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Irish Man Who Went Overboard on Atlantis Gay Cruise Identified: Family Seeks Answers

Last Friday I posted about a man who went overboard on the 'Allure of the Seas' Atlantis gay cruise off of Cozumel, Mexico in the Caribbean. That man has now been identified as 30-year-old Kenneth John Gemmell, a native of Bailieborough, Co Cavan, Ireland. Gemmell was a flight attendant with UAE airlines stationed in Dubai.

GemmellIn a statement, Royal Caribbean indicated that Gemmell was seen going overboard at 7:10 am local time and that fact was confirmed by surveillance cameras aboard the ship.

Edward Owen at The Examiner reports that the family is seeking information to bring some closure to their situation:

They are issuing an appeal to anyone on board the ship who might have met Kenneth during the cruise, to touch base with them.  And they particularly would like to hear from the person who witnessed him going overboard.  The family has said they want nothing more than to understand what drove their son, who had just turned 30 last Tuesday, to this.

The family says that some information has already come their way.  One party told them that Kenneth may have been arguing with a ship's crew member (perhaps a bartender) in one of the bars late Thursday night or early Friday morning.  They were also told that the crew member, a man they understood was sharing a room with a Canadian citizen, left the ship in Cozumel.

Because of the lack of information, a family spokesman told that some members of the family are finding it hard to accept that Kenneth actually went overboard.

Anyone who has information on this tragedy is asked to email Michael at  The family says they just want to know what happened to their son.

Ireland's Daily Celt has also confirmed the man's identity.

Just a suggestion, but perhaps Royal Caribbean could share their CCTV footage with the family if, as they say, they have it.

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  1. Thank you Jeff, as a suicide survivor, it gives comfort to the family and friends to get some knowledge of why he committed suicide (if that was the case). I was on the Allure last year and agree with other passengers those railings are higher than usual (because its a ship geared towards families). So if anybody has any information for John's family, please contact them.

    Posted by: KMC | Feb 8, 2012 11:15:46 PM


    Posted by: Shannon | Feb 8, 2012 11:35:35 PM

  3. In all of the postings and comments can you tell us was his body ever found???

    Posted by: aj | Feb 8, 2012 11:41:53 PM

  4. I was just on the Oasis 2 weeks ago (sister to Allure). If he jumped off the aft open balcony area on deck 11, it is definitely on tape. There was not a single place that you could stand on the balcony and not be on camera. Yes, I actually looked because I wondering if they would put extra cameras after the George Smith incident, and it looks like the newer ships are well covered by surveillance.
    And the railings are very high, at least 48"-54" high.

    Posted by: jack | Feb 9, 2012 12:09:44 AM

  5. AJ, to date a body has not been reported as discovered. I believe the active search has, at this point, ceased.

    Posted by: Jeff | Feb 9, 2012 1:09:57 AM

  6. Contrary to what an earlier commenter said, this particular situation was very unusual. The captain told us this was the first such case he'd ever experienced in his 20 years sailing.

    Posted by: Jim Hopkins | Feb 9, 2012 1:46:37 AM

  7. @ SHANNON :

    F*&K off !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 9, 2012 2:59:08 AM

  8. This is just horrible and sad news. I went on the Allure last year. It is a big ship. I was reading the alumni web site of Atlantis and there is a story of gentleman who actually was with Kenneth dancing at Blaze, which is one of the night clubs. The last time he saw Kenneth was 5AM. Apparently, they had gone to Kenneth's room so he could change and according to the guy, Kenneth was very drunk and loud, but the roommate did not mind. They went back to the club and he hung around with him. Kenneth wanted him to stay longer and hang with him at the dance club, but he couldn't as he was very tired. Earlier, Kenneth had told him he was not enjoying the cruise and didn't want to be alone as he was celebrating his birthday all week.

    Makes me wonder if this might have been more of an accident under a "black out" as the guy wrote that Kenneth seemed very drunk.

    I hope that guy who was with him at Blaze night club contacts Kenneth's family (their information is also on the Atlantis alumni web site.)

    It really is so sad to hear this, no matter how or why he died. Tragic indeed, especially for his family. My prayers are with them in their loss.

    Posted by: FunMe | Feb 9, 2012 4:38:02 AM

  9. As a parent of three I choke up imagining that family hearing this. The only way people seem to be able to stay up partying til five is some party drug- not unheard of on these ships. When I get up at 7 to get coffee, I see them stumbling out of the clubs and they are totally incoherent. Every. Single. One. To the point where it's an obvious safety hazard. I wonder how they survive, and the fact is that several don't. Every year.

    I peek in to Blaze and see the RCCI staff posted all around like guards. It's easy to see why- some struggle with their balance, and the ship can lurch. They dehydrate, and most years some die. There's an alpha, alpha, alpha triple page which means someone has collapsed or died, so we can all count them. Tempting to report it to the CDC, because the mortality from these parties is gallingly high.

    I like these cruises because of the festival atmosphere, the great entertainment, the hot guys, there's great sex, I can relax. What I don't like is the environmental impact of the ship, I get diarrhea each and every year, and I have to see people dying. Net-net I still go, but the glow is fading.

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 9, 2012 5:01:33 AM

  10. Not to spread speculation, but if the cruise line footage shows him climbing on a table before going overboard, it could have been an accident, in the sense that he misjudged the risk of falling overboard.

    In the cruise critic board, someone posted a photo of the event by the Aqua Theatre on the stern. If you look on the upper left decks, it appears two men are standing on tables there. Of course, it is unrelated to the tragedy but it illustrates that people stand on tables and underestimate the risks.

    Posted by: Angela Channing | Feb 9, 2012 6:34:57 AM

  11. @Rob... You are overstating the deaths on these cruises... In fact, they are very rare. I do agree that there have been a few deaths from risky behavior over the years and hopefully that serves as a wake up call to others who wish to take chances with drugs. There is no evidence that this particular death was caused by drugs or alcohol.

    Posted by: JP | Feb 9, 2012 7:26:27 AM

  12. Rob, you clearly have keyboard diarrhea. People rarely die at circuit parties, not since GHB went out of fashion in the late 90s. And Ecstasy and Meth, the drugs rampant at these parties, don't have the effects you described. Try again.

    Posted by: endo | Feb 9, 2012 8:46:53 AM

  13. I am an Irishman and a family connection with this missing young man kenneth Gemmell, From the Bailieboro area of County cavan in Ireland. i act on behalf of the family who are completely devestated. We would like to make contact with the man believed to be canadian with him. Anyone you may have seen Kenny late on thurs night in the bar, he may have had a dispute with this bartender who was said to have been selling drugs. Do the bar tenders work for Atlantis or for the Royal Carribean. Is there anyone else out there who met Kenny during his holiday. Was he happy and in good form. Does anyone know the idenity of the person who reported seeing the fall and where did they see it from.Some one said that there is footage of two men seen standing on a table.kenny was last seen by him mother and sisters in Dublin on 15th january when he stopped off on a flight from UAE airlines whom he worked for and he gave his xmas presents to his family that day. Thats their last pic of him and its the one that is posted here. If you know anything of help or assistance please contact me, its michael Hynes and my emailis; I'm also on facebook ;

    Posted by: michael hynes | Feb 9, 2012 10:10:15 AM

  14. In the past decade 176 people have gone overboard on cruise ships. What the captain said in his announcement that in "his" 20+ years it had not happened to him that they hadn't recovered the body or rescued the passenger, which is normally the case. On a ship the size of the Allure, whether he fell or jumped, we'll probably never know, if the fall itself from deck 11 didn't kill him, he would have been puled under the boat from the engines. Someone told us that wake created by the Allure extends back a few thousand feet and most small vessels will not cross it.

    I had heard it was from a stateroom and that they had found the balcony table pressed to the rail. Again, we'll probably never know. Hopefully his family will get some closure. To echo Endo, deaths at circuit parties and few and far, FAR between. I've been attending them around the world for the better part of two decades and have yet to hear of one, or one that wasn't an accident, (a fall or the like) but NOT an overdose. That's just a lack of understanding of the affects of the kinds of drugs taken.

