Atlantis Largest Gay Cruise in History 2 in Grand Cayman
Atlantis' Largest Gay Cruise in History 2, arrived in Grand Cayman on Jan. 31 with about 3,200 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas. Atlantis not visited the island since government officials turned away an Atlantis cruise in 1998. Aside from a small group of protesters, according to the company, the passengers were warmly greeted.
It is interesting that the local news is making it seem there were more protesters than a small group. Of course, that could reflect bias from the reporter but then again I could see Atlantis downplaying the numbers as well. I wonder if any Atlantis passengers can give the real story?
Part of me would not mind greeting a bunch of protesters but part of me does not want to be bothered while I am on vacation. I understand Atlantis has Freedom of the Seas for next year's Largest Gay Cruise in History and it is possible they may stop in Grand Cayman. Prices and itinerary should be posted in a few weeks. I am thinking about it but I don't know what kind of reception one would get in Jamaica either.
Thank you for listening.
QM2 July 3-8, 2006
Radiance of Seas Nov 25-Dec 3, 2006
Here is article in Caymen news about Atlantis visiting Grand Caymen.... some protested and were mad... some were very happy as they all should be. There is lots of $$ that can come from gay travellers. If they don't want it.... there are lots of other islands in the Caribbean that would love to have our ship come into port.
I was on the January Atlantis cruise and got off in Grand Cayman, here are my thoughts...
We got off the ship a little late as our excursion wasn't until 1 p.m. and we wanted to sleep a bit.
When our tour guide started taking us away from the dock area, he said something about ignoring "the welcoming committee" because they were a bunch of "Jamaican assholes." We had no idea what he meant, but I put 2-and-2 together and click, I guessed we were getting protested. Honestly, but the time we got off the ship, I wouldn't have even noticed the protesters. They were standing around in small church yards across the street just looking sullen (like most bible thumpers). A few were holding placards that couldn't be read from across the street. Frankly the "Christian" protesters in the U.S. could teach them a lot about slinging hate at people.
Our tour was all gay men (it was Helmet Diving which was just fantastic) so no problems there.
Many of the stores in Grand Cayman had "Navigator Cruise Welcome" signs with rainbow flags on them. I did not see any of the "no gays allowed" signs I've heard tell of on this (or maybe the Atlantis) message board.
When we walked by the churches no one said anything to us or even glared at us. I got to read the signs as we walked by and they quoted Leviticus (how original) and said "homosexuals not welcome". Quite tame compared to the Fred Phelps group or even "mainstream" "Christians" that I've encountered protesting in the US!
One odd thing, some of the stores we went into were playing odd religious music or music with a moral message that I wasn't quite getting. There was nothing remotely anti-gay, it just seemed like odd music to be playing in a store. I couldn't put my finger on it and the folks I talked about it with that day noticed it too. I guess they were trying to save our souls indirectly or something. Interestingly, those stores didn't have many customers of any kind, gay or straight.
I've also been to Jamaica and, unless you're in a resort that you never leave, it's a scary pit. There is an air of desperation and violence about it and yes, they're violently homophobic. I'd much rather be protested in Grand Cayman than beaten or killed in Jamaica, thanks. And we were told that most of the protesters in Cayman were Jamaican immigrants. I've been to poor countries such as Belize and Dominican Republic and there is a tangible difference. In Belize and D.R. they are making the best of their poverty and lives and striving for better. The Jamaicans seem to have given up and are violently angry about it.
I read some online newstories and editorials from the various Cayman news sites when I got back and they were quite encouraging. One pastor pointed out that he didn't see other Christians protesting straight cruise ships and they were full of drunkards, fornicators, and adulterers. Good point!
Anyway, when we left a lovely Jamaican sounding woman was sitting at the entrance telling us goodbye, and to ignore the anger of the protesters, and to remember that God loves everyone. I'm a committed atheist so it doesn't matter to me either way, I just wish that Guy's followers would mind their own "souls" and show their faith by leaving my punishment to their God.
Finally, I'd say I wouldn't ever go to Jamaica again because I don't think our presence there is safe, nor will it do any good (we'll never make any changes with people there). I think it's a good idea to go to Grand Cayman because I think the vast majority of people there can be swayed by seeing us there and see that we're just like everybody else in the way we behave. Our visit was positive for them in opening their minds.
2006 ATLANTIS, RCCL, Navigator of the Seas
2005 Costa, Mediterranea
2004 Carnival, Imagination
2003 Carnival, Imagination