Gay Cruise Death Draws Attention to WeHo-Based Atlantis Events

The recent death of a Discovery Channel star from a drug overdose on a gay cruise has brought attention to Atlantis Events, the West Hollywood-headquartered company that produces the cruises.

Joel Taylor, 38, a star of Discovery’s “Storm Chaser” reality TV series, was found dead of an apparent overdose of GHB on Jan. 22 while on a Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. Taylor collapsed on a dance floor and was carried to his cabin, where he died. “We’re told there were huge quantities of party drugs on board the ship, including cocaine, Ecstasy and GHB,” reported TMZ, the celebrity gossip channel, saying such drugs were “flowing freely” among the partygoers.

Rich Campbell

The cruise was produced by Atlantis Events, a company based at 9200 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood and headed by Rich Campbell. Atlantis claims it is the largest producer of gay cruises in the world. Among its cruises are those from Auckland to Sydney, a cruise of the southern Caribbean, a Rome to Barcelona cruise, a cruise of Italy and the Greek isles and a cruise from San Diego to Puerta Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan.

This isn’t the first Atlantis cruise where a drug-related incident has occurred. In November 2011, West Hollywood resident Barry Krumholz was arrested on an Atlantis Caribbean cruise and charged with dealing drugs while on the cruise. Krumholz pleaded guilty to the charge. The Associated Press, citing an affidavit filed as part of the charges against Krumholz, reported that “”Agents searched Krumholz’s cabin and allegedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small


  1. Cruises are Vacations, time off, relaxation, socialization and the opportunity to celebrate, sometimes a little more than normal, taking this into consideration, you have a group that consist of mostly Gay Men…. It is a microcosm of our community. Oh yeah, you also have those guys from Towns in our Country where they may not know any other “people like themselves”, now they are surrounded by proud open attractive gay men on a ship, free flowing alcohol, hundreds of miles from land as well as family and friends….. Just imagine.

  2. I don;t enjoy having a bunch of gay friends. A few here and there. They tend to be very vicious people, mean spirited. To much drama. I am gay and use other gay people I like as BF’s/partners/booty calls. Friendship reveals more personal and revealing. The physical contact is were I tend to leave it with gay lovers but not always.

  3. This is why I dont’ enjoy gay vacations. They are so tense and make my feel embarrassed about the trashy elements. It’s much more enjoyable to go to a straight resort where people are friendlier, down to earth, and they definitely do not care if you mention that you are gay. Ironically, it’s easier to be who you are and just relax.

  4. I’ve been on many cruises with Atlantis and RSVP. I agree, ultimately it’s the passengers that are responsible for their actions. But I do believe Rich C. and Atlantis could do a better job to tamp down the drug culture they have become known for.

  5. My partner and I have been on 36 Gay cruises is 17 years. Both Atlantis and RSVP. We are going on one this month and the Mexican Halloween Cruise. We have never had a bad time. The ship does not promote drug use. Once in a while someone is irresponsible, but it is not Atlantis fault

  6. All passengers need to be responsible for their actions they choose to engage in at these type of circuit parties – from drug consumption to unprotected sex. The company has the ethical responsibility to provide awareness of the pitfalls from both drugs and bareback sex – while minimizing the criminal acts of selling drugs or sex on the ship.

  7. Atlantis caters to everyone. Partner and I don’t do drugs or even drink and have been going on the Mexico for last 4 years and again this October. Adults should be responsible
    For them selfs. We need to educate the folks Of the real dangers. I’m sure this happening will wake some up.

  8. It is absolutely irresponsible of Mr. Campbell to refuse to have condoms, PreP and PeP info available. He has a captive audience and can save lives. Also if he is playing ostrich and not seeing drugs flow, then perhaps he should open his eyes. Oh and Mr. Campbell, if you are reading, I’m wondering how your guests “Perceive” a celebrity corpse on board, as opposed to condoms and medical staff.

    1. What do condoms and Prep have to do with a guy dying from drug use? Neither would have saved him.

      Personal responsibility applies with both drugs and sex. Royal Caribbean, who runs the ship, doesn’t have to provide guests with condoms, so why should Atlantis? There’s actually a lot of gay guys who go on these cruises for things other than sex. And as for Prep information, what good is it going to do for someone isolated on a cruise ship?

    2. Jimmy, I appreciate your intent and perspective here, but I’ve heard from people who were actually on this ship. Multiple people. The events surrounding his death may not be what has been spread throughout the media. Does that mean we shouldn’t have a conversation about drug use on cruise ships? No. But we should also take a few steps back before blaming Atlantis and/or the cruise ship before we think they didn’t have “adequate medical staff.” There’s no indication that that was the case. And from what I’ve heard, from those who were there, there’s indication that his cause of death wasn’t necessarily from an OD on a “party drug.” It should also be noted that nobody brought him to medical care.

      I’ve been on Atlantis cruises. Should Atlantis do more outreach? Yes, I think they should. I think they should make condoms available, and go as far to have some sort of “if you see someone in trouble, take them to the infirmary” type of campaign. One of the problems with these cruises is that people are afraid of being thrown off the ship and/or arrested, for bringing someone in who needs trouble. I don’t think that is what happened here, but it is worthy of our conversation.

      As far as Campbell not “seeing drugs flow…” I don’t know what he sees, or doesn’t see. I can tell you from experience that I know people are doing drugs on these ships, but I’ve rarely, if ever, seen anyone openly doing illegal substances in public places. Should Campbell knock on each door, and do a search of people’s rooms?

      What is also worthy of our conversation is getting our facts straight before jumping on a bandwagon, which I believe the media has done with this story.

  9. Sadly, party drugs are a big part of the gay West Hollywood lifestyle. Nobody wants to admit to it though.

  10. Drugs, exciting and new
    Come aboard, we’re expecting you
    And drugs, your screwed-up reward,
    Let it flow, it floats back to you
    And gay boat soon will be making another drug run,
    The drug boat, promises substances for everyone,
    Set a course for adventure your mind is all screwed
    And drugs won’t hurt anyone,
    It’s an open hole, on a friendly shore
    It’s druuugs,
    Welcome aboard it’s Drugs, Druuugs

  11. Really sad to hear someone died because of drugs.

    You could not PAY me to go on one of those circuit party cruises.

    1. Yes it is sad anytime anyone dies due to drugs.

      Be cautious on your statement “circuit party cruises”. I have enjoyed 3 different Atlantis cruises and I do not take drugs. Sure, there are those who use drugs which occurs everywhere. Gay, straight, Bi.

      Atlantis is a great organization that caters to all gays, but it is not a circuit party cruise.

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