Carnival Cruise Lines has changed course and will now allow passengers on a Dec. 2 sailing of Carnival Glory to dress in drag.
The cruise includes a large group booked by a gay travel agency in Sarasota, Fla., for a Drag Stars at Sea cruise.
Several celebrated drag queens are scheduled to perform for the group in the main theater. On Monday, Carnival told the group that only entertainers would be permitted to dress in drag, and that passengers who dressed up would be summarily disembarked.
In an e-mail, Carnival's vice president for guest services, Vicky Rey, had told group members that Carnival attracts a number of families with children.
"Although we realize this group consists solely of adults, we nonetheless expect all guests to recognize that minors are onboard and refrain from engaging in inappropriate conduct in public places," the message said.
The note set off a flurry of negative comments on social media and Internet forums after being posted by group members.
On Tuesday, Carnival President Gerry Cahill said Carnival had reconsidered.
"When the group was presented to us, we were advised that only the performers would be dressed in drag during the private events," Cahill wrote in a letter to passengers. "However, we are now aware that this was not clearly communicated to members of the group and therefore anyone who wishes to dress in drag may do so."
Cahill said that passengers on the Dec. 2 cruise will be allowed to cancel for any reason and get a full refund.
Al Ferguson, partner in AlandChuck.travel, said in a Facebook posting Tuesday that Carnival supports the gay community.
"Please understand that this cruise could not even be happening on the Glory if Carnival was not an ally of our segment of society," the posting said.Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter at tstravelweekly.