drunken, falling down, drugged out messes…sorry, I am not sure what ship they were on but it surely wasn’t the one we were on! (BTW the comment on 3,000 gay men was also wrong because there were a lot of gay women on this cruise!)

This was our 10th RSVP gay cruise (we like the RSVP product because it is more people our age and the parties and music are geared more to us) and we never could have imagined how many new lifelong friends we have made from around the globe.

People call it a floating bathhouse. Well if you notice it’s only called that by the individual people who wish it was that way. What this actually was, is, and has been, is a way for a group of LGBT men and women, to go on a cruise, all together and feel comfortable about who they are, they can wear a costume of their choice, they can dance and drag out if they want to, they laugh, and they make new friends.

In closing, any cruise, gay or straight, is going to be what you make of it. If you are there to throw caution to the wind and have a great time meeting people then that is the time you are going to have; if you are there to throw chemicals in your body then you risk not only hurting yourself but also inconveniencing your fellow shipmates. But please don’t lump all the travelers on a cruise into one group and say “well, this is it” because you will be wrong. Try a gay cruise and see for yourself, I am sure you would see what we see year after year!

— Terry DeCarlo