Sensitivities Of How Cruisers Dress

Today’s subject is Muscat and, while people who know us may find this hard to believe, it’s not the dessert wine. It’s the city that is capital of Oman, a country on the Arabian Peninsula that is often visited by cruise ships and their passengers, despite the volatility that comes with that part of the world.

As a cruise port, Oman has grown.

Ten years ago, there were about 25 cruise ships that ported in Oman. Today, there are 100 or so. With that kind of triple-digit growth comes economic gain…and cultural Sky-GSK-1-650 copychange.

At a recent conference in Moscow, it was reported that the local shop vendors and owners — who are naturally in direct contact with cruise passengers when they disembark — are disturbed by the way the visitors dress. Especially the female visitors.

Specifically, the locals are upset that the number of people who wear shorts and revealing clothes. European women dress that way in summer, although the same might be said of North American women, and the vendors and shop keepers of Oman feel that it disrespects local customs and that visitors should know there is a dress code.

Hmmm.

Clearly, this is a cultural clash, with valid arguments on both sides. The tourists are on vacation. They have a vacation “dress code” that they take abroad. They either don’t know it offends the Oman people or they don’t care. The locals, on the other hand, are concerned that the visiting dress code might spread and threaten their culture, their values and their beliefs.

Tourists can be insensitive. If you know what local customs are (and many cruisers asked said they did), why would you purposely alienate the country and people who are your hosts? There can be a fine line between respect and disrespect — especially in highly religious countries — and it’s worth finding out when you cross that line, in advance.

On the other hand, you can’t have it both ways, can you? If you want to enjoy the benefits of tourism, you risk having tourism impact your culture. If that’s unacceptable, there’s a simple solution.

Close the port on cruise ships.

In the news…

• Puerto Vallarata cruise port operating at 100% after Hurricane Patricia
• American Cruise Line's new coastal ship to be ready in January 2017

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival changes in beverage policy 


Crown Princess
7 nights
December 12, 2015
Los Angeles (return): Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
Inside: $511
Cost per day: $73
www.princess.com

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