Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain towards the end of January 2018 for about a month
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday, 24 March 2005

St Kitts bans gay Windjammer cruise

Yet another Caribbean island decides to kick its own tourist industry in the teeth by preventing a cruise ship carrying, on this voyage a largely gay clientele, from landing on its shores. The S.V. Polynesia, a 248-foot schooner carrying 110 passengers was prevented from disembarking passengers as it approached Charlestown, Nevis. The vessel operates cruises run by Windjammer Barefoot Cruises Ltd, a Miami-based firm. Fair enough - countries set their own rules, but why any gay person should want to visit such a place is curious - until one reads what Randolph Hamilton, an official at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority had to say about the incident:

"We have had gay passengers and cruise ships and there has never been any problem in the past."

- I've also written in the past about the less-than-welcoming reception that gay cruises receive from some Caribbean islands; it seems, sadly, that St Kitts may have to be added to that sorry list.

Curiously enough, some years ago I enjoyed a Caribbean cruise on another of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises Ltd's vessels, the Fantome, among the world's largest four-masted schooners. The cruise I was on was not primarily 'gay', and as usual on Windjammer trips only a very small number of the roughly 110 passengers aboard were not US citizens, three so far as I recall; basically the passengers were fairly young (or young-at-heart) and were probably best-described as middle-class middle-Americans, a mixture of singles and couples, some with their teenage children on board. Tragically, the Fantome was lost (make sure you have the sound switched on for this link) in October 1998, suffering this ill-fate to the fury of Hurricane Mitch.

UPDATE: (Saturday 26MAR05 01.40 GMT) Furious back-pedalling from the St Kitts authorities. How credible are their protestations? Not very, is my assessment!

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