The Human Rights Campaign Foundation recently released its 2016 Corporate Equality Index, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) received a 100 rating. It is the second year in a row that the cruise company received a perfect score.
Launched in 2002, HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is America’s premiere benchmarking tool for LGBT workplace equality. The 2016 CEI, for the first time in its 14-year history, required that top-scoring companies have a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. HRC raised the bar for a perfect score in the 2016 report to acknowledge the global scope of CEI-rated companies, and the imperative for fully-inclusive employee policies across operations worldwide.
RCCL is the world’s second largest cruise company. It owns six brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, these brands operate a combined total of 42 ships globally with a selection of itineraries that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents.
RCCL’s treatment of its LGBT passengers was recently brought into question when accusations of homophobia were made following the death of a gay passenger aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas. Those claims have not been proven, and MeetMeOnBoard, an online community for LGBT cruise enthusiasts, this week published the following statement from the cruise company:
“The Broward Sheriff’s Office determined that this case was a suicide following a domestic disturbance.
Our security officers and crew acted in a professional and respectful manner throughout this incident – as they did during the entire journey of these guests.
The attorney’s disproven claims that our security staff had any culpability in this tragedy are shameful and offensive, particularly when our crew members put their own lives at risk trying to save the guest after he jumped from his balcony.
We stand by the professionalism of all the men and women of our crew, and thank them for their heroic efforts.”
The unfortunate death came just days after Royal Caribbean International released a new promotional video for its wedding services. Posted to the cruise line’s YouTube page, the video is inclusive of same-sex couples and features a male couple kissing. In September, Celebrity Cruises released an updated marketing video that also features same-sex couples. Celebrity has been voted “Best Large Ship Cruise Line” three consecutive years in the LGBT CRUIZIE Awards, presented by MeetMeOnBoard.
As another testament to RCCL’s LGBT-friendliness, Atlantis Events, the world’s largest producer of gay and lesbian cruises and resort vacations, is partnering with the cruise company for four of its six cruises in 2016. The schedule includes a cruise from New York to the Caribbean aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas, May 21 to 28.