“They were throwing up on the boat, and no one was there to clean it up,” said one employee of the Clear Channel radio group about a “Ships and Salsa” radio promotion April 21. Clear Channel’s 91X heavily promoted the one-day cruise to Rosarito Beach, which featured gambling and alcohol.
When it was over, Ships and Salsa was rechristened as the Vomit Cruise by some who took the voyage.
“It was ten hours of way too much booze and choppy seas,” said the insider.
“People got seasick. People were hurling all over.… Half the people who were throwing up were chain-reaction vomiting. The cruise line just wasn’t prepared to clean it all up.”
“I did hear that some people were getting sick,” said Ken David who promotes Casino Fun Cruises through the Matthews Mark advertising agency. He admitted the cruise line did not have a state-issued license to sell liquor at the time of the Ships and Salsa event. “They are securing the liquor license right now. I understand that requirements changed after they applied, and they had to provide a new set of fingerprints.”
“Was the alcohol given away?” I asked regarding a Ships and Salsa rumor.
“I’ll have to check that for you.”
The state recognizes a three-mile offshore rule that would allow the serving of alcohol if the ship was far enough offshore even without the liquor license. But the issue of overserving could be a much more serious problem.
“If anyone had have left that cruise and got in an accident because they were overserved, they could have sued the radio station and the cruise line and won big time,” said the insider.
Casino Fun Cruises is owned jointly by Florida-based Commodore Cruise lines, the Rosarito Beach Hotel, and Viejas, which operates the gambling operation.
“Too drunk? That can be subjective,” said Jim Fannan, general manager of the Commodore day cruises. “Some people overindulge. I wouldn’t be surprised. Young people will do what young people will do.” He said he suspects some of the guests showed up for the cruise already “in their cups.” Fannan said you needed to be 21 to be served and that no alcohol was given away. He said part of the problem may have been that alcohol was being served at the terminal before the ship departed. “We have no control of that.”
“Most of the guests arrived late,” said Fannan. “The ship was supposed to leave at 6 [p.m.]. It left at 8 [p.m.] and returned at 3 [a.m.]. Most of the guests showed up late. We graciously waited because of the radio promotion.… We learned a lesson. For future promotions, we will manage it a little better.”