Obscenities and ethnic slurs fly on Queen Mary 2, get passengers ejected

Gloria Sher and her husband, Frederick Evans, believe they were defending themselves. And, let’s assume they are old enough to know what that means. She’s 82 years old, a spring chicken compared to her 91-year-old husband. Well, the elderly pair was thrown off the Queen Mary 2 over a verbal brawl that they say was kicked off by another passenger who made an anti-Semitic comment at a black-tie dinner.

Their five-week, $20,000 cruise almost came to an early end at a port in Quebec, which is where the ship was ready to drop them, banished for foul language. Other passengers came to the couple’s defense, however, and the pair was permitted to stay on board for another six days, though under house-arrest conditions. Sher and Evans weren’t allowed to leave their cabin – and their alcohol was confiscated.

So, what happened?”Minutes into their meal” at the black-tie event, Sher tells the New York Post, one of the people at his table told him to shut up before saying, “There are too many Jews on board.” Sher dropped the F-bomb in reply and went back to her room.

The ship’s captain took the side of the alleged anti-Semite, and told Sher she’d have to “leave the ship,” according to the New York Post, without even listening to his side of the story. The couple even knew the captain from previous trips – an inside connection that got them nowhere.

But, Sher may not be an angel, the New York Post continues:

But one passenger told The Post that the couple was at least partly to blame. Sher tends to get belligerent when drinking, the passenger said, recalling that she went on a rant one night because a lounge’s piano was closed.

Ultimately, they were able to stay on board, with occasional trips out of their room, until the ship got back to New York. The Cunard cruise line only offered a refund of $839 and said in a statement: “The Cunard cruise line — which would refund the couple only $839 — said in a statement that “Sir Evans and Lady Sher engaged in multiple incidences of disrespectful and disruptive behavior towards crew members and other guests.” The company supports the captain’s decision.

[photo by Dawn Endico via Flickr]

Cruise line worker accused of using inside information to burglarize passengers homes

A vacation planner for Royal Caribbean has been arrested and charged with breaking in to the homes of 20 South Florida cruise line passengers.

Bethsaida Sandoval allegedly used the internal computer systems at Royal Caribbean to pick passengers who were on a ship, and determine which homes to burglarize. She then passed the information on to her husband.

The two would then check the homes for alarm systems, and break in, stealing jewelry, flat screen TV’s, sports memorabilia, video games, handbags and “pretty much anything that was small enough to put in pillow cases”.

Sandoval has a history of crime, and chances are she won’t be out in public committing any new crimes for a couple of years.

There is not much you can do to protect yourself against inside jobs like this, but it doesn’t hurt to start with some basic protection like an alarm system. Another option is to provide the address of a mail box to the cruise line instead of your home address.

Carnival says “no way” to cougar cruises

Back in September, Tom wrote about the first “cougar cruise”. For those out of the loop – Tom describes a cougar as “an older women who happens to enjoy the … ummmm … “company” of younger men.”

The cruise was on board the Carnival Elation and obviously the story made quite a bit of news. So much news in fact, that Carnival has now told the organizers behind the cruise that they are no longer welcome on their ships.

Someone from Carnival issued the following statement: “This theme group was not sponsored nor organised by Carnival but rather by a travel agent and the cruise line will not be allowing any future groups to be booked and marketed under this theme.”

I find this statement to be pretty dangerous – what grounds does the cruise line have to ban this “theme”. What is next? A ban on gay single groups? Older men and women? I’m not entirely sure why older women seeking a “cub” (the name given to the younger men) would force the cruise line to tell them to go elsewhere. The cruise was described as a huge success, so I can only assume Carnival either hates its guests having a good time, or they are making so much money, that they feel they can decide what kind of guests are welcome on their ships.

Still, the organizers has no problems finding other cruise lines who had no problem with the concept, and the second and third cruises have already been scheduled (on Royal Caribbean and NCL).

Incontinent and impotent after fall in cruise ship spa is worth $9.5 million

In 2006, British Fitness instructor Danny Simpson slipped on the wet floor of the spa on board the Norwegian Cruise line’s “Norwegian Crown”. Mr. Simpson was employed by Steiner Transocean, responsible for operating the spa facilities on the cruise line.

When he fell, he suffered a back injury that made him impotent and incontinent. And apparently, that kind of suffering is worth $9.5 million. The defendant is obviously not content with the ruling, and has already filed papers seeking a new trial, or a reduction of the award.

Sadly, not much is known about the incident itself – whether the floor was not supposed to be wet, or whether the spa operator failed to ensure wet floors were made slip free. But if a court is willing to award just under ten million Dollars, I suspect someone screwed up enough to warrant that kind of cash.

The damages were awarded to cover his economic losses, medical expenses and future pain and suffering. Nine and a half million Dollars gets you heck of a lot of Viagra and adult diapers.

Hot travel trend for 2010 — naked cruises?

The UK association of travel agents (ABTA) has just released its predictions for 2010 – and they are mostly in line with what everyone else expects.

They see Dubai becoming a hot destination, thanks to massive drops in prices. They also predict that charity and volunteer vacations (voluntourism) will be big.

So far, so good. Then we get to the one that really stands out – naked cruising. Apparently, the tourist industry is going to actively target naturists, and cruise companies will play an important role in attracting new naked customers.

I really don’t know what to make of this, but I’m also not a naturist myself. I can imagine that walking around naked on a cruise ship could be a relaxing thing to do. I just hope they use plastic covers on the seats, as the idea of sitting down for dinner on a dining room seat that was previously used by a fat nude bloke just doesn’t thrill me too much.

A quick Google search shows that none of the major cruise lines have jumped on this naked trend just yet, and I have not heard from any of my cruise PR contacts that they plan to introduce nude cruises. Still, 2010 isn’t here yet, so we may be in for a surprise.

How about you — Would you like to take a naked cruise?