What Happens if Someone Dies on Cruise Ship?

By Robert Palmer

Cruise ships are a popular option for vacationers looking to explore international waters and visit many different places. Unfortunately, what happens if someone dies on board a cruise ship can be a complicated situation. Depending on the circumstances, the death can be a legal issue, as well as a medical one.

When someone dies on a cruise ship, it is important to ensure that the death is properly documented and reported to the relevant authorities. The first step is for the ship’s medical personnel to declare the person dead and document their findings. This will help to ensure that any legal matters such as insurance claims are taken care of in an orderly manner.

The next step is for the cruise line to contact their local consulate or embassy in order to get further information about what happens if someone dies on board one of their ships. Depending on where the ship is located, there may be various legal requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for the deceased person’s body and possessions to be repatriated back home. In some cases, this may require an autopsy or other tests in order to determine cause of death.

In addition to any legal or medical issues that may arise from a death on board a cruise ship, there are also emotional considerations. Not only is it difficult for family and friends of the deceased person to cope with their loss while they are away from home, but it can also be traumatic for other passengers onboard who witnessed or were aware of what happened.


Overall, what happens if someone dies on board a cruise ship can involve complicated legal and medical issues that must be addressed in order for justice and closure to be achieved. It is important for those involved with such circumstances to understand all of their options in order ensure that all parties involved receive proper care and attention during such an unfortunate event.