Death is never an easy topic, but it’s especially difficult when it happens while traveling. Cruise ships are no exception.
Death on a cruise ship can be a confusing and sometimes difficult situation for the family of the deceased, as well as the cruise line. So what do they do if someone dies on a cruise ship?
The first step is to contact the local authorities in the vicinity of the cruise ship. Depending on where the death occurred, this may include local law enforcement, medical personnel, and other government agencies.
The authorities will investigate and document all aspects of the death, including any contributing factors that may have been involved. The investigation may take several days or weeks to complete.
Once local authorities have completed their investigation, it is up to the cruise line to determine how best to handle the situation. Generally speaking, if a passenger dies onboard or in port due to natural causes or an accident, then the body will be taken off of the vessel and transported back to their home country for burial or cremation. If there are any questions regarding cause of death or possible foul play, then additional steps must be taken by both law enforcement and medical personnel before clearance can be given for transport off of the vessel.
If a passenger dies while at sea without clear cause of death or evidence of foul play, then it is up to the captain of the vessel and/or medical personnel onboard to make a determination as to whether they believe that further investigation is necessary. In these cases, they may choose to transport the body back home for further examination or have it buried at sea depending on their findings and regulations in place within international waters.
No matter how someone passes away while on board a cruise ship, there are protocols in place designed to both honor their life and also protect those who remain onboard from any potential harm that could arise from an unresolved death situation. Cruises lines work hard with local authorities and medical personnel to ensure that these protocols are followed carefully and with respect for all involved.
In conclusion: Cruise lines take death on board very seriously and will do whatever possible within international regulations in order to ensure that both legal requirements are met and also respect given towards those affected by such a tragedy. Depending on where it occurs and what caused it, bodies may be transported back home for burial/cremation or buried at sea with proper documentation being completed no matter which option is chosen by those involved in making such decisions.