Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Cruising and civil partnerships: OK now as Bermuda law changes

Transport operators - P&O Cruises, Cunard and possibly Princess Cruises - are now marketing to couples with pink pounds to spare.
This is quite an ironic twist from the 1950s-80s when gay, bi and trans male crew sailed as a way to join floating queer heavens and to live in out-and-proud communities despite the illegality.
There were 'queer weddings' on board then too - and queer divorce ceremonies. They took place below sea level in the rowdy crew bar and of course had no legal standing. Such occasions of carnivalesque misrule happened at a time when legalised same-sex marriages were unthinkable, a fantasy that could never be in reality. However same-sex couples who'd met on board sometimes stayed together for life,when their seafaring days ended.

Camp crew weddings in the mid-20th century were mock-playful, involving a lot of dragging up and drinking. To my knowledge no captain officiated, just a friend with his collar on back-to-front.
Putting on fancy dress, 'becoming' someone other, and having celebratory events was a very normal way of passing a long voyage, for people of every sexual orientation.

The article below shows how times have changed.

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"P&O becomes first British cruise line to offer same-sex marriages at sea, by Soo Kim, travel writer
The Telegraph, 1 August 2017


"Marriages at sea on board P&O's seven Bermuda-registered ships, and all three of Cunard's ships, will be open to same sex couples CREDIT: AP

"P&O Cruises, part of the American-British cruise company Carnival Corporation, is the first cruise line in the UK to be able to conduct same sex weddings at sea....
"The first ceremony [will] be held in the Caribbean next January [2018.
"This P&O civil partnership ceremony will be] followed by Carnival’s Cunard cruise line, which will offer same sex marriages from November 2018.

BERMUDA LAW

"The new offering follows a landmark ruling earlier this year that legalised same sex marriages in Bermuda. [This is] where seven of P&O’s eight ships (apart from the Britannia, which is registered in Southampton), and all three of Cunard's ships are registered.
"The first same sex wedding at sea will take place on board P&O’s Azura ship, which is registered in Hamilton, Bermuda.
"Wedding packages for P&O cruise ships are available from £1,200... Packages for Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 are offered from around £2,570 and from £2,117 for weddings on board Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, which earlier this year received a £34 million refurbishment.
"The ceremonies will be carried out by the ship’s captain... The marriage licenses will be issued by the government of Bermuda.


PRINCESS CRUISES


"Princess Cruises, which also operates under Carnival, is also reportedly planning to offer same sex marriages across its 13 ships registered in Bermuda, according to Cruise Critic, but has yet to reveal when.
"We are currently working on developing a range of services and amenities to meet the needs of same sex couple ceremonies and will release full information on these shortly," the company said in a statement.
“'This is very welcome news for us and I am delighted that we have become one of the first British cruise lines to take a booking for a same-sex wedding. We look forward to welcoming this couple and many other couples too,' Simon Palethorpe, senior vice president of Cunard, stated.
“'Weddings at sea are very romantic and getting married by the captain in the middle of the ocean is an unforgettable experience,' Paul Ludlow, senior vice president of P&O Cruises, said.

LEGAL CHANGES

"It has been more than three years since Britain legalised same sex marriages in 2014, when gay couples from Brighton, Halifax and London tied the knot for the very first time on March 29 that year. They were closely followed by hundreds more couples in England. Later the same year Scotland followed suit by introducing new legislation."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/p-o-cunard-first-uk-cruise-line-to-offer-same-sex-marriages/

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