By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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It's a promising idea, but one that not too many of the girls seem comfortable with. To enter, though, they have to oblige. The guys are clad in pajama pants or boxers and T-shirts, some with adorable slogans like "Don't worry, I pull out."
Heather floats in wearing Hot Topic black-and-hot-pink boy shorts and a hot-pink, sequin-covered Victoria's Secret bra. She's fucked up, having polished off a seventh bar of Xanax and enough liquor to intoxicate a small army, she tells New Times. Xanax — a tranquilizer and prescription drug for anxiety — allows Heather to feel exponentially more drunk on the same amount of alcohol, without the vomiting, she says.
Heather's anything-goes attitude and tiny, hipless frame have guys reaching for their wallets throughout the cruise. She drives them wild. Maybe too wild. What she later refers to as "the bad thing" will soon happen.
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 recalls a week later. "It was just really stupid."
The man, whose appearance she can't recall, brings Heather down some stairs and into a room with mirrors on the walls and a DJ booth. She looks around and thinks, Where the fuck am I?
"Come on, come on, nothing is going to happen," he says.
"I'm stupid and gullible," Heather says, looking back. "If you tell me gullible is on the ceiling, I will look up."
They sit down, and the guy shows her pictures on a laptop computer. They are very good. She writes down her MySpace name in the hopes he will post some there, and she begins to make an exit.
That's when he places a hand on her leg.
Heather says no and stands up.
"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. The girl who seemed so weightless, so free, now looks horrified. She's 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 a guy she was hanging out with — a bodybuilder — will start trouble.
Later she tells her friends, including Volinsky, what happened, but she can't identify or describe her attacker. He has 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.
Heather is angry with Volinsky. "He didn't do anything," she says.
Volinsky denies that. "We had security look into it," he says.
Glen Ryerson, Imperial Majesty's director of marketing, didn't know anything about the claim. "If we thought there was any type of incident, we are obligated to report it to the FBI," he says. "We don't take this stuff lightly ... it's a serious accusation."
In the end, Heather regrets going on the cruise. In addition to the assault, a guy she likes has seen unflattering pictures and refuses to speak to her. "It makes me not want to get fucked up ever again," she says.
Volinsky is 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," he says. "That's why we have security onboard. 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."
The next Ultimate Party Cruise is tentatively scheduled for December 16.