    Binge drinking overdoses? By the thousands per year. Party drugs? Not so much.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Feb 9, 2012 10:18:25 AM

  15. I was also on this cruise and having done 20 with Atlantis this was one of the most amazing cruises ever!
    Those who were there know the truth of the Atlantis experience versus the mass generalizations and false assumptions of our jaded and obviously bitter gay bretren. Just as in life-every experience is what you make it. Give me 4,500 gay/bi men from all over the world in every shape and size(in skimpy speedos) sailing the blue caribbean waters with spectacular entertainment and dance parties daily over listening to ignorant politicans,hateful religious leaders,sports figures and actors blathering on about denying us our humanity.
    If you don't know what your talking about then it's best to STFU already.
    I hope Kenneth's family and friends find peace with their loss.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Feb 9, 2012 1:17:34 PM

  16. Everyone was obviously too high to notice a damn thing.

    p.s. cruises are super tacky

    Posted by: michael | Feb 9, 2012 2:02:59 PM

  17. I feel bad for the family.

    @ REDBALL... I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU. I worked on cruise ships for two years AND produced production shows for 4... and I've seen it all, including passengers that have 'gone missing.' So, the question is WHY is a passenger ABLE to jump/fall from their cabin balcony? The answer is money. It's all about MONEY. The cruise line industry builds these HUGE ships, BIGGER and BIGGER each year, so huge you don't even feel like your moving on the ocean, with hotel lobbies that look like the inside of NORDSTROMS, and the LAST thing these ship designers/builders think about is PASSENGER SAFETY. Fill 'em up and we'll deal with the bad stuff when it happens. Sure, they'll give you your own life jacket, but when the ship goes down, and they go down FAST, I'm afraid you won't have enough time to run back to your cabin and grab your life jacket, because your cabin is UNDER WATER! @ Redball... I'm with you... FLYING is MUCH safer and will get you to your destination MUCH quicker.

    Posted by: Jeff R. | Feb 9, 2012 7:19:44 PM

  18. We were also at this cruise. The incident shocked us and we want to express our symphaties to the family.

    Posted by: Martin Post Uiterweer | Feb 9, 2012 8:34:27 PM

  19. People die, often multiple people, on every Atlantis cruise, I've heard. It's what happens when you add staggering amounts of alcohol to thousands of gay men binging on an equally staggering amount of drugs. I'm sire his wasn't the only death on that cruise.

    Posted by: Tom | Feb 10, 2012 3:08:09 AM

  20. Gotta answer back- what I didn't add is that I'm a physician and I have directly observed these people, so I feel very comfortable saying it's very dangerous. I send people to the ER for half that level of impairment and even they can be on thin ice.

    There is simply no way to say that these party drugs are safe. It's been worked out. You don't know who makes them, what the dose is, the people supplying them tend not to be scholarly and they have your life in their hands. The fact is we don't know the true mortality figures because they are not gathered, but they should be. I'm not sure at-sea deaths are reported to any county coroner. Yes one takes risks to have fun, myself included, and I'm not saying these cruises should be abolished. I think it's reasonable to reassess risk and manage it when young, previously healthy people die. Sound fair?

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 10, 2012 7:41:05 AM

  21. I was on the cruise too. Not long after the incident, someone said that a suicide note had been found saying that he "couldn't find love" or words to that effect. Later I heard he had a fight with his boyfriend. Both of these may be true, only one, or neither. Just posting since no one else has mentioned this.

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 13, 2012 5:09:16 AM

  22. I don't know what is more tragic. The loss of a human life or the loss of humanity. Shame on all of you here who are using this somber event to project your hatred of certain aspects of gay culture and showcase your self loathing. Leave the gay cruise out of it. Suicide can happen anywhere. A dancer from XL jumped to his death from the George Washington bridge here in NYC just this past Saturday. While we will never know what causes someone to go through with such a drastic step, is important to bless the life lost and remember to talk and pull each other up.

    Lets pay attention and look after each other. If you or someone you know is in crisis and contemplating suicide, call the TREVOR PROJECT 1-866-488-7386

    Posted by: Corey | Feb 13, 2012 1:24:15 PM

  23. seems crazy for parties

    Posted by: Party Holic Dubai | Mar 7, 2012 6:13:10 AM

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