Monday, May 28, 2018

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas
I have a 7 day cruise coming up the end of June on Royal Caribbean's "Allure of the Seas".  I am so excited! I live within an hours drive of Fort Lauderdale's, Port Everglades and have never taken a cruise. Shame on me. Starting on one of the world's largest passenger ship in service, will be a thrill; 362.12 meters (1,188.1 ft). The ship features a two-deck dance hall, a theater with 1,380 seats, an ice skating rink/show, 7 distinct "neighborhoods", 25 dining options and has a capacity of 5492 passengers. The Allure of the Seas is a floating city with many options and things to do. Quite the first cruise.  

I plan on boarding in a reasonable facsimile of Rhonda and then being/remaining Rhonda for the duration of the cruise; including pool time, ship exploring, and the "formal dining evenings".  Oh darn - "must go shopping."  Recently I experienced extended holidays in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Southern California Wine Country and I go/do everywhere here at home.  I never have airline or TSA difficulties and only one minor passport question; "is that really you?" 

I have a question and seek the help of my loyal readers - Likely someone has done this and will have suggestions. This trip may present challenges in that it is cashless and utilizes pay (ID) cards, that bill back to your account. Settlement occurs at the end of the cruise. All activities and meals will utilize this ID. I have already uploaded Rhonda's photo that will be part of the ID. After boarding, I plan on requesting an ID update with a name and/or at least a nick-name, that will match my presentation thus eliminating some confusion.    

Does anyone have suggestions?  I found only one meaningful post on the independent Cruise Critic blog. Work is also being done with the travel agent and she is checking into options.  I have about 4 weeks to work out these details.              

Suggestion will be appreciated so please comment. I promise to post lots of photos and chronicle this potential marvelous ESCAPE.  


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  2. Rhonda -

    I have traveled en-femme on cruise ships 4 times: 3 times on NCL, and 1 time on Princess. For the most part, I had no problems with my ID, save when dealing with US Customs or some snarky US based security guard. But I was able to leave ALL my male clothing at home, and travel in a comfortable dress while in the Caribbean or when going to Canada.

    On my first trip (Princess out of NYC to Canada and back), I had some strange looks from a security guard manning the line to process our boarding documents (he mumbled something in front of my friend, and she told him off). But the lady who checked us in complimented me on my nails - my polish was perfect. On our return to NYC, I had to drop my voice into a male pitch when the customs agent was confused, saying "Yes, that's me." And he told me to move on....

    The second trip (on NYC, out of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal) was uneventful, save two items of note. The first was a US agent at St. Thomas who said I should get a new picture on my passport, as it looked nothing like how I was presenting - he was friendly. However, on my return to NYC, I was selected for special inspection - as if they wanted to hassle me for a non standard presentation.

    Other than that, I had few issues. I'd have liked for the cruise line to use my familiar name instead of my formal name. (Think of Pat for Patrick, Chris for Christopher, etc.) And for some reason, this never gets done., (I'd like to find out how to do it on both Princess and NCL.) I'd still have to present my passport with my male name. But that is only needed getting back on the ship in some ports, or when leaving the ship for the last time.

    Please let me know what your travel agent does.... I may request something similar the next time I cruise.

    However, be careful. Research your ports carefully, as many Caribbean islands look at LGBTIQ individuals strangely (at best). I've gone on shore on St Thomas and on St. Maarten, but did not venture far. If your presentation isn't spot on perfect, weigh your risks carefully.


    PS: If you want to discuss this more, just drop me a line via my blog.... crossingts.blogspot.com