Royal Caribbean founder remembered as industry icon

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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.

Edwin W. Stephan, the founder, long time-president, and vice chairman of the board of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

Image: RCL

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.”

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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