Today, we received word that a guest attending the Atlantis Events cruise aboard the Oasis of the Sea died Monday night as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship was heading to Mexico. This afternoon, reporter Chris Wiggins tweeted news of the death. He also reported on several “Code Alpha” (medical emergency) announcements broadcast on the ship.
There have been several “Code Alpha” medical emergencies on the @RoyalCaribbean Oasis of the Seas underway currently on the Atlantis Gay Cruise.
At least one of those ship-wide alarms was for a person found in cardiac arrest in their cabin. That person has died.
— Chris Wiggins 🏳️🌈🇩🇪🇺🇸 (@CWNewser) January 20, 2022
Medical emergencies (often drug overdoses) are not uncommon on Royal Caribbean cruises chartered by Atlantis Events. For that matter, Atlantis Events cruises have been plagued by drug use, passengers going overboard and shipboard deaths over the years. We touched on some of these events in our article earlier this week:
In January 2020, a member of the Atlantis technical crew went overboard from the Oasis of the Seas.
In February 2019, federal agents arrested two men trying to board the Allure of the Seas at PortMiami for possession of a large quantity of drugs which they were intending to sell on the cruise ship which had been chartered to Atlantis Events. Local News 10 reported that after the men arrived at PortMiami, a drug sniffing canine alerted its handler to their luggage which contained MDMA (ecstasy), ketamine, Viagra, Adderall and GHB.
In January 2018, Storm Chasers’ star Joel Taylor died of a suspected overdose on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, which had been chartered by Atlantis Events. According to TMZ and other tabloid websites, passengers on the Royal Caribbean ship stated that “drugs on the party boat were plentiful.” Rosie Spinks, a talented reporter who worked for Quartz at that time, reported on Mr. Taylor’s drug death in an article titled A Reality Star’s Death Exposed the Dangerous Party Culture on Gay Cruises.
In February 2012, an Atlantis Events attendee went overboard from the Allure of the Seas operated by Royal Caribbean. His body was never recovered and he is presumed to be dead. There was no clear indication that the overboard was directly related to drug use on the ship.
Shortly before the Royal Caribbean/Atlantis 20th Anniversary cruise in February 2011, I questioned Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World’s Largest Gay Cruise? I asked why Royal Caribbean tolerated the widespread use of drugs on its ships during Atlantis Events cruise parties.
A week later, cruise passenger, Barry Krumholz, was arrested for selling large quantities of ecstasy pills, methamphetamine, ketamine and other drugs aboard the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas chartered by Atlantis Events. There were reportedly a half-dozen drug overdoses during the cruise.
In 2010, there was another passenger death on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events. There was widespread discussion regarding the use of drugs during Atlantis Events sponsored events.
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. 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. The medical care was described by party goers as delayed and haphazard.
Atlantis Cruises in the past have gotten media attention for other deaths that occurred during their sail. In 2020 a passenger fell to his death off the ship, and drug overdoses and deaths are not uncommon on these charters.
— Chris Wiggins 🏳️🌈🇩🇪🇺🇸 (@CWNewser) January 20, 2022
In 2019, Atlantis Events changed it policies apparently based on the death of Joel Taylor on the the Harmony of the Seas. Atlantis hired its own medical team. Its vacation guide at the time stated that it will have medically-related personnel at its cruise party. At page 14 of its website under “Safety at Sea” it stated:
“Our new Care Team is here to help! At all our parties and events you’ll find a team of dedicated medical professionals here to assist with absolutely anything. They will be wearing bright blue T-shirts with our Care Team logo and all have experience in working large festivals, sports events, and nightlife.
If you or anybody around you needs assistance or might need medical care, please simply ask them. They are here to help and will provide support in a nonjudgmental manner regardless of the situation. All matters are handled in the same ethical manner as in a land-based hospital.
Most importantly, please look after yourselves and each other. If you see somebody who over-indulged or is unwell, please let our team assist first.”
The current Royal Caribbean / Atlantis Events Cruise Vacation Guide – 30th Anniversary Caribbean Cruise brochure does not include language similar to the terms and condition in its 2019 brochure regarding the use of medical personnel arranged by Atlantis Events. However, one commentator, Will Kohler, suggests that Atlantis is still using its own medical staff for party goers who become ill on the ship.
Further info: #AtlantisEvents hires it's own medical team to be on hand, round the clock, to deal with guests falling out or ODing to keep things discreet. This team is not hired by Royal Caribbean.
— Back2Stonewall.com – Will Kohler (@BACK2STONEWALL) January 20, 2022
Whether the medical personnel were hired by Atlantis or Royal Caribbean, cruise ships are not the place to have a medical emergency, whether you are gay, lesbian, transgendered, or straight. Cruise ships are are notorious for the questionable experience and training of the shipboard doctors and staff and the limited nature of the cruise ship’s medical facilities.
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Image credit: Respective users on Twitter; top photo – Brooke Lynn Hytes on Twitter.
January 20, 2022 Evening Update: A passenger on the ship explained that Atlantis is indeed using an independent contractor to provide medically related services to those who need treatment on the ship: