April 18, 2007
Rosie O'Donnell's not "feeling the love."
At least not from Bermuda, whose travel tagline is "feel the love." O'Donnell's R Family Vacations, which organizes land and cruise trips for gay and lesbian families, had planned to visit Bermuda this summer during its charter of Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn. R Family just removed Bermuda from the itinerary because of threatened protests by church groups there that don't welcome gay and lesbian travelers.
While the government attempted to do damage control, saying that R Family's passengers were most welcome, the chance of running into protesters has dissuaded R Family from going. "The Prime Minister of Bermuda personally contacted [us] to let [us] know that he and his government welcome all tourists regardless of sexual orientation or religious affiliation," write company co-chiefs Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli O'Donnell in a statement posted on R Family's Web site.
"We also received hundreds of emails from Bermuda residents welcoming us to their country," Kaminski and O'Donnell note. "However [we] are not 100 percent confident that some protestors would not meet us upon our arrival. While these groups may be the minority voice, we feel our cruise would be more enjoyable with an alternate itinerary to ports where we know we are welcomed by everyone."
The New York-based cruise, a seven-night voyage departing on July 7, will instead call at Port Canaveral, which is close to Orlando and its theme parks, and Key West. The ship will also spend two days at NCL's Great Stirrup Cay, a private island in the Bahamas.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor