Two men reportedly trying to board the Allure of the Seas at PortMiami on Sunday were arrested by federal agents for possession of a large quantity of drugs which they were intending to sell on the cruise ship.

Local 10 News reports that a Homeland Security special agent intercepted emails from the government-issued computer of Peter Melendez, age 35, (Facebook page here), who is a government contractor at the Pentagon, and Robert Koehler, age 27, (Facebook page here), discussing their strategy to distribute the smuggled drugs to other passengers on the ship.

The local news station reported that after both men arrived at the port, a drug sniffing canine alerted its handler to their luggage which contained MDMA (ecstasy), ketamine, Viagra, Adderall and GHB.

The news station stated that the men were arrested on charges of illegal drug trafficking with Melendez charged with intent to traffic MDMA.

The Chesapeake Today newspaper reports that the men were planning to cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events for its annual gay cruise to the Caribbean.

Pentagon contractor busted when boarding cruise with his bag of drugs to sell; used government computer for planning peddling pills

In 2011, a passenger, Barry Krumholz, was arrested for selling large quantities of ecstasy pills, methamphetamine, ketamine and other drugs aboard the same Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, which was involved in this latest case and had again 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 cruise parties.

In the 2011 incident, Customs and Border Protection agents searched Krumholz’s cabin and  reportedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about $51,000 in cash.

Other Atlantis Events cruise parties have been marred by drug overdoses and deaths over the years.

Last year, 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 websites. These tabloids reported that passengers on the Royal Caribbean ship stated that “drugs on the party boat were plentiful.”

In 2009, a passenger died after he reportedly took drugs during a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas 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 Events sponsored events.*

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Image Credit:Atlantis Events / Royal Caribbean Cruises

February 5, 2019 Update: NBC News covered the drug bust. Other major news media have been reluctant to identify the Allure of the Seas as the cruise ship where the men intended to sell the drugs.

*/A reader of this blog contacted me last week and pointed out that Atlantis Events changed it policies apparently based on last year’s death on the Harmony of the Seas. Its new vacation guide states that it will have medically-related personnel at its cruise party. At page 14 of its website under “Safety at Sea” it states:

“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.

Enjoy yourselves, but remember to take breaks to eat, sleep, and of course hydrate! Most people don’t realize how different being at sea is and how the combination of motion, sun, and late hours can sneak up on you. Take a night off once and a while and explore the myriad of options we have planned for you!

You are here on vacation, and we truly want you to go home feeling rested, not exhausted.”

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.

Dominica Senior Magistrate BaptisteIn a weird ending to a weird cruise story, two California men who were arrested on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship while it was docked in Dominica pleaded guilty to indecent exposure at a hearing yesterday and were then ridiculed by a local magistrate.

Yesterday we mentioned the bizarre circumstances surround the Atlantis Events cruise: Busted for Buggery: Controversy Surrounds Another Atlantis Gay Cruise.  

A newspaper in Dominica "DaVibes" described the incident as follows:

"Local taxi operators expressed outrage as they reportedly witnessed the defendants engaged in sexual activity on the balcony of the ship."  When the local police boarded the Celebrity cruise ship, one of the passengers responded “we were naked on our balcony but were not having sex.”

Today another newspaper in Dominica reports that the two men’s lawyer in Dominica told the local magistrate at a 30 minute hearing yesterday that her clients were "remorseful" and  overcome by the beauty of the island:

"They were struck by the beautiful mountains, clear fresh air and had a few cocktails and having a few cocktails they found themselves in this indiscretion. They threw caution to the wind, they came here to have a good time and they did not mean to offend anyone” she told the court.

According to the newspaper, Chief Magistrate Baptiste (photo above left) denounced the men’s  actions Dominica -Cruise Ship Passengers Arrestedas “an outrage” that was “morally wrong” in any country.  She described the men as “rogues and vagabonds.”  She fined them around $900. 

After the hearing, the local police drove the two men (photo right) to the airport to be flown out of the country.

Many Caribbean islands like Dominica, Jamaica and Barbados are openly hostile to gay travelers. Nonetheless, sex on a balcony at port seems like a good way to be arrested.  

However, the two men, Dennis Mayer and John Hart who have been partners for 17 years, deny that they were engaged in sex on the balcony.

