High Seas

Lots of drugs, drinks, and titty fights, but the Climax Cruise ends in clammy anticlimax

A guy who had been taking photos the night before approaches Heather on the dance floor. He tells her she is beautiful and says he has pictures of her that she should see. Then he leads her out of the party.

"I was already in lingerie," she says, recalling the incident a week later. "It was just really stupid."

The man, whose appearance she can't recall, brings Heather down the stairs and into a room with mirrors on the walls and a DJ booth, she says. She looks around and thinks, "Where the fuck am I?"

C. STILES
Photos by Ashley Harrell

He says, "Come on, come on — nothing is going to happen."

"I'm stupid and gullible," Heather says, looking back. "If you tell me gullible is on the ceiling, I will look up."

She remembers there being a laptop computer on which the guy begins to show her pictures. They are very good. She writes down her MySpace name in hopes that he will post some there and begins to make an exit.

That's when he places a hand on her leg, she says.

Heather says "no" and gets up out of her chair. "I didn't like what he was doing," she says. She tries to get to the stairs.

"He pushed himself against me," she says. "He had one of my arms against the wall. His arm was against my arm. He wouldn't let me go."

From there, it gets worse.

"He tried pulling my pants down," Heather says, her voice shaking. "He pulled his pants down. I flipped out. Eventually, I slid my way out of it."

When she arrives back at the lingerie party, friends notice something is wrong, she says. The girl who seemed so weightless, so free, now looks horrified. And she is missing jewelry. In the scuffle, stretchy pink Claire's bracelets broke off Heather's wrist. Her friends ask what happened, but Heather is reluctant to talk about it. She's afraid that the guy she was hanging out with — the bodybuilder — will start trouble. They had shared a bed the night before, and he hadn't even tried anything, she says. He knew what it meant to be a gentleman. That didn't mean he wouldn't throw a scumbag off a ship.

"One, he's Italian. Two, he's a Capricorn. Three, he's from New Jersey," Heather says. "I didn't want to see someone die in the middle of the ocean, which is exactly what would have happened."

She did wind up telling her friends, including Volinsky, what happened to her, but she couldn't identify or describe her attacker. He had disappeared.

"We looked into it, and her story didn't make sense," Volinsky says. "She was very drunk. I'm not saying I don't believe her, but most of the night, she was there at the nightclub."

Heather was also walking around half-naked, flirting with everyone on the cruise, he adds. "There's just no way to know what happened," he says.

In the end, Heather regrets going on the cruise, she says. In addition to the assault, a guy she likes has seen unflattering pictures of her and now refuses to speak to her. "It makes me not want to get fucked up ever again," she says.

As for Volinsky, he's looking forward to making the next party cruise bigger and wilder. Should the alleged assault give pause to other females thinking of coming on board next time?

"Honestly, I'm not concerned," says Volinsky, whose cache of 300 condoms apparently went untouched despite the debauchery of the cruise. "That's why we have security on board. Anything can happen anywhere. As the cruise gets bigger, we will have more security. It will be there. We are there to have safe fun."

Seriously.

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