Carnival wins a challenge against Bermuda same-sex marriage ban

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A ban imposed against same-sex marriages on cruise ships registered in Bermuda is being lifted after a successful Carnival Corporation-backed legal challenge on the island

The Supreme Court in the British Overseas Territory yesterday upheld a constitutional challenge against the Domestic Partnership Act, allowing gay couples to once again be able to marry.

Chief justice Ian Kawaley, delivering his judgment, said the sections of the Act which revoked the right to same-sex marriage were invalid because they were inconsistent with provisions in the Constitution which give the right to freedom of conscience and creed.

It came after a court battle fought by gay Bermudians Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson and the gay rights charity OutBermuda, with part funding by Carnival.

The ban, which came into force in February, meant P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises ships registered in Bermuda were prevented from conducting same-sex marriages on board.

Carnival had faced calls for a boycott due to some of its ships being registered in Bermuda.

Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said: “We are delighted that the supreme court of Bermuda has decided that same-sex marriage is legal in Bermuda and we congratulate OutBermuda on its hard-won challenge.

“As a result of the judgment, it will also now be legal for same-sex couples to marry onboard cruise ships registered in the country.

“As a company committed to equality, inclusion and diversity, we believe everyone deserves equal dignity and respect, and we are proud to have provided our support to OutBermuda’s efforts to champion marriage equality.

“We will now be working closely with the Bermudan authorities to understand when we will be able to resume marrying same-sex couples on board.”

The Domestic Partnership Act was passed by Bermuda’s parliament in December, reversing a supreme court ruling from May last year, which enabled gay couples to marry on the island.

The new legislation came into force on Friday, revoking the right of gay couples to marry and offering them – and heterosexual couples – the option of a legally-recognised civil union.

But chief justice Kawaley’s ruling will mean gay couples can wed once more and domestic partnerships will also be available.

The DPA meant Bermuda was the only country in the world to have allowed gay marriage and then revoked that right.

Ferguson then launched a crowdsourced civil case on the grounds that his constitutional rights had been breached.

Jackson and OutBermuda, with partial funding from Carnival Corporation, later filed a separate lawsuit and asked for it to be joined with Ferguson’s case.

However, the Bermuda government has an automatic right to appeal the ruling and it will not go into effect immediately.

The chief justice agreed to an application by solicitor-general Melvyn Douglas to stay the effect of the judgment for six weeks until it decides whether to appeal, meaning the current ban on same-sex marriage will remain in place, according to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette newspaper.


Carnival Rolls Out Enhanced Casino Program

There’s fun for all ages on the new Carnival Horizon.( Photo by Andy Newman courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.)There’s fun for all ages on the new Carnival Horizon. ( Photo by Andy Newman courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.)
High rollers on the high seas now have more to look forward to aboard Carnival Cruise Line.

A refresh of the Carnival Players Club casino program is bringing new offers and experiences to the table. And, the benefits apply ashore, as well.

The program includes a new “Dealer’s Choice” offer with exclusive cruise savings opportunities, complimentary in-casino drinks for qualified guests, and invitation-only Carnival Players Club events.

Carnival has also upgraded several new programs that provide guests with an enhanced cruise and casino experience. Value-added benefits, privileges and exclusive events are based on the level of play. Four different program levels include Getaway, designed for players interested in a short vacation. It’s available on three- to five-day cruises. Guests receive extras such as in-stateroom gifts, priority check-in and luggage delivery, complimentary in-casino drinks for qualified players, and a chance to win up to $10,000 in free play, cash, and prizes.

The Premier level is for more avid players. Premier is available on cruises of six days or longer. Guests receive all the benefits of the Getaway program. Additionally, they receive a complimentary pre-cruise gift, priority debarkation, a special Welcome Aboard party, invitation-only casino tournaments, and a chance at $20,000 in free play, cash, and prizes every cruise.

Loyal players will receive an invitation to the Ultra level. They’ll receive all the benefits of the Premier program, plus a chance to win $100,000 in cash and gifts on board.

The Elite program is reserved for the line’s best players. It provides perks such as complimentary parking or local airport pick-up and drop-off; early stateroom access, complimentary drinks throughout the cruise; a free shore excursion and Wi-Fi; special Welcome Aboard and sail away parties, and VIFP Platinum status for the entire voyage.

“Carnival offers the most enjoyable and rewarding casinos aboard our 26 ships and with our enhanced Carnival Players Club program we’re providing our valued guests with a variety of expanded offers and unique experiences simply based on their level of play,” said Marty Goldman, Carnival’s senior vice president of global casino operations.

Additional enhancements to the program include new branding and logos, plus a new Carnival Players Club web site.

The line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon, was christened in New York a few weeks ago.

Costa Luminosa Wins Carnival Corporation Environmental Award

Costa Luminosa Award Presentation

The Costa Luminosa took home Carnival Corporation’s Environmental Excellence Award, beating the company’s other ships across Carnival’s nine cruise brands.

Carnival asked each brand to enter one ship to be considered for the award, which was based on the best environmental performance during a 2017 audit period.

The 2009-built ship took home the top honours, going beyond compliance and fostering a culture of sustainable business, said Costa, in a statement.

The award was presented to Alberto Sturlese, the Fincantieri-built vessel’s environmental officer.

Costa President Neil Palomba emphasized the importance of the initiative and congratulated all the onboard colleagues for the results achieved in a ceremony, also noting a particularly challenging year focused on the ECP (Environmental Compliance Policy) implementation.