Storm Chasers’ star Joel Taylor died of a suspected overdose on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which had been chartered by Atlantis Events, according to TMZ and other websites.

Mr. Taylor was reportedly on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. These tabloids report that passengers on the Royal Caribbean ship stated that “drugs on the party boat were plentiful.”

Law enforcement allegedly told TMZ that “it appears the death could be an overdose and Joel Taylor was consuming controlled substances.”

“Joel had consumed enough GHB on the dance floor Tuesday that he was rendered unconscious andAtlantis Cruises - Haromy of the Seas taken off the dance floor by 2 people and back to his room.”

According to the New York Daily News, “passengers aboard the Harmony of the Seas added that they witnessed Taylor taking drugs, including ecstasy and cocaine.”

This is not the first time that a passenger died allegedly due to drugs aboard a cruise ship chartered by Atlantis Events, which advertises its “unbelievable parties” on cruises with Royal Caribbean.

In 2009, a passenger died after he reportedly took drugs during a cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which had been chartered for the use of Atlantis Events.

In 2010, I wrote the article Another Death on a Royal Caribbean – Atlantis Cruise after a passenger died while aboard the Liberty of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events. There was widespread discussion regarding the use of drugs during Atlantis sponsored events.

In 2011, a passenger was arrested for selling large quantities of ecstasy pills, methamphetamine, ketamine and other drugs aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which had been chartered by Atlantis Events. There were reportedly a half-dozen drug overdoses during the cruise.

A week before that Royal Caribbean/Atlantis cruise, I wrote Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World’s Largest Gay Cruise?  I questioned why Royal Caribbean tolerated the widespread use of drugs during Atlantis Events. I also stated that 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.

The Harmony of the Seas was on a seven day cruise which left Fort Lauderdale on January 20th, sailing to Labadee (Haiti), San Juan (Puerto Rico), and St. Maarten, and then returning to Fort Lauderdale on January 27th. Law enforcement reportedly boarded the cruise ship when it docked in San Juan yesterday.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

February 8, 2018 Update: Quartz A Reality Star’s Death Has Exposed a Dangerous Drug Culture on Party Cruises.

Photo credit: Atlantis Events via Mike Sington twitter page.

  • Dave

    It’s not about the drugs. Why do you need to
    make it about that? Many many many aboard are enjoying ourselves and are not using drugs. It’s a safe place where we can express ourselves to our community without judgement. Atlantis puts on a fabulous cruise and does not condone illegal behavior. Let’s not let one sad event dictate our cruise.

  • Rob

    We quit doing Atlantis because on board, drug use is rampant. At least on Caribbean and Mexican Rivera. It’s joked about by the entertainment, it’s tolerated by Atlantis Events. You can’t get through a night without an alpha, alpha, alpha call. When will CBP do a better job of checking cruise passengers? When will CBP hold Atlantis Events responsible as the host?

  • Dmc

    My question is why does royal Caribbean keep allowing this company to charter its boats ! I guess the all mighty dollar is toxic

  • A M G

    I don’t think you have spent much time at circuit parties. See, the thing is that these drugs are not going anywhere, and Atlantis has to know that. GHB is a circuit party drug and until people are more educated on it’s effects they will probably keep using it. 🙁 This isn’t going to go away in the circuit party community, living in L.A. I have seen more than my fair share of GHB used at parties in clubs, after parties, and just as a rec drug.

  • Jeff

    Having been on many Atlantis cruises I do appreciate how incredible they are. I hope I have the good fortune to go on another one in the future!
    While the author says that cruises are not the place to have a medical emergency they happen all the time when you consider that the average age on the typical cruise is so high. (Age and significant obesity do not bode well when unlimited food is available.)

    That being said I think that Atlantis cruises could benefit from major reworking of their procedures and perhaps some education of cruiseship passengers so that they are aware of how to assess and address potential emergencies.

  • RSL

    Had fun on these cruises at a younger age. They are sex and drug fueled. Grow up already!! I enjoy my life now- watching guys die on the dance floor is a real buzz kill!!

  • Seaguy

    This is another example of the failed “war on drugs”.

