SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A gay and nudist cruise was barred from stopping at the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis (search) on Wednesday after authorities said the group would offend local customs.
A police patrol boat stopped a Windjammer Barefoot Cruises (search) ship carrying 110 passengers on a six-day cruise as it was approaching Charlestown, Nevis, the ship's captain Cornelius Plantefaber said.
Plantefaber said three officers boarded the ship and demanded he accompany them to a meeting onshore that lasted an hour with port authority, police, customs and immigration officials.
The Nevis port authority confirmed that they barred the ship from docking. The ship's name is the S.V. Polynesia (search), a 248-foot four-mast schooner, and most of the passengers aboard are Americans, the captain said.
"We don't want it to be a part of our culture," said acting general manager of the Nevis port authority, Oral Brandy. "It's not a practice society likes here."
Gay cruises, however, have been to the former British colony before and no problems were reported, government spokesman Erasmus Williams said.
The two-island country of 40,000 has a federal government whose capital is in St. Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis is semiautonomous.
"We welcome all visitors," Williams said, speaking for the federal government.