I hate to steal the thunder of our friends, Joe and Ivan, currently aboard the Oceania Regatta, Nov 17 Trans Atlantic but we just heard from them Ship to Shore, e-mail of course, and they tell of attending a Friends Of Dorothy gathering aboard that vessel with a response of thirty (30) FOD's
The largest group we have ever attended was 16. Anyone with experience anything like 30? Must be a record.
I've never seen more than a handful myself, until our last cruise on the Caribbean Princess. I did not attend (nor did our group of six), but I heard from others on the ship that over 30 showed up for a 11am meeting on the first day at sea. I talked to another group that was at the disco each night (they were a group of about eight), and none of them showed up either. I've never seen so much "family" on any cruise as that ship. There had to be well over 50 known family members aboard (too many to count), and that doesn't include some of the crew we met-lol.
Our cruise director for the transatlantic was Shani Reay. She's the best ever. In addition to being a fantastic cruise director, she is also a talented cabaret singer. She said her goal in life is to be a gay icon. We told her that she is our gay icon, for sure. She chose our meeting place for Friends of Dorothy in the Polo Grill, where there were some photos of Judy Garland and other film stars of the golden era. Most remarkably, when we did a group photo, one photo of Judy shown over our left shoulders--a spirit in our midst.
Hopefully, we will be able to expect this level of support on Oceania ships in general. All of us unboard were very impressed with the gay-affirmative environment and treatment.
Sounds like FOD meetings will always be a hit or miss kind of thing and doesn't seem to form patterns around any particular cruiseline, ship or destination which means all I can do is hope for the best. It certainly wouldn't be the end of the world if I was the only FOD on a ship; I don't live a 24/7 gay ghetto life anyway. I just thought it would be nice and you never know, maybe Prince Charming is just a cruiseship away.