  • Mike

    As someone who’s worked in the cruise industry for many years, the problem isn’t so much the cruise lines as much as it’s the security and screening (or lack there of) that exists to get on the ships. This isn’t TSA or CBP. The people screening screening bags are only screening for weapons. They are not screening for drugs or illegal substances. I guarantee you that you had a combination of CPB & TSA screening luggage and carryon bags, you’d eliminate 95% of the drugs coming onboard. Having Port Security Officers are not enough for these types of cruises. There should be at least be DEA agents and CBP agents on the gangway to deter guests from bringing drugs onboard. Many of the cruise lines have great medical teams but don’t have the experience dealing with these kinds drug mixtures as they don’t happen on regular cruises. I stand firm that the answer is having a strong deterrent on the gangway and port before the cruise even begins and having a small LGBT friendly boarding party of agents onboard to monitor the potential for drug use. Just my thoughts though

  • John Casoni

    First, the entertainment on the cruise should not be encouraging drug use by joking about it. I sure hope to hell that the security staff focuses on weapons. The cruise line should put out a statement that drug use is illegal and never allowed and ask passengers to sign a simple online oath to reinforce their stance. They should also advise that occasionally they will have drug detection dogs and devices to spot check for drugs (whether they actually do or not). Sure, many will disregard the soft warnings but at least they are put on notice. I don’t want to go on a cruise knowing that some drugged jackass may cause am incident affecting my fun time.

  • MB

    Agree. Pam Ann and Matt Yee jokes over the top. Inappropriate especially post death. New entertainment needed. How much is Ellen? Good clean fun!

  • Andrew

    I might have some understanding for commenters here blasting criticism of Atlantis if we still lived in the early 2000s. Sadly we do not. And Atlantis is game for any criticism on the subject; how many of us get a decade plus to correct judgement errors in how we run our business? Don’t fall for anyone who cries homophobia.

  • anthony

    The drug use on this cruise was the worst we had ever seen. Out in the open as it was widely accepted and no one had shame. We had never seen people do GHB, Coke and Meth all while dancing but we did on this cruise. It was so wide spread that we choose to go back to our rooms because it was really getting to us seeing it. It seemed to us that it was more West coasters and the Asians who were more complicit than anyone else. But I am not saying others were not doing it I am saying that the dominance was those. It was so accepted that it became the joke of all the shows. and we are all to blame for allowing it to happen without trying to protect those. What examples do we the older generation set out, if we condone this and say nothing. We are going to lose this generation to major drug use and many will never get out of it. Atlantis’ silence spoke volumes by not addressing it once.

  • Angel

    I happened to be on this cruise. While I do not use those drugs, I don’t judge those who chose them.

    Are we ready to remove swimming pools from cruises? People drown on cruise ships. Maybe they should only serve puree foods because people choke. Remove the steps so people don’t fall. Stop selling booze because people jump or get into fights…

    I love cruising and I have a google search set up for cruise news. If I had a dollar for every incident aside from the drug stories, I can probably retire.

    And before people get out of hand passing judgement, please consider being respectful or at least sensitive to Joel Taylor’s family and friends. It is the least we can do as a civilized people.

  • sam

    You know what is something is that when AIDS took front and center and the gay community grew up and realized what was causing it, the community took the situation seriously and it curbed the effects. The community stood behind one another and saved one each other from what was a certain death. But when it comes to drugs it is a personal responsibility. Where is our responsibility coming into play? I hold myself to the same level of moral decency as I expect Atlantis Events to be held to the same. These drugs were being used in plain view of the security and staff of Atlantis and not once was someone told to put it away. YET we were told that smoking cigarettes was prohibited on most of the ship except…… But never once was drugs prohibited., Not a single message. There was a message about sex in the open take it to your room but never mentioned about drugs YOU Know why because it comes down to dollars and sense. Atlantis is more about the profits than the safety. They have stooped to the corporate level of making money at the client’s expense and we are fueling it for them. Unfortunately, they bought out the only other gay cruise line to monopolize the industry in such a way that we have no other choices if we want to cruise on our own. At least when RSVP was not affiliated with Atlantis we had a choice now we are left with none and the brand RSVP has been dwindled done to worthless.