Many of you followed my thread from a year ago when my brother-in-law got sick while on the Coral Princess and subsequently passed away. He wanted to be cremated and sent out to sea, so we planned a family cruise on the January 5-15, 2011 Sapphire Princess, and I arranged with Princess to distribute his ashes.
The purpose of this thread is to provide information for those who might be considering this. It's illegal to do this on your own without permission or within 12 miles of the U.S. so please keep this in mind if you respond.
On April 16, 2010, I faxed my request to the Princess Marine Department, 661-753-0214, and included my full name, booking #, cruise # and date, cabin #, phone # and email address. I received an email response on April 19th from Janine Curry, Secretary to Alan Wilson, Vice President, Marine Operations, with the approval and a letter which I've copied below:
"Thank you for your request to spread ashes while at sea during your cruise onboard the Sapphire Princess, cruise #H102N, commencing January 5, 2011.
"We would like to inform you of the following:
* Ashes must be contained in a biodegradable urn
* Ashes/Flowers may only be spread in International waters
* In accordance with environmental laws, only ashes, biodegradeable urns and biodegradeable flowers are permitted to be spread overboard. Cards, paper, metals, plastics and other non-biodegradeable items are not permitted.
* Our ships do not employ a Chaplain
"The ship will be notified of your request and you shall be contacted while onboard. You will be informed of an appropriate time to carry out the spreading of the ashes. A member of the ship's company will escort you to a suitable private location and stay with you during this time."
Once onboard, I went down to the Passenger Services Desk with a copy of the above letter. Naturally, no one at Princess had notified the ship, but not to worry. I received a call from Trent, from Customer Service, the next morning and he told me he would check with the navigator to find out what days and times would be possible. He called me back the next morning to say that any time our third sea day on our way to Acapulco would be fine. After conferring with my sister, we set a time of 11am.
We all arrived at the Passenger Services Desk at about 10:45am and were met by Manuel, who was going to help us. He had arranged for a gorgeous flower arrangement (at no cost) for us to toss with the ashes and led us up to deck 7 aft. He had two crew members stationed on both sides of the ship who closed off the back of Promenade deck after we passed by. We went to the very back of the ship and had a few quiet moments while my nephew opened the box and then sent Jim's ashes out to sea. I followed with the wreath. We stayed there for about 10 minutes, each wrapped in our own thoughts and memories. It was very short and simple.
Princess couldn't have been more supportive or sympathetic. They were respectful, and it was just the way my brother-in-law would have wanted it, and my sister was comfortable with.
The above is not for everyone, obviously, but in case this is yours or your loved one's wishes, I wanted to share.
Here is a photo of the gorgeous wreath. My sister wanted to keep it and take it back to her cabin.
It was too beautiful to toss.