Royal Caribbean Cruise Line founder, long time-president and vice chairman of the board Edwin W. Stephan is being remembered as an industry icon, following his passing on 8 November 2019, at the age of 87.
Stephan founded Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1969, and under his leadership in 1970, the company launched Song of Norway, the first ship purpose-built for warm-water cruising. His contributions over a long career helped create the modern cruise industry.
The company Stephan founded has grown into the world’s second largest cruise line, a multi-billion-dollar global company of six brands, operating 63 ships across seven continents.
During Stephan’s tenure, the company saw many innovations, including the company’s wide, open-air decks. It was Stephan’s idea for the round, cantilevered Viking Crown Lounge that gave Royal Caribbean’s ships a unique appearance. Royal Caribbean was also the first to stretch a major cruise ship by inserting an additional mid-section into Song of Norway in 1978.
“Ed was an inspiration and a great friend to many in the company,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises. “He was an honourable man who loved his family, his work and his community. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Ed’s loving wife, Helen, and the children he adored, Michael, Samantha, Gary and Kristina. He will be deeply missed by all of us here, by his many friends and by our community.”