Source AP ©

Cruise for gay and lesbian families leaves Bermuda out

Because of possible protests by church groups in the British island territory, a summer cruise for gay and lesbian families organized by Rosie O'Donnell has cut Bermuda from its planned itinerary.

O'Donnell's charter company said it wanted to avoid the type of protests that greeted passengers when one of its cruises stopped in Nassau, Bahamas, in 2004.

The tour is scheduled to leave New York in July on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. But the charter company, R Family Vacations, said on its Web site that it would replace the Bermuda stop with two other ports of call in Florida. It will also stop at a private island in the Bahamas.

In the statement, the company said Bermuda's prime minister had assured them they would be welcome as tourists and they had also received hundreds of supportive e-mails from people who live in the wealthy British enclave.

Still, organizers felt they could not be certain there would be no protesters in Bermuda, according to the statement signed by company founders Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli O'Donnell, the partner of the talk show host.

"We feel that our cruise would be more enjoyable with an alternate itinerary to ports where we know we are welcome by everyone," it read.

Kaminsky said in a telephone interview that he expects the cruise will be sold out, with about 2,000 passengers. "We have no hard feelings against Bermuda. It's just a few church groups," he said.

In 2004, about 100 protesters chanting anti-gay slogans met one of the company's cruises when it arrived in Nassau, Bahamas with about 1,150 passengers.

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