A Japanese passenger died onboard my westbound Pacific crossing cruise on Crystal Harmony. I saw the body removed from the ship in a bodybag. The ship's doctor was in attendance while the local police at Dutch Harbor Alaska removed the body. Relatives from Japan may have flown to Alaska to recover their loved one.
If that is a concern then I suggest that you make pre-arrangements with a funeral director or a private Cremation society. When you do this You should purchase travel insurance that will cover your expenses should you die abroad or wherever. If you die in international waters you will be taken to the nearest port, there you will be imbalmed or creamated which ever you had arranged. Here is where the world wide insurance will kick in. Assist America is the largest company that deals with the disposition AA will take care of all the paper work and arrangements to retreive the deceased and return them to there own country. I'm not plugging for AA but I have arranged my cremation and when I purchased it I had the option to buy the World wide insurance which is a one time fee.No matter where I die in the world I will retreived by AA and brought back to my family. One phone call by a family member takes care of the whole matter. Have a great cruise and just use your head about pre-arrangements , do it then put it in the closet for the rest of your life and your family will be greatful for your forsight not to leave them guessing as to what to do. Pre-arrangements must be made before AA will cover you.
Under normal situations, if the ship is AT SEA ... the corpse is temporarily stored in special freezer onboard the vessel until the ship docks at its next destination or Port of Call. After berthing and clearance have been given by the different Port Authorities, the corpse is offloaded and accompanied by the spouse or family member and escorted by the Ship's Port Agent. Of course, that's granting that the dead Guest was with the spouse or any family member ... and not with the mistress or lover. In this case, then the Port Agent notifies his / her next of kin wherever he / she is from. Then, the necessary paperwork is pushed to accomodate the legal aspects.
Take note: Under no circumstance shall I allow the corpse to be stored in any of my food compartments (whether chiller or freezer) due to sanitation requirements
I saw someone taken off my Panama Canal cruise (near Panama City) while we were still cruising....it was quite sad. Just a body bag and a suitcase. No loved ones accompanying them. I remember hoping that the family would not have a terrible ordeal getting their loved one home.
On the NCL Pride of Aloha, there is a morgue and there are body bags. A passenger died May 5th 2004 just before we docked in Mexico. The patients wife disembarked that day with her and her husbands luggage. The body was also disembarked. Mexico's policy on this is that the body be transported back to the US as livestock cargo. Kinda wierd if you ask me.
My mother passed away at sea June 21, 2003 less than 12 hours out from Baltimore. I was not able to see her once they removed her from the room, I was told she was placed in the morgue. When we docked in Key West she was taking off beford anyone else by the funeral home and embalmed and then flown home. But not with my little boy and I. We flew Monday and she flew Wednesday. I was not allowed to watch her body being taken off the ship. This was Celebrity Galaxy