New York Times accused of ‘homophobia’ over gay cruise boat story

A man stands on the deck of cruise ship

A gay cruise company has described a New York Times story which questioned whether 2,000 gays would be safe on a boat during COVID as “homophobic” and “sensationalised”.

This week a New York Times article was published which looked at the safety of an upcoming cruise by LGBT+ tour operator Atlantis Events, which will carry almost 5,000 passengers.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is carefully monitoring cruise ships as Omicron cases continue to spread.

The story interviewed various prospective gay cruise passengers, with some expressing the desire to sell their tickets for fear of catching COVID, and others looking forward to “dirty dancing, sex, drugs, raves, orgies and sweet, sweet freedom”.

The newspaper also referenced the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship, which LGBT+ cruise company VACAYA has chartered this week for a seven-night Caribbean cruise, and said that prospective Atlantis Events passengers would be “watching closely” to see how the trip panned out.

The New York Times noted that the Millennium, which carries more than 2,000 people, had been flagged by the CDC as having “met the investigation threshold for COVID-19 cases” on board.


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VACAYA has now hit out at the newspaper, calling the article “homophobic”.

VACAYA co-founder and CEO Randle Roper told Seatrade Cruise News: “The venerated Times, whose article quoted several people not even travelling on either cruise, did not live up to the journalistic integrity we expect and was an affront to Atlantis Events, LGBT+ travel companies in general and the gay community.”

Referencing the New York Times’ slogan, he added: “This certainly wasn’t news ‘fit to print’.”

Roper continued: “As we begin to come out of the pandemic, it’s OK to ask questions about how, why and when we’ll return to normal, but the Times completely missed the story here.

“Their decision to focus on errant quotes taken from various social media pages to sensationalize the story was both a misfire and — let’s hope unintentionally — homophobic.

“The focus should have been on the positive steps being taken by travel companies to adapt to live in a new world of testing, screening and exposure reduction through contact tracing, upgraded onboard medical facilities and staff, and improved guest stateroom ventilation.”

Roper said that passengers were vaccinated, most had received a booster, and all were tested.

PinkNews contacted The New York Times for comment.