Carnival Cruise Ship Passenger Dies During Trip to Bahamas

An elderly cruise ship passenger passed away onboard a Carnival Cruise Line vessel this week while the ship was on a five-day trip around the Bahamas, officials say.

A company spokesperson confirmed yesterday the victim was an 81-year-old woman, with the cause of death currently believed to be natural causes, WCIV reported. She had been traveling on the Carnival Sunshine cruise liner, which is based out of Charleston, South Carolina.

The full identity of the victim and exact time of death remain unreleased. Carnival Cruise Line has been contacted for additional information.

"Carnival's Care team provided support and assistance to the guest's family and traveling companions," the spokesperson, Vance Gulliksen, told WCSC yesterday. "We offer our most sincere condolences to the guest's family, friends and loved ones," he added.

The Carnival Sunshine returned to Charleston port Thursday morning, officials said. The company website says medical staff are available to all passengers 24 hours a day during excursions.

A Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson recently told Cruise Critic that staff are trained to be "proactive" when an unfortunate death of a passenger occurs on a trip. Crew provide emotional support to the person's friends or family, make travel arrangements and give free internet/phone use.

But there are still limits to what they can do. "Carnival Care Team members are trained to deal with grieving people, but they are not grief counselors," the spokesperson said. "They are trained to help deal with the details of repatriating a body and [contacting] a funeral home."

The passing of the 81-year-old woman was unrelated to the major health scare that broke out on a separate Carnival Cruise Line vessel, the Costa Smeralda, earlier this week.

As reported, about 6,000 were quarantined onboard the ship at the port of Civitavecchia, Italy, after a passenger was suspected of having coronavirus—linked to over 200 deaths globally.

Medical checks have since given all passengers the all-clear.

"Carnival Corporation and the Italian brand Costa Cruises have confirmed that Italian health officials diagnosed a passenger on board a ship docked in Civitavecchia, north of Rome, Italy with the common flu," the company said in a statement posted to its website.

"The ship will resume its Mediterranean program on Friday. Guests who should have disembarked today can either disembark or remain on board overnight, at their discretion. All guests scheduled to embark today will be accommodated in hotels near the port and embark on Friday."

Cruise company Royal Caribbean said excursions on its Shanghai-based Spectrum of the Seas ship would be canceled due to the outbreak, including trips departing over the next week.

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, was yesterday declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Carnival Sunshine cruise ship
File photo of the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship. iStock