Drug dealer on Worlds Largest Gay Cruise pleads guilty

Not long ago we reported on a drug dealer busted on the Worlds Largest Gay Cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. The man pleaded guilty this week in a U.S. Virgin Islands court to dealing drugs on board a cruise ship.

Steven Barry Krumholz admitted selling ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine to fellow passengers on board the Allure of the Seas in February reports the Associated Press.

“Krumholtz, 51, of West Hollywood was busted aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas as the cruise ship was docked in St. Thomas”, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said in a statement to AOL Travel News at the time.

Federal Chief District Judge Curtis Gomez set sentencing for November 2. The West Hollywood man faces as long as 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.”Agents searched Krumholz’s cabin and allegedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about $51,000 in cash, reported the AP. While waiting for the suspect to return to his cabin, two more passengers came to buy drugs, according to the affidavit.

Allure of the Seas departed from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida February 6 with 5,400 passengers on a trip chartered by Atlantis Events. Atlantis specializes in gay and lesbian vacations both on land and at sea. The company has chartered Allure on the same itinerary in January 2012.

Royal Caribbean International maintains a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs at sea and cooperated fully with authorities.

Flickr photo by triplezero

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Cruise prices rise but bargains are out there, nevermind the view

As promised, cruise lines have raised prices in reaction to increasing demand. It seems the all-inclusive nature and higher-than-other-things safety level of a cruise vacation is once again filling up ships. But there are still a few bargains out there, if you don’t mind the view.

Royal Caribbean International, who eternally vowed to never discount new Oasis and Allure of the seas is doing the next best thing. In what they call a summertime “family-friendly” promotion running through the 13th of April, the line is offering $200 onboard credit for sailings during June, July or August 2011.

Vacationers booking two or more Central Park- or Boardwalk-view balcony staterooms, that are grouped together, will receive a $200 onboard credit per stateroom, up to a maximum of three staterooms for a total of $600 onboard credits per group.

Here’s the catch: Nobody wants those cabins.

When most people think “balcony” they think “overlooking the ocean”. These don’t. Your view will be of whoever is across the interior Central Park Neighborhood if you look straight ahead or of the Central Park landscaping below. Look up and you will see the sky but not much of it.

The Boardwalk-view location is better or worse depending on how you look at it. The aft location does provide a view of the ocean. Sort of. If you look past the Aqua-theater and there is a lot going on back there. The down-side is that there is a lot going on back there. Someone who wants a lazy day on the balcony watching the ocean roll by will be disappointed if not angry.

I was on the ship with a bunch of really loud people who we put out on the balcony, hoping they would fall off. They didn’t fall off but when the balcony door was closed and I was standing inside the cabin looking at them it was like putting them on mute setting.

Still, this is a great promotion if you don’t have plans to relax, fool around, smoke or otherwise misbehave on your balcony. Concerns over noise from the area below are more true in the bustling Boardwalk area than the serene Central Park but not very well founded.

Don’t get me wrong, Oasis and Allure of the Seas are great ships. The cupcakes from the Cupcake Cupboard alone are reason enough to sail on either one. Take Royal Caribbean up on this deal and you’ll have plenty of cash for them.

Photo: Whitney Owen

Allure of the Seas to visit St Kitts

Often thought just too big to visit most ports of call, giant Allure of the Seas will visit the tiny island of St Kitts in December. The unique port will answer a call by fans and critics to add much needed diversity to the ship’s standard itinerary.

That’s good news for fans of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships. Die hard fans worried that a lack new ports would hurt popularity of the giant feature-rich ship after the new-ship hoopla wore off.

“Royal Caribbean International is delighted to bring the world-renowned Allure of the Seas to St. Kitts,” said Michael Ronan, vice president of Government Relations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. adding “while Allure of the Seas is the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship, the ship’s ports of call are also very important to our guests. We look forward to bringing more of them to beautiful and vibrant St. Kitts.”
That’s even better news for St Kitts who will see a total of 45 port calls in the 2011-2012 season, up from 20 calls in the 2010-2011 season.

“I am proud of the fact that St. Kitts has been making great strides forward in the cruise industry,” said Minister Skerritt, who is also Minister of International Transport.

Allure of the Seas features 16 decks, 2,700 staterooms, seven themed “neighborhoods” and carries 5,400 guests at double occupancy that could potentially disembark at St. Kitts.

