Edwin W. Stephan Dies at 87

Edwin W. Stephan
Edwin W. Stephan

By The Maritime Executive 11-09-2019 06:46:16

Edwin W. Stephan, the founder, long time-president, and vice chairman of the board of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, died on November 8 at the age of 87. 

Stephan founded the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1969. Under his leadership in 1970, the company launched Song of Norway, the first ship purpose-built for warm-water cruising. Since that initial voyage, Stephan's fledgling company 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 industry firsts, including the line's wide, open-air decks, and it was Stephan's idea for the round, cantilevered Viking Crown Lounge that made Royal Caribbean ships unique. 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. He was an honorable man who loved his family, his work and his community," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "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."

A family only service will be held to honor Stephan's memory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory to be made to Mount Sinai Miami Medical Center Foundation in honor of his physician, Eugene J. Sayfie M.D. By Mail: 4300 Alton Road, Ascher Building #100, Miami Beach, Florida 33140.