They state that they were arrested by military police and placed in a small cell for 19 hours. They told the LA Times that "we were taunted all night long. They paraded us around like we were some oddity." They were led to a ATM at a bank to withdraw money for their fine as a crowd of residents watched. "I’ve never seen something like this," Mayer said. "I’ve never seen people chanting and protesting in the street. It was amazing."  

An AP article quotes Dominica Tourism Minister Ian Douglas as saying that tourists should abide by local laws regardless of their religious or sexual orientation, and that cruise ship officials should make passengers aware of these laws.

 

Photo credits:  

Magistrate Baptiste – Dominica News Online 

Cruise passenger – Carlisle Jno-Baptiste / AP 

Another Atlantis gay cruise resulted in public controversy yesterday when police in Dominica arrested two passengers on the Celebrity Summit on suspicion of indecent exposure and “buggery” (sodomy).

Someone on the dock supposedly observed the passengers having sex on the cruise ship. The two arrested passengers were men in their 40’s from California. Newspaper accounts suggest that if convicted, each one could be fined and face jail time up to 6 months.

The Celebrity cruise ship has been chartered by Atlantis Events, which specializes in gay travel.

Atlantis Events - Gay Cruise - Celebrity SilhouetteFive Atlantis cruise with Royal Caribbean / Celebrity Cruises have been plagued by arrests or deaths.

Last month, a young man went overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas cruise ship off of the coast of Mexico during an Atlantis cruise.

One year ago, a passenger, Steven Barry Krumholz, was busted for selling a large amount of drugs during a gay cruise on the Allure of the Seas.  

Two years ago, a young man died during a Royal Caribbean – Atlantis cruise aboard the Liberty of the Seas while it was in the Caymans.

Three years ago, a GLAAD board member died of an apparent drug overdose on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas

This latest incident takes the controversial history of the Royal Caribbean – Atlantis relationship into the realm of the absurd.  With as many sexual assaults of women which occur on Royal Caribbean / Celebrity ships with no arrests or prosecutions during straight cruises, it is bizarre to think of passengers being arrested for engaging in consensual sex like this.  

 

Photo credit:  Alamy via Mail OnLine

Allure of the Seas OverboardThe AP is reporting that a Irish cruise ship passenger went overboard from the Allure of the Seas, which is the world’s largest cruise ship cruise ship.

(Update: If you are searching for the overboard involving a twenty-one (21) year old woman from Bartlett Tennessee who disappeared on September 16, 2012 from the Allure, click here.)

Royal Caribbean states that another passenger allegedly saw the British passenger, age 30, go over the railing from his stateroom on the Allure.  The cruise line then apparently verified the overboard by viewing images from closed circuit television.  

The incident occurred as the cruise ship was heading to Cozumel.  Announcements were made around 6:45 AM.  The cruise ship then stopped off the coast of Mexico near Cozumel. and participated in a brief search.  The ship was to depart tonight at 8:00 PM tonight and was scheduled to be at sea tomorrow, with a return to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

There are rumors that the passenger may have left a suicide note and then stepped on a table and went overboard.

The last British citizen who disappeared in international waters near Mexico is Rebecca Coriam, a Disney cruise member employed as a youth counselor aboard the Disney Wonder.    

The last reported incident aboard the Allure of the Seas involved multiple rapes earlier last month

The cruise ship was under charter by Atlantis, which hosts parties for the gay and lesbian community.  The Allure had sailed from South Florida on January 29, 2012 to Labadee Haiti, Costa Maya Mexico, and then to Cozumel. 

In the past, the Atlantis – Royal Caribbean cruises have been marred by controversy, with drug overdoses, suicide, and a travel agent busted for selling drugs (arrested with 142 ecstasy pills, 3 grams of methamphetamine, ketamine and about $51,000 in cash).  You can read about these incidents below.

One year ago:  Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas

Two years ago:  Another Death on a Royal Caribbean – Atlantis Cruise

Three years ago: GLAAD Board Member Dies Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas

And don’t forget to read:  Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World’s Largest Gay Cruise?

Does anyone know what happened on this latest Atlantis cruise party?

 

Allure of the Seas Atlantis Cruise

 

Photo credit:  Atlantis Events

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.