Prior to sailing Oasis of the Seas, older sister to Allure of the Seas and the senior largest cruise ship in the world, much was said about all the work it took to ready ports for arrival of the largest cruise ships in the world. They are simply too big for many ports.

Flickr photo by Jemingway

Hollywood goes to sea for short film series



Cruise Ship?

Called the “Ocean Views” film project, Hollywood’s James Brolin, Jenny McCarthy and a boat load of stars recently wrapped up shooting a series of original short films as Hollywood goes to sea on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

(Don’t think “infomercial” yet please)

Brolin and McCarthy both directed and star in the series along with Dean Cain, Charles Malik Whitfield, Scott Elrod and others sponsored by Royal Caribbean International, a first for any cruise line. The film series is available on Royal Caribbean’s website and YouTube channel.

(Not yet, and wipe that look of disgust off your face too.)

The cruise line hopes the series attracts a variety of audiences, including those who may not have otherwise shown interest in taking a cruise vacation.

“In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, it’s important to recognize that consumers are getting their information from a variety of channels,” stated Betsy O’Rourke, SVP Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “Royal Caribbean has always been known for its innovation, and the creation of these short films allows us to share our story with a wider audience that may not have considered a cruise vacation.”

(Now. Go for it. Throw your pack and best hiking stick at the computer screen.)

McCarthy’s film is called “The Allure of Love” which tells the story of two friends and their plan to get two exes back together. But things go sideways when technology gets in the way and the couple engages in a game of online picture posting one-upsmanship. It’s an unexpected comedic journey about rekindling romance on the high seas.

Let’s take a look shall we?

Actually, this looks pretty good. Way better than what we saw on last Saturday’s
Video of the Day: Saturday Night Live mocks cruises. That was painful to watch.

Brolin directs and stars in “Royal Reunion,” a short film about a multi-generational family voyage on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas. Ben and Elaine are celebrating their 40th anniversary on a cruise with their son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. All that is missing is their fun-loving son who decides to hide out and surprise everyone with his unexpected presence. After a series of comedic near-misses with his parents and brother, he discovers that the biggest surprises of all are the things that he doesn’t know about his family.

Here are the actors in real life, really at sea. See? Hollywood went to sea.

“The Allure of Love” and “Royal Reunion” will debut on Sunday March 13 during an exclusive premiere event onboard Allure of the Seas in her home port of Port Everglades in Florida.

Trailers for the short films are available at www.RoyalCaribbean.com and the films will be available in their entirety at 4p.m. on Sun., March 13.

Immediately following the premiere, Jenny McCarthy (@jennymccarthy) will host a Twitter party from 5p.m. – 6p.m. with Justin Baldoni (@justinbaldoni), Amy Yasbeck (@amyyasbeck4real) and Scott Elrod (@scott_elrod) to discuss the films and their experiences onboard Allure of the Seas. Media and consumers alike can join the party by following #OceanViews on Twitter and follow host @RoyalCaribbean.

Forget shuffleboard , 3D theater next on today’s cruise ships

Royal Caribbean International, parent of giant sister cruise ships Oasis and Allure of the Seas announced it will add stereoscopic 3D digital cinema to on-board programming. Royal Caribbean also plans “Revitalizations” for other ships in 2011 including Oasis, Liberty Freedom, Radiance and Splendour of the Seas.

“While we look forward to a period of slower growth, we do not intend to stagnate,” said Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain in January just before the line announced a new, secret class of ships to be built in the future. The Royal Revitalizations program looks to use that period of slower growth wisely, adding features made popular on new ships to some others in the fleet

Royal Caribbean’s existing deal with Dreamworks Animation and a new partnership with FUNA International makes it possible.

“We called upon FUNA and their team to come up with creative technical design solutions in a number of areas including physical placement, additional cooling and power and integration with the existing audio system, and the result is a 3D movie experience as good as or better than any land-based theater” said Christopher Vlassopulos, Entertainment Technology and Technical Direction for Royal Caribbean International.

First to get the 3D upgrade will be Allure of the Seas but soon, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas will have the 3D capability.

“On testing the finished product, people at the highest level at Barco [projection supplier], DreamWorks and Dolby [sound system supplier] were ‘blown away’ with the result. We wanted to do a good job but to impress them out of the gate was a real bonus and obviously something the guest will really enjoy. It looks and sounds great.” Vlassopulos added.

Flickr photo by Monica R