All cruise ships are required by law to carry a supply of body bags and have a morgue that will hold from three to six bodies. If a small morgue is full, then the crew will improvise and use a freezer until the ship gets to a place for the bodies to be disembarked. Most people don't realize that they will be traveling with a morgue when they book their cruise no matter which ship they choose.
Number of people who die onboard
It is estimated that at least 200 people per year die on cruises. According to a post on Reddit, a cruise ship worker claimed to see at least three deaths a month. Not only do some passengers die, but sometimes crew members die as well. The causes of the deaths vary. Older travelers sometimes die from natural causes. Other deaths are the result of heart attacks, strokes, overdoses, accidents, suicides, and falling overboard. Murders are rare, but they do happen by strangling, stabbing, or pushing someone overboard.
What Happens With Somebody Dies on a Cruise?
When someone dies on a cruise ship, crew members use codes to prevent passengers from knowing about the death. The code for a serious medical problem is "operation bright start." The code for death is "operation rising star."
Bodies are stored in the onboard morgue for up to a week or until the ship docks at an appropriate port. Then the body will be flown home. If the cause of death is unknown or suspicious, the case will be investigated by local authorities.
If you plan to go on a cruise, make sure you and your companions get insurance. In case of death, the ship does not pay for flying the body back home and other added expenses.