Controversial Atlantis Cruise Now Has A Reported Death While At Sea

Wherever you stand on the debate of going on any kind of cruise at this time and whether a 30th Anniversary Atlantis Gay Cruise should have happened or not, it has been reported there has been a death on the January Atlantis voyage that’s been labeled “Omicron of the Seas.”

Just after the Vacaya Bliss Caribbean Cruise on Celebrity Millennium had returned to southern Florida (January 10-17), it was time for the Atlantis cruise on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas to disembark with 4,700 cruise participants.  

Both sailings were not too well received/approved by many as photos from the dance parties started popping up, but Atlantis has seemed to get the brunt of the disgust on social media. Some were more vulgar than others.

Now, unfortunately, there has been a death reported on the cruise. The information that has been released does not attribute the passing of the cruise participant to COVID [as many have jumped to thinking], but it has been stated the death is apparently from a cardiac arrest in one of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cabins.

According to The Advocate, an Atlantis Events representative said the death was “nothing out of the ordinary.” Freelance Journalist Chris Wiggins tweeted that there was a confirmation of the death, first stating the cause of death was unclear at first, but then stating that the cause was cardiac arrest.

No death is good, wishing death on people is not good; hoping for all to be safe is best. 

Deaths on cruises unfortunately happen, no matter if it is a gay or straight cruise. We’ve heard of people going missing from many cruises. Being in Florida, we hear about it often as this is where so many cruise ships return to port. We’re sure there are many deaths that go unreported and not covered by the media. People die.

But gay cruises have had some noticeable deaths in the recent past. In 2018, Reality Star Joel Taylor Found Dead on Gay Cruise as he had died of an accidental drug overdose. And in 2015, no deaths but the 30th Anniversary RSVP Gay Cruise had to make an emergency return to Miami as there were two passengers with medical issues.  And in in January 2020, a Man Jumped To His Death From Atlantis Cruise While In Puerto Rico.

When discussing the Atlantis and Vacaya cruises, we should also mention that New York Times article that has been getting much attention.

Some are saying it seems the media may have had it out for the “gay cruises” from the start. A recent New York Times article questioned “Can a Gay Cruise Keep 4,700 People Safe Amid COVID?” Well this stirred the mirky COVID cruise waters and called to question if the NYT decided to be a little homophobic by not just referring to these as just some other cruises but highlighting these as gay cruises specifically.  

I remember reading the gay cruise bashing NYT article as I was flipping the channels watching 60,000+ people at multiple NFL football games across the country while I was also considering paying my balance on a Royal Caribbean “straight” cruise I’m scheduled to take at the end of February. The NYT decided to focus on these 4,700 passengers instead of the 300,000+ football fans smashed into just as close quarters yelling, spewing beer battered breath over their fellow fans.

For those saying there should be no comparison, let’s do some math. An NFL stadium on the average can handle more than 60,000 fans per game (5 games last weekend, 4 games this weekend for a rough total of 540,000 fans in the past two weekends) and not all stadiums have vaccine or mask rules. Meanwhile, the Atlantis cruise in question has 4,700 guests, all the staff are fully vaccinated, and all attendees must show vaccination proof (see link).  Correct, maybe there is no comparison to over half a million to under 5,000. And for a visual comparison, here’s a pic from the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals game today (January 22). Find me a mask. I think i found two.

Sure, the gay cruises will have tons more sex than football venues, not sure about less drug use. But what about the multiple straight cruises that leave Florida ports every weekend? These are two (2) gay cruises that happen very few times a year whereas, for comparison, in 2017, Florida had 2,506 cruise ships dock on its shores using 6 different ports across the state. But alas, the NYT dabbled in targeting the gay cruise opportunities which would be like, less than 0.1% of the cruise ships if just considering Florida alone. 

Sorry New York Times, do better when pointing that finger. Back to the cruise. 

As I sit here in my Fort Lauderdale home, I will await tomorrow, January 23rd, for the explosion of gays on the hook-up apps as they all return to land. Yes, they arrive in Miami, but many from Fort Lauderdale went and many cruisers tag on a Fort Lauderdale stay before and/or after their cruise. I’ll choose to not really “chat up” anyone for a while as, yes, I agree that the cruises are a mess right now and I’m foolish for booking one for next month, but I’ll choose to lessen my exposure to possible people that were highly exposed and I will choose to keep my exposure to others very low after I return from my cruise just to be safe. I’ve also said no to people when they’ve asked to use my guest room as I’ve had friends that have vacationed in Puerto Vallarta and then want to swing by here for a couple of days when returning to the US.

We all pick our battles, our poisons, or judging, or way of life in this COVID world. Those that chose to go on the Vacaya or the Atlantis cruises? Bravo. Go for it. I just know that was not for me. Life does go on, vaccines are taken, we need to do what we need to do.

Now, if these cruises were before the vaccines, boosters, massive checks and balances that have tried to lessen exposure? Yes, I would probably be one of those pointing that finger just as hard as the NYT, but it would be more wide spread than just at the fellow gays.


Instincters… what are your thoughts? Cruises okay? Gay Cruises okay? New York Times okay?


Source: The Advocate 

31 thoughts on “Controversial Atlantis Cruise Now Has A Reported Death While At Sea”

  1. Thank you Mark King for your comment…and amen Andrew….my thoughts exactly. I was on rhe VACAYA cruise…..some of you are as judgemental as the Baptists I had to endure growing up gay in the South in the 70s. Shame on you..do better. Unless you are completely isolated in your house wrapped in cellophane then sit the hell down. I’m a RN and have dealt with this pandemic on the front lines for 2 years…..and I assure ya, if I can weather the storm in a hospital I can sobit on a cruise ship. And I came home last week from the VACAYA cruise Covid-19 negative.

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  2. I felt far safer on the ship last week that at any point in Miami before or after where crowds gathered and masks weren’t worn at all either inside or outside. All of us had to be fully vaccinated and take a test the day before boarding. We had no unvaccinated kids running around and spreading Covid. Pretty much all of us had been super cautious the two weeks before sailing. All big events were held outside (even when it rained).

    Look around the world, many countries are loosening or abandoning restrictions. Clubs, bars, restaurants are all open. The boosted are not the reason this pandemic is continuing.

    Point the fingers to the unvaccinated. The ship was the safest place to be.

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  3. Adam,
    Thank you for this insight and balance. I was on the cruise, my third, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had some misgivings, but 10 days before Christmas, my parents, whom I had worked very hard to protect, gave me COVID. (Their church was the source, as that’s their social life. Casting no stones here!) At any rate, I said, what the hell. I finished my Amor Towles novel, met some very interesting people, snorkeled a beautiful reef, and danced like I wasn’t nearly 60–in short, a cruise experience. Yes there was some debauchery, not unlike one would witness at a Bills game; and yes there was some behavior that I found off-putting, but people respected the protocols and the dances were outside, if crowded in some areas I avoided. I thought Atlantis and Royal Caribbean did a nice job and I was glad I went. It was so good to reconnect. Separately, I’m an NYT subscriber and I thought that was a bit of a hatchet job also.

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  4. I have never been on a cruise, not will I ever set foot on one. They just always seemed a bit “white trash” for me, but hey, to each his own. By the way, this entire scene looks horrifying.

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  5. We shouldn’t be sailing cruise ships NOR should we be hosting large sporting events. But here we are! Hospitalizations are at the highest point they have been since the pandemic started. It’s never going to end.

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  6. Let’s be frank! This has nothing to do with Omicron! These circuit cruises are nothing but a breeding ground for rampant drug use and unsafe sex, period!

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    • It was much more than that. This was my first gay cruise and it was an absolute joy and freedom. I will be going again next year. Lots of love and yes sex.

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  7. The final Covid count on board was 2 guest, 3 crew. The lowest amount on any major cruise line for a 7 night sailing since cruises restarted.

    Having been on the cruise, everyone wore their masks indoors as required, and Royal did a great job.

    Also, in regards to the death, the average cruise ship has 1-3 deaths per week. The higher numbers are obviously on cruise lines with older clientele. But, a death on a cruise isn’t a major news story.

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  8. Thank you having a very non-biased and straight forward article. Seems like the NYT on cares about panic to create more views, whereas this company focused on the facts.

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  9. The real issue were and are CDC Covid protocols. They were obviously abandoned when they got on the boat. And as an avid cruiser this is the first time in 2 years that a ship has gone out with an 80%+ capacity without social distancing Many cruises are still sailing well below 50% and Royal Caribbean had cancelled some of it’s own cruises. In the end this cruise happened because ATLANTIS didn’t want to cancel or postpone because they were afraid they’d lose money. There are already cases from the VACAY cruise. And some of the videos and pics are a horrible metric for the gay community

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    • I was on this cruise — my 3rd and I really hesitated about going in recent weeks. CDC protocols are often not rooted in science (e.g. shorter isolation guidelines). At the end of the day masks were required indoors unless eating/drinking. I would say this was followed ~85% of the time. All the parties were held outdoors hence the fact that no masks were required. All people were required to be vaxxed and tested to get onboard. The captain announced on the 2nd to last day that only 4 passengers had tested positive (out of 4700!) and that this was his EASIEST sailing in weeks. Anyone who got onboard accepted responsibility for their own health and the potential consequences of cruising. We all have different levels off comfort with the risk of infection. Feel free to judge those of us who accept more risk than you but getting onboard was safer than going to any local bar (e.g case positive rates in most cities). But after 3 years and life saving vaccines that choice says more about you than anything else. Finally, As this article states, where is the outrage for straight cruises? It’s clear that a lot of the commentary is rooted in ignorance and homophobia — including from us gays.

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    • It was not ATLANTIS that didn’t want to cancel or postpone. It was Royal Caribbean. As they were in contract for the charter, they would have had to pay in full to Royal for a cancelled or postponed cruise. That’s how it works.

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    • Will, sorry you made the choice not to go.. it was fun and you’re not having it. The cruise was handled well – everyone was vaccinated and wore masks indoors. I can’t say that for the straight cruise we were on over New Years. Atlantis 5 cases. Straight 50 cases.

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  10. The death this week was of a 60’ish man who died from an embolism. Very tragic. Not a drug party incident. Natural causes. It’s too bad news people want to place this death in the same category as drug induced incidents.

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  11. I just returned from the 30th anniversary Atlantis cruise. At the end of the week, there were exactly 5 cases of covid among the 4,700 passengers and a dozen or so among crew members. The case rate on board was much lower than in the general population, demonstrating that with vaccination requirements, pre-boarding testing, and mask requirements, it is possible to stay safe on a cruise.

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  12. The NYT wasn’t homophobic, it was just highlighting that these cruises are taking place, and that while straight cruises are taking place, gay cruises are different in the sense that there is more of a party atmosphere and they have large events/dance parties. The CDC has actually said NO ONE should be going on one during the current surge, and while I don’t agree with a lot of what they’ve said lately (e.g. shorter quarantine, no test of cure after infection, etc.), they are absolutely correct that it is not safe right now. At some point in the future (e.g. May when things have possibly come down in terms of infection numbers) it could be an acceptable risk, but not at the present time. I run a COVID testing site in the Northeast and I see the daily numbers and hear all the patient stories. In addition, while I am all for “live and let live” when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic, someone posted video from two days ago with two guys full-on f-ing in one of those parties–can’t that be left to the bathhouse??

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    • You can’t catch COVID at a bathhouse? Vaccinated people are not the ones getting hospitalized or dying from COVID. Gay people have gotten vaccinated at a much higher rate than straight people. People know the risk of not being vaccinated and if they choose to continue being unvaccinated, they are owed nothing. Vaccinated people should not have to give up their lives or freedom 2+ years later when they’ve done what they were supposed to do. I applaud everyone that stepped foot on that boat for trying to bring some semblance of normalcy back to life after 2 years of hell. No one should be asked to give up their life in perpetuity.

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  13. I’ve personally done 3 gay cruises with Atlantis
    First was Barcelona to Greece absolute amazing trip
    The other 2 where LA to Mexico fun times all around

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  14. Was Joel Taylor’s death really an accident? He was found with a lot of drugs in his system sure, but do people really take both GHB and Ambien at the same time? The most suspicious thing to me about when a guy dies like this is the volume of people that step forward and swear he took the drugs himself. I mean, did he take them on stage with a spotlight? Considering the number of overdoses and drug deaths over the years, these cruises are public health nightmares for the gay community.

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  15. There’s something you and everyone else bashing the NYT and “straight” cruises conveniently leave out…NO OTHER CRUISES ARE AT FULL CAPACITY! Most are sailing at 50% or 60% capacity, unlike this irresponsible cruise. So yes, it is fair to point out that it is a gay cruise. Just went on a cruise myself in December, boat was mostly empty and they certainly aren’t throwing dance parties for hours packing thousands of people together. And covid rules? Enforced everywhere. Atlantis said they would do the same, you see a single mask in that sea (no pun intended) of bodies? Your own cruise in February will be just fine.

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  16. Instead of referring to them as gay or straight cruises, I will refer to them as party and regular cruises. After all young straight people can party hearty just as much as we can. Let’s assume in both cases all passengers have to prove vaccination and a negative COVID result prior to boarding. We have a level playing field. Here’s where differences start to emerge. A party cruise will have no social distancing (see dance floor photos) and probably little to no mask-wearing (again see dance floor photo). A regular cruise will have less density, passengers will socially distance, and will wear masks in common areas (I was just on a regular cruise). Party cruises will have much more drinking and drug use (I’m not judging), leading to much more on-board romance, encouraging the spread of any virus. Hopefully, no one gets ill on the Atlantis cruise, but it’s hard to believe a lot of people won’t contract omicron and if asymptomatic bring it back into their communities.

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  17. Cruises? Maybe. (See what I did there?) NYT? 👎🏻 For doing what I just didn’t do. Targeting one specific group while ignoring mass events in a heteronormative world is at best bigotry, at the worst, criminal negligence.

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  18. I was on an altanits cruise that also had a cardic related death. A Frequet guest said there always is at least one! Drugs are freely brought on board. Its invetable. At the end of our cruise there was announcment made to not discard your unsed drugs in the ships toilets and enbourage poeple to throw them overboard.

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  19. I feel the same as you. I don’t keep up with cruise culture, but when I heard there were guys booking tickets for a cruise in January as we were going through this Omicron wave I couldn’t believe it. Very disappointing. Cruises of any kind, for any crowd are just a bad idea right now.

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