Carnival Cruise Hairy-Body Contest Goes Awry for Orlando's Kurt Gies

Your average Carnival cruise offers plenty of entertainment options. You can stuff yourself full of deli meats and warmed-over pasta at the buffet. You can swim in a chlorinated pool in the middle of an ocean. You can pretend to like shuffleboard. Or, like Orlando resident Kurt Gies, you can strut your stuff in a contest to find the hairiest man on the boat.

Unfortunately for Gies, his turn on the catwalk didn't win him fame, riches, or even the appreciation of his fellow hirsute contestants. Instead, he claims, he got severe burns on his feet courtesy of the sun-baked surface of the Lido Pool Deck. He's now sued Carnival Cruise Lines for injuries, pain, and mental anguish related to the hoof-scorching.

"He burned his feet and got a severe infection, and the treatment wasn't appropriate either," says Gregory Glasser, who is representing Gies.

Mike Gorman

Carnival's public relations department has its doubts about Gies's claims. "Based on video of the contest... several guests, including the plaintiff, were barefoot and do not exhibit any signs of distress during the video," Carnival's Vance Gulliksen writes in an email. "Further, there is no record of any guest reporting to the ship's medical center with burns to his or her feet."

Gies says his trouble began September 26, 2011, one day into a cruise on the Legend, which sailed out of Tampa. That's when he decided to take part in the boat's hairy-man competition.

For the uninitiated, the contest is half fashion show, half amateur striptease. Judging from the disturbing number of contests uploaded to You Tube, between three to six guys who resemble Larry the Cable Guy square off with their best dance moves in front of a mortified judges' panel. Music by Baha Men blares in the background. The winner gets the satisfaction of being recognized as having no shame and a lot of body hair. The losers' prize is identical.

Gies was in it to win it. But then his bare feet made contact with the boat's deck, and agony set in, he says. His lawsuit alleges that Carnival employees initially laid towels on the deck and then, for some reason, removed them before the contest.

The combination of hairless foot soles and roasting deck surface led to nasty burns, as well as "serious and permanent scarring, disfigurement, and embarrassment," Gies claims.

Gies is seeking damages and coverage of his medical costs. He also claims he "lost the value of his cruise vacation." But didn't that part go overboard when he peeled off his shirt to the cries of a thousand slightly drunk Midwesterners?

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Uncle Bill, are you serious? What alternate universe do you live in?   I take it Mr. Gies is a grown man, not a child, and therefore responsible for his own actions.  He made the decision to participate in this contest, no one forced him.  You mean to tell me he didn't have sense enough to know that anything sitting in the sun is going to be hot?  Did he not feel the heat from the deck on his feet?  Why didn't he put on some shoes?  BTW hosing down the deck makes it cooler but slippery.  I'll take hot and wear flip flops.  Mr. Gies is an idiot and if he wins this case, I'll know the courts are full of idiots too!


Jon, Have you ever been on a cruise? People go to have fun and rely on the experience of the crew to keep them safe. A cruise is much more than deli meats and warmed over pasta like you find on your rain date at your trailer park picnics, but I guess that is the best you can imagine of luxury based upon your life experiences. Admiralty law requires the Captain and his designates to be fully responsible for the safety and comfort of the passengers and crew. Any experienced crew who has been in the Caribbean before knows how hot a deck can get.  Carnival uses passengers to entertain the other passengers and as a defacto employer making money from this "entertainment" should be responsible for predictable dangers and failure to act in a responsible supervisory manner.  IF Mr. Gies was drinking, Carnival is even more responsible knowing that that activity impairs reasonable thought and deadens pain receptors. Something I am certain Carnival encourages to make a better show and more profit. Is it a silly contest? YES. Is the entire experience of a cruise to have fun and do things you normally would not do?  YES. A simple hosing of the deck could have prevented the entire incident.  ONE concerned, attentive, thinking staff member ...

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