|View from our Carnival Victory balcony, |
late Sunday, April 17, 2011, just before
commencing voyage from San Juan, PR
May 6, 2011
Photos by Steve Parelli
Part I - A positive experience with all on-baord the Carnival Victory Caribbean cruise
Our six-day, seven-night Carnival Victory Caribbean cruise (April 2011), originating out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was a gay-friendly, over-all straight, family-focused cruise. Daily programs were run for children and teens alike. For the adults, there was an adult-only deck area with fantastic views (from port and starboard sides), two whirl pools, open air showers, lounging chairs and hammocks.
|In port at Bridgetown, Barbados, April 20, 2011|
|Jose Ortiz on Carnival Victory Caribbean |
Cruise, late Monday, April 18, 2011
Carnival publishes, in its daily newsletter (delivered to each room), a "friends of Dorothy" evening time and designated place where LGBT people on the cruise can meet if they choose to. Twice, Jose and I went to the "friends of Dorothy" meeting area. On one occasion no one else showed.
|Left to right: Jose Ortiz, Jonathan |
Chavez and Steve Parelli
But that was just the beginning of meeting gays. Our built in "gay-dar" (for "radar') was our most resourceful means for finding other LGBT people. (Not to overlook the fact that as an obvious gay couple we are a magnet for those who are LGBT interested.)
We met Jonathan Chavez and his gay friend (both Puerto Rican) on our St. Lucia/Pitons cruise; we met a Puerto Rican gay couple travelling with a gay friend in the sauna in the men's locker room who introduced us to another Puerto Rican couple (travelling with their family) who are both active in their welcoming and affirming Presbyterian church in Puerto Rican.
|Jose Ortiz and Steve Parelli, Brighton Beach, Barbados,|
April 20, 2011.
|View of the Pitons, St. Lucia|
from our stateroom on
Carnival Victory, early
morning, April 21, 2011
Part IV - Gay-friednly people we met -- including some nurses from Jamaica who enthusiastically tagged their country as LGBT affirming (we polited offered our commentary)
|Jose Ortiz on the|
excursion to the
Pitons, St. Luica,
April 21, 2011
We met a very friendly group of about five or more women from Jamaica traveling together. Most of them, if not all, were nurses. You could tell they were all friends. In the course of our conversation we asked them what the tone was in Jamaica regarding homosexuals (expecting them to report sadly the anti-gay sentiment there). "Very friendly," they assured us. "Very accepting." It was hard to let their comment slide and we gently offered them a different perspective from our point of view as a gay couple and the news, as we've heard it coming out of Jamaica, that Jamaica is a very, very homophobic country with a lot of hostility towards LGBT people. "We're changing," they assured us. And we continued talking about other things, making light-hearted conversation.
|Jose Ortiz at the Pitons, St. Luica, April 21, 2011|
|Steve Parelli on our|
stateroom balcony at sunset,
Carnival Victory Caribbean
cruise, April 2011
Part VI - A pro-LGBT family from Sacramento: His dad's gay and so is his wife's brother!
|Left to right: David, Kimberly and Breana (photo|
and story used by permission). Carnival
Victory Caribbean cruise, Pacific Restaurant,
Friday morning, April 22, 2011
At one point I was close to tears with the overwhelming sense of their like-experiences and their heart-flet support as I explained how my immediately family - parents, three of my four children, one sibling, ex-wife - have totally ostracised me and Jose in the name of religion, i.e., "personal separation from the unrepented sinner."
|Standing left to right: David, Jose Ortiz, and|
Steve Parelli. Seated: Kimberly (left) and
Breana (photo and story used
by permission). Carnival Victory
Caribbean cruise, Pacific Restaurant,
Friday morning, April 22, 2011
We exchanged contact information; have already connected on Facebook; and will at some point introduce them to Jose's cousin and wife who, like them, live in Sacramento, California, and who stood up for us when Jose and I were married there in city hall in Sacramento in August of 2008.
(In an email following the publishing of this blog, Kimberly Hardie wrote "That's [i.e., the content of the blog] completely fine. You might want to add that along with my brother, I have three gay nephews and several gay cousins.")
|Carnival ship at end of street, |
St. Kitts, April 22, 2011
|Sunset in the |
A few LGBT people have told us that there is nothing like an all-gay cruise and that, from what they've experienced, there's no gay-attitude on the cruise which is hard to imagine (you know, the attitude that says looks is all that matters so that if you aren't beautiful you're not noticed - it exists in the heterosexual world, too). That being the case, we might try an all-gay cruise some time. But, if you're thinking about a straight cruise with gay-friendly people, then for us, as far as we experienced it, Carnival can be a good choice.