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Open letter to Carnival: step up your LGBT game, please


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We just got back from a week on the Carnival Magic. Overall had a great time, but Carnival really needs to step up its game when it comes to its LGBT gatherings.

 

Each night the gathering was scheduled at the Alchemy Bar, and each night there was a loud five-piece band performing on the stage right next to the bar. The band was very good, but the problem was twofold: the bar was full of people there to watch the band, and it was very difficult to hold down a conversation because of the music.

 

As there was nobody there to facilitate the group, it was a matter of looking at the folks at and near the bar and trying to figure out, "Are they gay?" "Are they here for the meetup?" I stepped outside my comfort zone and walked up to a couple who I was pretty sure was family and said hi, but we made small-talk for a minute or two and that was it.

 

In contrast, we had a previous cruise on Princess where the meetup was held in a quiet, out-of-the-way bar that had sofas and chairs that were conducive to a group sitting together and chatting. Additionally, the assistant Cruise Director was family and was there on the first night to welcome us and encourage us to mingle and get to know our fellow cruisers. He also was able to get a couple of bottles of chesp champagne for us and provided a complimentary glass for anyone interested. What a huge difference it made being in a quieter venue and with a minimal effort by the staff to help get us acquainted.

 

This was our second Carnival cruise, and while we had a good time (and eventually met some like-minded folks), it was the second one where the GLBT meetup was always scheduled at the Alchemy Bar during times that the bar was already full of other people. Do better Carnival, please.

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Carnival does seem to have a bit of trouble assigning appropriate venues for social gatherings. It’s not just LGBT, but all. Back in the days when I used to attend “singles” gatherings, they were most times held at any bar open to all, and you were left to your own devices to figure out who was a like minded single attending the meetup.
 

The also do the same with other type of gathering like Friends of Bill W. Whoever is in charge of scheduling these, must not even know what they are for. A close relative attends Bill W meeting regularly when he cruises, and he told me that one time it was held at the casino bar (😂) and another time it was held at the library, which would’ve been the perfect location, except for the fact that it was simultaneously hosting the Build-a-Bear Workshop with 20 screaming kids and their parents. 
 

But he knows the drill by now. To give Carnival credit where it’s due, both times that he complained about the venue selection, subsequent meetings during the same cruise were held at appropriate locations. 

Edited by Tapi
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  • 2 weeks later...

We just got back from a sailing on board the Celebrity Constellation and had a similar issue.  They didn't announce the LGBT gathering in the daily handout; we saw it posted on a bulletin board near the pursers desk.  One day they did announce it and it was for a GLBT lunch.  We met in an empty bar and then were escorted to the restaurant.  Of course not everyone arrives at the same time so we were lucky that one of the staff saw us looking around and walked us down to the lunch. It was only 2 couples in the end.  Of course, by the end of the cruise we had a nice group of gay friends, but we are surprised that Celebrity wasn't better at facilitating.  Norwegian does a much better job in that respect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's not just Carnival, like  Britthunt said, it was the same on Celebrity. On the Sunrise last September, they were held in the Alchemy Bar as well. We only went once, met one couple but that was it. We always have a great time and meet lots of people - but I've also seen where "family" is very selective with who they want to socialize with. We will be back on The Sunrise in May - I'm sure it will be the same. 

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  • 2 months later...

Yeah. We have not sealed them a lot, but we have discovered that they do their get together is in very strange locations… Like the piano bar on one of them… Kind of hard to talk when somebody is singing… We love piano bars but it’s very difficult to get to know some people but that’s going on We have not sealed them a lot, but we have discovered that they do their get together is in very strange locations… Like the piano bar on one of them… Kind of hard to talk when somebody is singing… We love piano bars but it’s very difficult to get to know some people when that’s going on  
Another trip, they were at 10 o’clock at night which most people are either doing something else or at a show etc.

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  • 9 months later...

We found this to be true on the breeze back in 2015… They had it in a piano bar and you want to talk to people but you don’t wanna be rude to the performer. The time was off to… They did at 10 PM when there’s a lot of other things going on the ship… I prefer the earlier ones at five or six like a happy hour

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  • 2 months later...

We have been on 7 different cruise lines and don't think any are where they need to be but Carnival was great to us in 2014 for our Wedding cruise when Royal Caribbean refused to treat our legal wedding as a wedding when we discussed it with them.

 

We were stressed in trying to plan a wedding on land with so much to consider when we thought of a cruise ship wedding.  Granted you have far fewer options but they take care of everything.  They recommended an officiant, took care of food, cake, incredible buffet just for our party.  So much less stress and yet we still had input if we wanted it.  I scripted the whole ceremony myself and we provided all the music on CDs for their DJ.

 

They treated us with respect, dignity and zealousness before during and afterwards.  We were celebrities the rest of the cruise.  Crew and passengers alike that we didn't know congratulated us all week even when we weren't wearing our tuxedos.  None of our 50 guests ended up sailing with us but we still got a lot of attention, all positive.

