Largest naked cruise in history set to sail

‘Ladies and gentlemen, we are now in international waters. Please feel free to disrobe’

by Alan Parker

Sometime in the late afternoon on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 — an hour or so after the cruise ship Carnival Freedom leaves its home port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida — the ship’s captain will make an announcement on the ship’s public address system.

The captain’s message will go something like this:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are now in international waters. Please feel free to disrobe.”

And with that, approximately 3,000 passengers aboard the Carnival Freedom will doff duds and begin eight days of the largest naked cruise vacation in the history of the world.

Not that nude cruising is something new. It’s been going on — with increasing success — for more than two decades. Like every other niche in the increasingly diverse cruise market — from cinephiles to wine connoisseurs to cougar dating to heavy metal fans — nude cruising gives a particular community the opportunity to mingle with like-minded individuals while enjoying a vacation at sea.

At the centre of this seaborne naked universe is a charming, elegant grandmother  — a former banker — who discovered the pleasure and freedom of nudism in the 1980s. And who, with her lawyer husband, decided there was a significant void in the vacation options available to dedicated nudists — and decided to fill it.

Thus was born Bare Necessities Tour & Travel.

Nancy and Tom Tiemann started their Austin, Texas-based company in 1990 but it took two years to work through all the complications of getting their first full-ship nude cruise charter to sea with 560 passengers aboard.

Since then the Tiemanns have organized more than 50 clothing-free cruises in waters everywhere from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, from the Mediterranean to Alaska (that cruise was booked for the warmest week of the year and the pool area was enclosed).

Who goes on a nude cruise vacation?

Well, people who like to walk around in public without clothes on, obviously. And people who can afford an upscale vacation. But apart from the general nakedness, Bare Necessities clients seem to be quite … ordinary.

“Our demographics are very similar to a regular cruise,” Nancy Tiemann said.

Which means a little older and a little more affluent than the average vacationer. But the nudity also means they’re more unconventional and, according to Tiemann, just plain friendlier.

“Social nudism is a real equalizer. When you’re in a social setting without clothing, it sort of takes away the social class and the barriers that we put up with clothing,” she said.

A minor controversy erupted a few years ago when a San Francisco newspaper quoted Nancy Tiemann saying a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada was among her clients. Ottawa was abuzz with speculation about which of the country’s top jurists was buff-inclined.

Tiemann, with more than a hint of annoyance in her voice, now says the speculation was pointless because she had been misquoted in the article.

“I would never talk personally about any of our clients,” she said. “I was talking hypothetically about the wide range of people who are nudists and enjoy our cruises — from plumbers to Supreme Court justices, I think I said, completely hypothetically — and the reporter turned it into something it wasn’t.”

Still, one wonders … and Canadians do make up about 10 per cent of Bare Necessities’ clientele.

The Carnival Freedom is being dubbed the Big Nude Boat for its February cruise but it’s not the Love Boat. At least it’s not the Swingers Boat. Tiemann said about 80 per cent of her passengers are “committed couples” so there’s no more (and probably no less) shipboard romance on a nude cruise than on any other cruise.

There are a few unique aspects to social etiquette on a ship full of naked people, however.

Towels are a big part of it. A very big part of it.

“We always sit on towels, whether we’re in our rooms or out in public,” Tiemann said. “But there are always plenty of deck towels available.”

Passengers must be dressed in port and in the ship’s formal dining room — but the ship’s various casual restaurants, bars, casino, karaoke and other public areas are all clothing optional. And “formal attire” on a nude cruise can mean halter top, shorts and flip-flops.

A tip sheet for passengers on Bare Necessities cruises has this reminder regarding decorum and attire: “Lingerie is not considered appropriate dining room attire and fetish wear, including excessive genital jewelry, is not appropriate at any time.”

“Excessive” is not defined, so a tasteful pearl set might — or might not — be considered appropriate.

Nancy Tiemann has this observation for prospective male clients worried about being embarrassed by an accidental arousal while strolling the lido deck: “You know, in 21 years of producing two or three cruise ship charters a year, I have never once seen a man succumb to his worse fear — a public erection. Does that say something about the fantasy of social nudity and its reality? Perhaps.”

Although Bare Necessities cruises are not floating orgies, they are adult-only. The company’s first few ventures were all-ages cruises, but so few children were booked that the Tiemanns decided the special programmes and amenities put in place just for children didn’t make economic sense in what was already a niche cruising market.

Like most of Bare Necessities’ cruises, every cabin on the Big Nude Boat will likely be occupied by the time the Carnival Freedom leaves port. A nude cruise of French Polynesia in April has been fully booked for months. A June cruise of the Baltic aboard a four-masted luxury clipper ship has a couple of cabins still available. But then the Baltic can be a little cool in the evenings even in June — if you aren’t wearing clothes.

The record-setting Big Nude Boat cruise which sails from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday will reach the Panama Canal on Valentine’s Day with stops at ports in Mexico and Costa Rica before returning to Florida on Sunday morning, Feb. 17.

