I had the priviledge of having worked for Princess both shoreside at their corporate offices as well as onboard. Since that time, I have continued sailing with Princess because their product is great and I know from experience that they value the GLBT community. Albeit a bit slanted because of my brand loyalty, I'll offer my experiences for you to judge and compare with other cruiselines.
While working shoreside, my experience was one of total acceptance and open-mindedness from all coworkers. Although this may have changed over the years, the majority of my coworkers were women and most of (if not all) the men were very accepting. Yes, there were plenty of gay men shoreside as well.
My experience onboard was interesting to say the least; more than 600 crew members and I was 1 of 10 Americans onboard (
). My cabin mate was also gay and despite culture differences, we got along great. The dancers - all gay. Every last one of them. The singers - both gay. From the Purser's staff, to the casino staff, to the bar staff and waiters, to the Shoppies, Photogs, especially the cruise staff, gay, gay, gay. I would have to say that the 10% rule jumps up on ships to about 20-30%. And the rest of the staff? Either they didn't mind or didn't care ... everyone just got along. I'll never forget my conversations with my Romanian friends that, despite being straight, they treated me like a brother. For those who don't know, being gay in Romania is a crime, which made their acceptance even more special. I even learned to speak Romanian which just baffled them. Everyone just got along great and looked out for one another.
Post ship life, the cruises I've taken with friends and my partner have always been very
gay friendly. When reqeusted, my partner and I have never been turned down for a FOD party. We typically receive either a personal call or a short letter from the Cruise Director thanking us for our request. On our last 7 day cruise we had 3 get-togethers while on our 12 day cruise we had about 6 (YES, SIX!). A member of the Cruise Staff typically kicked off the 1st meeting, acting as the "social lubricant" as one staffer told us. They've brought with them a bottle or two of champagne and have been VERY welcoming to anyone gay or straight (we've had some stragglers that wanted to know what FOD meant -
). Our smallest gathering was approximately 6 people while our largest was 14-16. We were on our own for subsequent meetings, but it was OK. On our 12 day cruise some of us became an unseparable group of 8 that would always meet up at the Lobby Bar for pre-dinner drinks, FOD party or not. We got to know the bartender very well and he never batted an eye that we were gay. The rest of the staff has always been just as accomodating. As a note to anyone reading this who may wonder: my partner and I do not hold hands or show any other type of public displays of affection short of a hug or eating from each other's plates. We look like two average guys taking a cruise together that just happen to have a queen bed configuration in their cabin ...
! Should someone ask if we're gay, we have no problem saying so either.
All in all, boarding a Princess cruiseship whether domestically or abroad, I am confident in knowing that I will be treated like everyone else without regard to sexual orientation. To be honest, I kinda' expect to be treated better BECAUSE of my sexual orientation (
). They don't call it Princess for nothin'!
Hope this helps you or any board readers. Princess Cruises truly is special and I hope each of you has the opportunity to experience it for yourself some day.