 

 

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A couple have mentioned having the meetups at the piano bar as a negative.  Certainly if it is while the performer is playing, it might be hard to hear but I have seen quite a few where it was between performances, particularly when it is early evening.  Also, it seems to be a venue where a lot of us seem to go naturally.  We have run into other couples by accident often at the piano bar.  Just a thought.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/1/2021 at 11:34 AM, seamus69 said:

They treated us with respect, dignity and zealousness before during and afterwards.

 

I realize it was a number of years ago now, but congratulations on your wedding.

 

To be clear, we have generally only had positive experiences with Carnival and I've never had the impression that they care one way or the other if you're gay, straight, bi, green with purple polka dots, etc. The staff has always been friendly and treated us well.

 

My only real beef, and the reason I started this thread over a year ago (and to be honest, forgot about it until I saw it again today) is that I think they could do a much better job facilitating the LGBTQ meetup versus just listing a time to meet at the Alchemy Bar and leaving everyone to their own devices. It wouldn't take a ton of effort or staff time to schedule the meeting in a slightly less busy area and, at least on the first night, have a staff member there to welcome folks and help break the ice for 20 minutes or so. 🤷‍♂️

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, knagl said:

 

I realize it was a number of years ago now, but congratulations on your wedding.

 

To be clear, we have generally only had positive experiences with Carnival and I've never had the impression that they care one way or the other if you're gay, straight, bi, green with purple polka dots, etc. The staff has always been friendly and treated us well.

 

My only real beef, and the reason I started this thread over a year ago (and to be honest, forgot about it until I saw it again today) is that I think they could do a much better job facilitating the LGBTQ meetup versus just listing a time to meet at the Alchemy Bar and leaving everyone to their own devices. It wouldn't take a ton of effort or staff time to schedule the meeting in a slightly less busy area and, at least on the first night, have a staff member there to welcome folks and help break the ice for 20 minutes or so. 🤷‍♂️

Holland America does the same thing, just sets a time and place each evening, I went once on my last cruise and when I walked in I didn't know if the two guys already there were there for the meeting or not.  Turned out they were but it was a bit awkward at first.  On another cruise, I saw two women there thinking they were a lesbian couple, turns out they were there for Friends of Bill W scheduled for the same place/time....again awkward and it being a smaller ship with fewer venues probably the reason for the double booking, but a host could have cleared that up.  Now I mostly stay away from them, they aren't well attended anyway on HAL.

 

Edit: I think I meet more guys in the gym or spa than at these meetups 😁

 

 

Edited by atexsix
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On 5/24/2021 at 2:35 AM, knagl said:

I realize it was a number of years ago now, but congratulations on your wedding.

 

Thank you!

 

On 5/24/2021 at 2:35 AM, knagl said:

My only real beef, and the reason I started this thread over a year ago (and to be honest, forgot about it until I saw it again today) is that I think they could do a much better job facilitating the LGBTQ meetup versus just listing a time to meet at the Alchemy Bar and leaving everyone to their own devices. It wouldn't take a ton of effort or staff time to schedule the meeting in a slightly less busy area and, at least on the first night, have a staff member there to welcome folks and help break the ice for 20 minutes or so. 🤷‍♂️

 

I agree.  All the lines could do better.

 

On 5/24/2021 at 6:40 PM, atexsix said:

Holland America does the same thing, just sets a time and place each evening, I went once on my last cruise and when I walked in I didn't know if the two guys already there were there for the meeting or not.  Turned out they were but it was a bit awkward at first.  On another cruise, I saw two women there thinking they were a lesbian couple, turns out they were there for Friends of Bill W scheduled for the same place/time....again awkward and it being a smaller ship with fewer venues probably the reason for the double booking, but a host could have cleared that up.  Now I mostly stay away from them, they aren't well attended anyway on HAL.

 

Edit: I think I meet more guys in the gym or spa than at these meetups 😁

 

If they could have a meet and greet in the gym and have drinks available, it would be perfect!

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Cunard is a Carnival Brand and they have, in my opinion done a very good job with Gatherings. They call it Friends of Dorothy/Rainbow pride, and they list it in the daily program. It is usually about 5 pm in a quiet section of the Commodore Club. I have generally found them to be well attended. Except for the Hamburg to Southampton leg of a Westbound t/a with many German's aboard. I suspect it is the term "Friends of Dorothy" that might have caused them to miss the meeting. 

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On 6/1/2021 at 11:53 AM, Bigmike911 said:

Cunard is a Carnival Brand and they have, in my opinion done a very good job with Gatherings. They call it Friends of Dorothy/Rainbow pride, and they list it in the daily program. It is usually about 5 pm in a quiet section of the Commodore Club. I have generally found them to be well attended. Except for the Hamburg to Southampton leg of a Westbound t/a with many German's aboard. I suspect it is the term "Friends of Dorothy" that might have caused them to miss the meeting. 

Some people don't like the moniker "friends of Dorothy" or don't really understand what it means, I think there was a thread on it some time ago, I like the sound of Rainbow Pride though.  HAL's programs list them as gay and lesbian, which worried me a bit in some of the less enlightened parts of the world, I was afraid it would attract curiosity seekers although it never did.  But they weren't well attended on any of my cruises with HAL even when there was a sizable younger gay crowd on board which brings us back to the host issue.  

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