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Do cruise ships have morgues?

Nov. 10, 2022
3 min read
Do cruise ships have morgues?
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Nobody wants to think about what could go wrong on vacation, but at some point, you might find yourself offhandedly wondering about cruise ship morgues. Do they exist? Where are they housed? What happens if someone dies on a cruise ship?

Are there morgues on cruise ships?

Yes, there are morgues on most of the world's largest cruise ships. The larger the ship, the larger the morgue's capacity. Vessels are also required to carry body bags.

Cruise morgues are stainless steel refrigerated rooms with shelves where bodies are stored, either until the end of the voyage or until they can be disembarked in a port of call and repatriated.

Morgues are located on ships' lowest decks, generally along what the crew refers to as "I-95" — the long corridor that runs from one end of the vessel to the other. It houses storage for everything from food and alcohol to fresh flowers and miscellaneous ship equipment. (Don't worry; the morgues are kept well away from areas where food is stored.)

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What happens when someone dies on a cruise ship?

All cruise lines have procedures in place to handle the situation if someone dies during a sailing. When it happens, ship officials immediately notify shoreside authorities. Members of the medical team will assess, and the body will be moved to the morgue until further arrangements can be made.

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The onboard team is equipped to assist the deceased's travel companions with things like emotional support, notification of family members, and arrangements for early disembarkation and repatriation.

Returning a body home is expensive if the person who died didn't live close to where their body is removed from the vessel. The cost associated with it is the responsibility of the passenger or their family or other travel companions, rather than the cruise line. (Note that some travel insurance policies offer coverage for it.)

How soon a body can be offloaded depends on several factors, including local regulations, where the ship is in its itinerary and where the vessel is flagged. Generally, remains are removed from ships in the next major port of call, where the proper infrastructure exists to handle them.

Got more cruise questions? TPG has answers:

Featured image by ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees