The Chief Executive Officer of Atlantis Events, Inc. said rumors of deaths on the RSVP Vacations 30th Anniversary Cruise are “unfounded.”
In an emailed statement to SFGN, Rich Campbell said the two guests offloaded at the Port of Miami on Tuesday afternoon were receiving excellent care and their conditions were improving.
“For obvious privacy reasons we are not able to release their names or information about their medical condition,” Campbell wrote. “We do know that their condition is improving and they are receiving excellent care.”
The cruise of mostly gay men reversed course as the result of a medical emergency. The ship, the Regal Princess, is owned by Princess Cruises. Julie Benson, Vice President of Public Relations for Princess Cruises, confirmed two men were offloaded in Miami and are “doing fine.”
There is speculation that the emergencies were the result of drug use but no official source has confirmed that.
The Regal Princess set sail from Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 8 with thousands of passengers, the majority of which were gay men. An employee at the Atlantis Events, Inc. office in California said a helicopter was dispatched to aid in a life-threatening emergency but could not land atop the ship due to rough seas. The ship was then forced to return to U.S. mainland with the Port of Miami being the closest option.
Reports of wild partying and drinking were rampant aboard the Regal Princess.
One guest on the ship initially told SFGN “It’s an all gay cruise and they’re all drunk. There’s three thousand gay men on this boat. You know what that means. There’s a lot of high risk activity associated with that.”
But others protested the stigma of debauchery.
“I’m on this cruise and I’m not drunk,” commented Rob Sweeney on SFGN’s website.
Another man, Ben Carter, wrote in an email, “My partner gave me this cruise for my 55th birthday. Joe nor I have been drunk on this cruise.”
The RSVP Vacations 30th Anniversary Cruise is scheduled to make stops at Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman before returning to Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 15.
Campbell said the urgent call for medical care took three hours due to security clearances before the men could reach a shore side hospital. Ellen Kennedy, Public Information Officer at Port Everglades, said unfortunately medical emergencies do happen aboard cruise ships and the procedure is always to return to the nearest port.
“Those ships can go really fast,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy could not confirm allegations of heavy partying aboard the Regal Princess, but did acknowledge that “people do over indulge on those ships.”
SFGN is still waiting for a return call from the public affairs office at the Port of Miami.
This is not the first time an Atlantis affiliated gay cruise has been snared in controversy. In 2012, two American men were arrested and charged with “buggery” on the Caribbean island of Dominica after witnesses saw them have sex on their balcony while in port. In 2011, a California man was arrested in the U.S. Virgin Islands for selling drugs while aboard another Atlantis sponsored cruise.