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.

Atlantis Gay Cruise - Allure of the Seas 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.

Commenters on the gay community blogs Queerty and JoeMyGod bickered about the use of drugs during Atlantis sponsored events. 

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.

  • San

    Cruise ship is a vacation of norovirus, sexual assaults,
    pollution, death, disappearances and so on . . .

    If you really enjoy health and safe vacation be aware
    because my experience of two cruises was bad . . .

    I lost one of my best friends and the family can’t
    recover after so many years . . .

  • Bill

    I’ve been on 13 Atlantis cruises. Friends of mine on ship are reporting one death by falling, multiple people removed at first port for drugs and a several minutes long announcement by the captain about drugs. Amazed RCCL puts up with this

  • Bonnie

    Bill, did someone fall to their death on the Allure of the Seas ship sailing this week to the Caribbean?

  • Carl

    After over a dozen cruises with Atlantis it became very obvious that the Caribbean (January) and Mexican Riviera cruises were, first and foremost, floating circuit parties with all the baggage that came along with it. Drug use has been prevalent for the six years I’ve sailed with Atlantis, though much less so on cruises like the Med, Baltic and Rio where a more mature crowd makes up the majority.

    What is amazing to me is that Atlantis has consistently turned a blind eye to the problem. It is good to see that RCL is actually getting tough – finally.

  • Sam Destin

    They put up with it bc Atlantis writes them a big fat check
    and on board rev is thru the roof. Shameful rccl puts up with this.

  • Abdid

    I went on a land bases Atlantis Event exactly two weeks after I exited rehab fighting drug addiction. One of their cruises probably would’ve been an absolute catastrophe. I don’t recall any recovery meetings, but if there were any such tools I wasn’t aware of them. I’d like to stay sober. And I’m not going to be on vacation with drug dealers. The gay ones are just as bad as straight ones. So, no more Atlantis for me.

  • Dave

    All parties bear responsibility in this – but first and foremost, responsibility lies with the individual. People can’t be so naive or stupid that they don’t realize that these drugs are dangerous and illegal. If you purchase and consume illegal drugs, you are ultimately responsible if you have a medical emergency, die, or get busted.

    Now having said that, Atlantis bears responsibility too. While of course they would never explicitly encourage drug use on their cruises, they do nothing to discourage drug use and their all-night dance parties are certainly fertile grounds for this. They make money when cruises are filled with party animals, and so does the ship.

    I am a satisfied repeat Atlantis customer. I’ve been on five cruises and five land-based resort weeks. I know drug use goes on, but it’s not blatant. As Carl (above) said, it’s the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises that seem to attract more of a circuit-party crowd. I’ve been on cruises to the Mediterranean, Alaska, Hawaii, and Tahiti, and the clientele seems to be a bit more mature and more interested in the destinations than having a big floating drug party.

    But in any case, if that’s why you go and what you are looking for, you’ll find it. If it’s not, you won’t. Which brings me back to individual responsibility and choice.

  • shawn

    While having breakfast, i heard an ALPHA ALPHA ALPHA call. That is Nautical speak for 911. it was on the pool deck, I went to see what was happening and there was a man requiring assistance. There were at least 15 Royal Caribbean Medical staff and security and IMMEDIATELY handle the young man getting him off the lounge chair and into the elevator and down to the medical facility. Once during a party a man fell back and hit his head causing him to have an injury. It was not known if this was drug related as there were so much slippery substances on floor as well as many water bottles beer bottles and many other pieces of things.. the dance floor was to packed it was not possible for RCCL to maintain the areas while the party was going on. I witnessed the immediate response of the medical staff taking him away in a wheel chair. On straight cruises there are many many instances related to alcohol etc namely fights. NO fights were witnessed on this cruise everyone was having a good time for the most part although the ship was probably not suited to this event. The previous ships were better. I and many friends will not do this cruise next year and i have blogged with many. 5400 is a lot to sell.

  • Yarl J.

    Ok, I am a little more than pissed. I had an ok time. Other cruises are better but after 7 cruises this was ibound to happen. I wiil go for a smaller ship I prefer 2000 RSVP or up to 3000. But my friends were on the waiting list, they had plane tickets and stayed close by. If not they would have a vacation in Fl (boring on non gay weekends). Guys we knew with no money suddenly got on the ship. WTF. Sposedly, someone paid cash to You know who. Double paying for a room with cash. Why did the people I knew who got on the ship said to me who got them on and did not mention their lack of money. I wish they would not have said who got them on, well, I do not know what to think.

  • livingandlearning

    Thank you for an informative website. I was on the Presidential Cruise in the Fall of 2016. Although GLBT meetings were advertised on the Notice Board at the Guest Services Desk, on a full ship, people seemed to be family oriented as a whole, respectful, and no noticeable racism which we commonly experienced out of the Port of Galveston, Texas. I am glad to know about the issues with out of control Theme cruises so that I avoid them. Alpha Alpha Alpha is a code on Royal Caribbean means a medical emergency. Several medical emergencies have occurred during the Allure of the Seas Presidential cruise of 2016. Times have changed for cruise ships where the illness on board were limited to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and man-overboard. Today people are living longer and sicker lives because of advanced medical technology. Sick people – and drug addicts are sick – are getting onto ships when in the past, they would have stayed on land. The ships are much larger and holding thousands more passengers with all kinds of illnesses. On land, there are many hospitals, emergency rooms, doctors, and specialists. On a ship, think about 6000 passengers plus a few thousand crew members and all the illnesses they may have and some do not know they are sick. How can one doctor know everything there is to know about everything? I regret the loss of life aboard the Allure of the Seas, but the reality is that the same loss of life occurs on land. Tomorrow is promised to no one. At what point are individuals responsible for their own actions?