Cruises are an exciting holiday option for many people and, despite the gargantuan size of the floating hotels, they are in fact very safe. However, things do still go wrong on board and there are an estimated 200 passenger deaths a year onboard cruise ships, according to The Telegraph. Nevertheless, these deaths are nearly all due to natural causes, with most a result of age-related illnesses. Despite cruises becoming increasingly popular with young people, the average age of a British cruise passenger was 56 in both 2017 and 2016, according to industry figures.
Cruises: Cruise ship worker reveals terrifying discovery of dead body on board
Deaths on board a cruise ship are never pleasant and one former cruise worker has revealed a time a horrifying discovery was made on board.
“Each ship has a morgue on board to keep the bodies cold until they’re transported ported off at the next homeport,” said ex-cruise employee Jay Herring in his book, The Truth About Cruise Ships.
“But sometimes the number of bodies exceed the morgue’s capacity and the walk-in food freezers have to be used.
“One time a chef rolled some meat out of the freezer and unwrapped it to find a human foot poking out.
“A body had been stored there but no one had told him. He started screaming and ran out of the galley and was so terrified that the doctor had to tranquillise him.”
When someone dies on a cruise ship, some cruise lines use the announcement “Operation Bright Star” to alerts the crew to the death of a passenger.
The body is then zipped up in a body bag and put in the ship’s morgue. There is usually space for three or four bodies on board.
Tina Molson, 52, from Cleethorpes, who worked in an onboard duty-free shop from 2002 to 2010, revealed they had a particularly morbid name for this place.
“There was often a death on board,” she said. “On one ship we had a shop storeroom next to the freezer room where the bodies were stored. We called it the 'coffin locker.’”
One cruise line told the Telegraph that bodies are offloaded as soon as possible via an exit away from the passenger gangway.
Next, a death certificate will be issued and the body repatriated. Costs are the responsibility of the deceased person’s family but should be covered by travel insurance.
Alternatively, the body can remain on board and return home on the ship - enabling the partner of the deceased to continue with the trip.
Jay Herring has revealed that if passengers are nervous about anything going wrong on a cruise ship it should be fire.
It’s “the most dangerous and likely thing” to happen he said.
However, cruisers do need to worry too much as he adds “major incidents are extremely rare.”
Herring said: “Ships employ dedicated firemen, who, in the event of an onboard fire, don full protective clothing complete with masks and air tanks.”