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What Can Happen With Death At Sea

Not that there’s ever anything funny about death at sea, but here are three situations that are…well, unusual…that we have picked up in our travels (names of individuals and cruise lines not included):

* * *

A family of four is on a cruise from New York to Bermuda. The father has a heart attack and dies on the ship and in as sensitive a way as they can cruise line officials consult with the wife and her teenage children about what to do. One option is to fly the three of them with the body back to New York but they can also remain on board because the cruise is New York return.

Tearfully, the family decides to stay.

For the remainder of the cruise, ship officials keep in touch with the family — when the family can be found. The bereaved wife and children get off the ship in Bermuda, presumably to see the sights and when they get back on, there is much partying.

A day before the ship returns to New York, they visit the morgue…and there are more tears.

* * *

Newlyweds are on a Caribbean cruise, probably their honeymoon. The groom has a heart attack somewhere in the Caribbean Sea and the cruise line’s medical people can only do so much in caring for him. He has to be flown to the nearest major center, Miami.

The bride is told she can accompany her ailing husband but she declines and decides to stay on the ship. So here he is, in hospital in Miami with a serious health issue and his new bride is continuing the week-long Caribbean cruise.

It gets worse.

The wife is seen by mystified cruise people on the dance floor, night after night, and in the bars with a variety of male passengers.

* * *

This one is from a Baltic cruise, Again, it’s the Dad who collapses and dies, leaving this distraught widow and adult daughter alone early in a cruise that was almost two weeks long. Caring ship officials offer to make arrangements, as they always do, for transporting the body back to wherever his wife would like.

The wife opts to leave it in the morgue until the cruise is over.

Again, it gets worse. One of the first ports is in Finland. Off the ship go Mom and Daughter. When the ship leaves, they have not returned. They fly to the next port to get back on and take great delight in telling fellow passengers that they missed the boat because they were drunk. They went ashore at every port but didn’t miss any more departures.

Before the cruise ended in Amsterdam, the woman asked cruise officials if they could make arrangements for her husband’s body to be stored in the Dutch port because she and her daughter wanted to extend their stay in Amsterdam for a few days.

After all, isn’t that what Dad would have wanted?

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Westerdam
18 nights
October 9, 2014
San DiegoCabo San LucasPuerto ChiapasCorintoPuerto CalderaMantaSalaverryLimaLa SerenaSantiago
Inside: $1,199
Cost per day: $66

Disastrous Fallout From Cruise Ship Death

And then there's the story about the cruise line that appears to know nothing about public relations, not to mention human decency…

In a story that is all over TV and newspapers in Great Britain, a rogue wave smashed into a British "cruise ship" during a storm in the English Channel last week, breaking windows as high as the sixth deck. It was there that an elderly couple was having dinner when water crashed through four windows of the ship's restaurant, instantly killing 85-year-old James Swinstead from Essex.

The ship was the Marco Polo, operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages, and it was returning from 42 days on the other side of the world — the Amazon and the West Marco PoloIndies. While 15 others were injured, Mr. Swinstead was the only fatality and his wife Helen told The Guardian she believed the ship was "badly maintained."

The Swinsteads didn't have enough insurance coverage to take her husband to his final resting place. Said Mrs. Swinstead: "I think the shipping company should give some sort of compensation. The ship was badly maintained. Four windows blew. I told my husband it was going to leak because there was a rusty puddle on the windowsill.

Legally, the cruise line is not obliged to compensate her. In the name of public relations, you would think the cruise line would do something for her…and it did.

She was offered 25 per cent off her next holiday with the cruise line.

Can anybody say "insult?"

— photo credit: Tvabutzku

Holland America Noordam
22 nights
April 15, 2014
Rome (return): MessinaVallettaArgostoliCorfuKotorDubrovnikKorculaSplitVeniceOlympiaNauplionAthensEphesusMykonosRhodesSantoriniNaples
Inside: $1,949
Cost per day: $88

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