In case you don’t already know, I manage a shop called Ocean Connections Water Sports in West End, Roatan. We are a scuba diving shop primarily, but we also offer the BOSS Underwater Scooter Tour. Yes, underwater scooters. It’s as hilarious as it sounds – both for the participant and for my crew. While driving an underwater scooter, your body looks larger (magnification factor underwater) but your head looks shrunken (bubble effect – we don’t actually shrink heads. Yet.). People make the funniest faces while driving a scooter underwater with their heads inside bubbles. They laugh hysterically, they smile endlessly, and they try to communicate ineffectively. My crew is constantly entertained by this.
All this to say, we offer a really fun experience underwater. We also offer this through several different cruise lines, including Carnival. We offer a fun tour, they proclaim “All for Fun, Fun for All.” Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? So here’s my question…
Oh, Carnival Cruise Lines, why do you insist that we follow a dress code in order to pick up your passengers?
See here’s the thing: we live on an island. We don’t have to be fully clothed to get service. We don’t do “formal attire.” We don’t focus on the latest brands or styles. So, Carnival, demanding that we dress a certain way to pick up your passengers is really kind of like lying to them, isn’t it?
Since our tour has a contract with Carnival Cruise Lines, they sell our tour on-board as a Shore Excursion. It’s great for us, it’s great for their passengers, and it’s fun for me to get paid to talk to big groups of people all day! However, Carnival requires that I wear a polo shirt, khaki shorts, and closed-toe shoes in order to be deemed presentable to their guests.
A polo shirt?!
Clearly the people who made up these rules have never handled the heat and humidity of August in the Caribbean. Me actually wearing flip-flops is often a stretch as I prefer to be barefoot as much as possible. And a polo? I’m sorry…does that have sleeves on it? Who does that?!
You’d think I never left Washington, DC, with its down-to-the-strap detailed rules about shoes, hemlines, and shoulder coverage (Sidenote: the last line of this article is exactly how I used to feel! Shout-out to Clinton Yates‘ Washington Post Lunchline Newsletter for highlighting this appropriately-timed commentary on how silly the dress code can be in DC.).
Anyway, that’s my rant for now. The next time you take a Carnival cruise, take note of all the people holding signs for tours when you disembark. And, hey, throw us a bone and mention that we all look a little uncomfortable and overdressed. Maybe you’ll change their minds and let us go back to our normal island attire. Or maybe not. But at least I’ll know if any of you read my rant!