Welcome, enthusiasts of the sea and everything cruising! Today, we delve deep into an aspect of cruising most people don’t often think about. It’s a bit mysterious, slightly eerie, but incredibly fascinating. Do cruise ships have morgues?

It’s a question that might have crossed your mind, and we’re here to unveil the mysteries surrounding this topic. So, embark on this enlightening journey with us, as we explore the unknown and answer the questions you didn’t know you had about the afterlife at sea!

morgues on cruise ship

Do Cruise Ships Have Morgues? The Reality of Morgues on Cruise Ships

When considering a relaxing getaway on a cruise, thoughts of gourmet food, exciting activities, and picturesque sceneries come to mind, but the presence of a morgue is something that’s usually off the radar. However, the truth is, that most major cruise ships are indeed equipped with small morgues. This might seem morbid, but considering the number of passengers on board, it’s a practical necessity.

Typically, the morgues on cruise ships have space for three to six bodies, each stored in individual compartments. These spaces are crucial as they allow the crew members to maintain respect and dignity for the deceased person’s body until the ship reaches the next port.

At this juncture, the body is usually handed over to local authorities or a local medical examiner’s office, as per federal regulations and international agreements.

If the ship’s itinerary includes long days at sea, like those crossing the vast expanses of the South Pacific, having a morgue becomes even more crucial. It ensures that the dead body is preserved appropriately, avoiding any additional distress to the deceased person’s travel companions and other passengers.

What Happens When Someone Dies on a Cruise?

What happens when a passenger dies during the voyage

The question, “What happens when a passenger dies during the voyage?” is met with several considerations. Once the inevitable occurs, the cruise lines swiftly swing into action to manage the situation efficiently, ensuring minimal impact on other passengers’ experiences.

Immediate post-cruise follow-up involves the cruise line informing the families and travel companions of the deceased and offering support, including access to grief counselors.

The body is then secured in body bags and stored carefully in the ship’s morgue until the cruise ship docks at the next major port. Here, local authorities are alerted, and the necessary paperwork, including the death certificate, is processed. Often, consular offices of the deceased’s home country are also involved to help handle repatriation and communicate with the families.

Travel insurance plays a vital role in such scenarios, as it typically covers repatriation and other travel arrangements for the deceased and their travel companions, providing some relief during such distressing times.

The presence of morgues and the streamlined process for handling such unfortunate events showcase the cruise lines’ preparedness and commitment to passenger welfare, even in the face of death.

Remember, these processes are in place to respect those who have passed and to ensure the continued comfort and enjoyment of the living cruising enthusiasts on board. So, while the topic is grim, the sea of information provided here should illuminate the realities of life (and death) aboard a cruise ship, keeping surprises at bay.

Accessibility and Location of Cruise Ship Morgues

When sailing the seven seas, one would wonder if the ship’s morgue is just around the corner from the buffet. Rest easy, potential cruisers, especially those with curious little ones, cruise ship morgues are not places one can just stumble upon while exploring the ship. They are typically well-hidden in restricted areas, inaccessible to passengers, ensuring that the holiday ambiance remains undisturbed.

Cruise lines ensure these spaces are located discreetly, respecting both the deceased and the living passengers’ sensitivities. They are usually situated near medical facilities but are not a place one might accidentally discover while looking for the pool deck. Security measures are in place, keeping them off-limits to everyone except authorized crew members.

How Do Cruise Ship Morgues Differ From Regular Ones?

Cruise ship morgues

The concept of a morgue on a cruise ship might raise eyebrows, but they are not as elaborate as their counterparts on land. While regular morgues are built to conduct autopsies and house multiple bodies for longer periods, cruise ship morgues are simpler and primarily designed for temporary storage.

Cruise ship morgues focus on preserving the body in a dignified manner until it can be off-loaded at the next port, where local medical examiner’s offices and funeral homes take over. There are no autopsies performed or complex examinations conducted on board; the cruise ship’s focus remains on respecting the deceased and supporting the accompanying passengers during such times.

Is There a Morgue Staff on Cruise Ships?

qualified medical personnel on cruise ship

Worried about who handles these delicate matters at sea? Fear not! While there may not be a specialized morgue staff or a regular medical examiner on board, cruise ships are well-equipped with qualified medical personnel who handle such situations with utmost professionalism and care.

These medical practitioners, along with other crew members, are trained to manage the unforeseen demise of a passenger, following prescribed procedures to ensure dignity and respect for the departed soul.

While the sea may be vast and the journey long, the presence of experienced medical personnel on board ensures that passengers are in safe hands, even in the face of life’s final destination.

These well-structured measures ensure that your journey remains as pleasant as possible, focused on creating beautiful memories rather than worrying about the unseen realms of cruise ship operations. Keep sailing and exploring the sea with the peace of mind that every detail is taken care of, even those you’d never thought of.


As we’ve navigated the less-explored waters of cruising today, we’ve learned that, yes, cruise ships do indeed have morgues. While it’s a subject we might not often consider, it’s reassuring to know that cruise lines are prepared for all eventualities.

The presence of a morgue serves as a reminder that even amidst the grandeur and fun of a sea voyage, practicalities and unexpected events are accounted for. So, as you set sail on your next adventure, you can do so with a little more knowledge about the comprehensive services that cruise ships offer.


Do cruise ships have jails?

Yes, cruise ships do indeed have small holding areas often referred to as “brigs”. These are used when a passenger or crew member violates the cruise line’s policies severely or commits a crime onboard. It ensures the safety of others on the cruise until the ship docks at the next port, where port authorities typically take over the situation.

What happens if someone gets sick on a cruise ship?

When someone falls ill on a cruise ship, they are immediately attended to by the onboard medical staff. Cruise lines are fitted with medical facilities to address a variety of health problems. If the illness is severe, the ship may divert to the nearest port, where the passenger can receive more extensive medical care. Meanwhile, fellow cruisers continue their voyage, often unaware of the medical drama unfolding.

What are the chances of dying on a cruise ship?

The chances of a passenger dying on a cruise are relatively low. Most people set foot on a cruise ship to enjoy a relaxing vacation and experience the joys of sailing. However, with many cruisers being older passengers, natural causes, or pre-existing health conditions can lead to unfortunate incidents, but they remain rare amidst the sea of joyful cruise experiences.

Which celebrity cruise ship improperly stored a dead body?

In 2013, a grievance arose against Celebrity Cruises involving their vessel, the Celebrity Equinox. A woman from Florida, along with her family, pursued legal action against the cruise line, alleging the improper handling and storage of her late husband’s body. Instead of utilizing the cruise ship morgue, it was claimed the body was inappropriately placed in the ship’s cooler following his passing on the cruise.

Has there ever been a killer on a cruise ship?

While cruise ships are generally a haven of relaxation and fun, there have been rare and isolated incidents of serious crimes, including murder, occurring onboard. These unfortunate instances are diligently handled by the cruise lines and relevant authorities, ensuring the safety and well-being of the other passengers and crew members during the voyage.