The newspaper reports that a female passenger on Carnival Glory's March 10 cruise filed a post-voyage complaint with the cruise line about harassment by a group of Naval Academy Midshipmen.
It is also alleged that among other alcohol-fueled antics, the Midshipmen were buying drinks for female passengers who were below the legal age.
Phlydude, a Cruise Critic member, chronicled his trip on the very same cruise and noted in one of a series of posts that "there was a group of boys from the Naval Academy ... let's just say that if there was a commanding officer with them, they would be discharged. We gave them the nickname of 'puss n boots.' One of them liked to walk around in a Speedo with cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. They were being very loose with their hands when talking with the ladies as well."
The Naval Academy, in an effort to provide damage control, issued a statement that said it is "reviewing allegations of possible misconduct involving midshipmen aboard a cruise ship during spring break. When alleged incidents of misconduct occur, they are taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and appropriate action is taken."
Beyond the fact that the female passenger has filed a harassment complaint, what's causing problems for the Naval Academy is the fact that Midshipmen are, according to the statement, "expected to abide by the Academy's clear standards regarding appropriate behavior both in and out of uniform."
The Annapolis, Maryland-based academy has been under fire of late, according to the New York Times report, with accusations of sexual misconduct by Midshipmen; Vice Admiral Rodney P. Rempt, its superintendent, has taken steps to curb improper behavior in and out of uniform. In fact, a new program to stress proper dating behavior will begin this fall; all 4,000 Midshipmen will be required to attend.
Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told Cruise Critic that "In an instance where we receive a complaint regarding disruptive behavior onboard a ship, the vessel's security management is notified and the matter is promptly addressed. Actions can range from giving guests a verbal warning to removing them from the ship in the next port of call. It does appear that there were some guest complaints during the voyage in question regarding disruptive behavior of other guests."
Adds De La Cruz, "I am not in a position to confirm whether or not the individuals accused of disruptive behavior were members of the U.S. Naval Academy. To our knowledge, no one at Carnival has been contacted by the U.S. Naval Academy."
She also notes that security issues registered with the purser's office onboard during the voyage "did not relate to the allegations made by the woman who wrote the letter to the Naval Academy. Complaints we got pertained to disruptive noise/behavior in the cabin and corridor." Indeed, the passenger who filed the complaint did not do so until after the voyage ended.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor