Today, Royal Caribbean's newest mega-ship, the Allure of the Seas, sails from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale on its first charter with 5,400 gay and lesbian passengers. The cruise is sponsored by Atlantis Events which is billing the event as the "world's largest gay cruise."
The Allure will port in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten during the one week cruise. This is the 20th anniversary for the Atlantis travel company which specializes in all-gay vacations.
The Atlantis cruises have not been without controversy. One year ago, a 37 year old passenger aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas died during an Atlantis sponsored cruise.
In October 2009, we reported on the death of another passenger aboard a Royal Caribbean - Atlantis cruise. Spencer Yu, an attorney for Warner Brothers and a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ("GLAAD"), died on the Mariner of the Seas. There is speculation that Mr. Yu, also a young man of only 46 years, may have died of a drug overdose during the cruise. After this ill fated cruise, passengers contacted our office complaining about the inexperience and confusion of the Royal Caribbean medical staff in responding to Mr. Yu's medical emergency.
Cruise ships are not the place to have a medical emergency, whether you are gay, lesbian, transgendered, or straight. Cruise ships are often characterized by the questionable experience and training of the shipboard doctors and staff and the limited nature of the cruise ship's medical facilities.
Is the Allure of the Seas, the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship in the world, equipped to handle medical emergencies which occur during Atlantis parties? Does Atlantis discuss the use of drugs and the foreseeable risk of a drug overdose with the cruise line to make certain that there are properly trained medical personnel to respond to emergencies?
January 11, 2011 Update: Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas - plus a half dozen drug overdoses.