When the 3,000 passengers disembark from the Carnival Freedom that Sunday, they will be indistinguishable from every other vacationer in South Florida except in two regards — the top-to-bottom, 360-degree tans they’re sporting and the knowledge that they have just made a bit of history as part of the biggest gathering of naked people ever to assemble on one cruise ship.

It’s enough to give one goosebumps — all over.




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Largest naked cruise in history set to sail

  1. Despite the “every body is beautiful” krap filling the media, most of us, past the age of 30, and there are exceptions I grant, are not all that pleasant to look upon naked. Don’t expect to find them in senior fold-outs in Penthouse.
    I’m all for nude sunbathing, within reason, on a secluded beach.
    As for this cruise, to be frank, there would be fecal coli-forms on every surface, a definite whiff in the air, and believe it or not being surrounded by naked human bodies in all their wondrous glory is anything but erotic. Much better to keep the surprises to the cabin, after last drinks. A shower and the lights dimmed. Keep the noise down.

    In my generation we were, for the most part, naked with one or a very few select others, in private, and did not trumpet our proclivities, whatever they were, to the general media.

    And, as Red Green so eloquently put it, after forty, all men should wear shirts, otherwise, it just frightens the old ladies and confuses the babies.

    • OBVIOUSLY, Bill, you are uneducated and not interested in learning about what we do. #1 on the list of etiquette is to NEVER sit down without first placing your OWN towel on the surface first. Clothing is much more erotic than pure nudity. I see you are one of the neanderthal who still think nudity = sex. You are missing out on SO much in life. I feel sorry for you.

      • Towel etiquette was covered in the article, so Bill couldn’t even be bothered to read the article he commented on.

  2. Erotic did you say?? Well the last time (which was yesterday) that I was surrounded by may au natural people, the last thing on every one’s mind was erotic..If you want the penthouse foldouts.. buy yourself a magazine. We actually have real conversations while looking each other in the eye as opposed perhaps those very provokativly dressed persons with one purpose in mind. Our friendships grow to be strong and long lasting. Your three or “few select” others probably they would soon forget you! Don’t put this into a generation issue it is more of a self confidence/awareness issue. When you speak of cleanliness, those who are unclothed, in my experience, have more respect and are more diligent about personal hygiene that the “others”.. Before you judge stop and think..
    I have Never trumpetted anything.. my closing remarks may be; Red Green is not so worried about shirts and more about duct tape.. at this point my friend, I have found another use for it. “To silence your ignorance about a life that does not judge other yet embraces their inner beauty”

    • Righteous indignation coming from naked people is always funny.
      But you can have the last word.
      Don’t forget to wash your hands.

  3. I think story is the solution for the story seeking ideas for Canada’s Parliament. A nude Parliament. Maybe start with the Senate, as their television rules are different.

    • Was a bit cold last night but great this morning……

  4. what if you’ve had a double mastectomy?

    • Fight it the whole way. Trust me when I say that the people you would meet will join you in your fight while looking you in the eye. Some may ask out of concern about your journey but will see past your scars and you will find friendships that are not superfiscial

    • So what.. we all have the scars of life. We don’t judge people on their body appearance. It’s your personality that shines through.

  5. Hope they ‘clean up’ and disinfect all areas of the ship . . . chairs included – Yuck!

    • Grow up and educate yourself, before posting stupid statements.

  6. I wish I had been on that cruise… Maybe next time. I’ve been a life-long naturist. Born this way, actually. :) If you think nudists are only out to see others nude, you are WRONG. WE are doing this, for our own personal reasons… to feel the the air and sun on our skin, which is the largest organ of the body. It helps with Depression and supplies more Vitamin D than tablets that can upset your liver.

  7. I take great offense at your offer of “View in clean reading mode”… are you suggesting naturists are unclean, that there is something WRONG with us? Please explain.

  8. Those who don’t understand naturists never will. I’m not fond of race tracks but who cares, there are plenty of people who do and they should enjoy. Life is short, show every respect for others and do what makes life worth living, with out judgment. A cruise like this sounds great … just gotta’ find the time. Work is a 4 letter word. Cheers and May God Bless. !

  9. I think it is about time that there are nude cruises avaliable. Also there should be more nude beaches and walking trails should be made available as well.

    • I agree with you________________________asbes

  10. The Captain never made any announcements when we could disrobe. The Cruise Director sure made announcements when it was time to get dressed approaching ports, though.

  11. This isn’t the largest clothing optional cruise in the world, that title goes to Couples Cruise and their 3,600 passenger Freedom of the Seas (on Royal Caribbean).

  12. My Hubby and I were on this cruise, our 5th nude cruise, with another one scheduled in FEB 14. Most enjoyable, great time with good firends, and the food was terrific. Pleanty to do and enjoy or just to do nothing and enjoy. Out best nude cruise was to Alaska, would go again in a heart beat. We have met so many nice and firendly people on these cruises, and have often said that nudists are more friendly and out going than on a textile clruise. Life is tooooooo short not have some fun and enjoy the things that make it worth our time.

  13. nasty looking blue heads with there ballzs down to there knees

  14. What if Rob Ford and his bro shows up?

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