Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi friends - My father passed away in 2016 after a lengthy illness. He was cremated. He loved Alaska and our family thought it would be a loving gesture to scatter part of his ashes in Alaska. 

 

I've researched the legalities about scattering ashes at sea. My question is - 

 

Is it allowed to scatter ashes off of a cruise ship if the captain is aware? Do cruise lines ever allow families to do this? 

 

Thanks ahead of time. ❤️

 

Marna 

Edited by wordsjustfly
Spelling
Link to post
Share on other sites

Most cruise lines have a representative at their home office who handles these requests. Usually you must scatter them from a very low deck; arrangements need to be made in advance to open the hatch for you. Even when the ship is stationary just tossing some overboard from the promenade deck will likely see most of the cremains either blown back in your face or up against the side of the hull. You must bring them aboard in an approved transport container made of wood or another bio-degradable material. Similar to airline carry-on rules you cannot transport ashes in a metal urn. Or put "part of their ashes" in a homemade container--it is strongly advised to have a funeral home secure them properly and give you a letter confirming the container is sufficiently sealed for transport by common carrier.

 

Beyond the rather cold technicalities I have read of several instances where the cruise line was quite sympathetic to the family's needs. Often a ship's officer or whomever is volunteering to lead the non-denominational service that cruise (assuming you are on a line that still offers one) will offer to accompany the family. Usually a floral arrangement will be gifted as well.

 

Of course there is no charge for this service, just the need to arrange in advance (especially if flying to the port). On a personal note I have thought about doing the same for my mom--but the family members who I would invite along on the cruise all seem to be opposed. Somehow when my mother made her "pre-need arrangements" many, many years ago she chose a wooden container that was delivered to me with a letter from the funeral home stating she is TSA-approved. As if she knew what the rules would be in 2017 just in case I chose to take her someplace far away...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fishywood is correct.  Except that in most cases you cannot "scatter" the ashes.  There are various bio-degradable urns from ones like papier mache to salt urns.  The least expensive is the best choice, the paper ones.  The urn is dropped from the ship.  Once this is arranged with the cruise line, you will be notified onboard of the time and where to meet the Environmental Officer (mainly to ensure that nothing prohibited goes over), who will take your party usually to the aft mooring deck for you to have your ceremony, as noted they typically give a floral arrangement.  They will later give you a document listing the longitude and latitude of where the ceremony was held.  Do not put ashes in a homemade container, as you will not be allowed to put this over the side.  You must have the certificate of bio-degradability with you that the manufacturer will send with the urn.

 

As noted, you will need a certificate from a mortuary for transport of remains, whether you fly or not, and the TSA website has the requirements for flying with remains.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, wordsjustfly said:

Hi friends - My father passed away in 2016 after a lengthy illness. He was cremated. He loved Alaska and our family thought it would be a loving gesture to scatter part of his ashes in Alaska. 

 

I've researched the legalities about scattering ashes at sea. My question is - 

 

Is it allowed to scatter ashes off of a cruise ship if the captain is aware? Do cruise lines ever allow families to do this? 

 

Thanks ahead of time. ❤️

 

Marna 

 

Below is a link to a thread on the Celebrity Board a couple months back on an individual's experience doing exactly what you want.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for your loss.  I think your idea is a touching way to honor your father.

 

I see you have quite a few cruises on NCL.  If, though, you happen to take a Carnival ship to Alaska, I know that you can go to John Heald's Facebook page and leave a request for him on the Visitor's Posts.  He will respond, and Carnival will make all the arrangements for you.

 

I would assume that there are contacts at other lines who offer the same service.  Letting them guide you through the legalities and planning should help you focus more on the life and memories of your dad.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Top_of_the_Cube said:

Sorry for your loss.  I think your idea is a touching way to honor your father.

 

I see you have quite a few cruises on NCL.  If, though, you happen to take a Carnival ship to Alaska, I know that you can go to John Heald's Facebook page and leave a request for him on the Visitor's Posts.  He will respond, and Carnival will make all the arrangements for you.

 

I would assume that there are contacts at other lines who offer the same service.  Letting them guide you through the legalities and planning should help you focus more on the life and memories of your dad.

 

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful reply .   I would be going with my entire family so we haven't selected a cruise line as of yet. I know my vote would be for Norwegian Cruise line but other family members have their favorites so that's our first hurdle is to all decide together which cruise line we're going to travel with 🙂

 

Again thank you so much – this information has all been so helpful. 

 

I know I don't need to say this but I kind of feel I must -  I would never ever think about bringing ashes aboard a ship without bringing them in the container in which we receive them from which is from the funeral home.  And I have a death certificate of course.  And I know all about flying with ashes and what TSA's requirements are.  Thankfully we would just be driving to Seattle because we live in the Pacific Northwest. 

 

 Thank you all for your input, suggestions and advice I appreciate it you are all extraordinarily brilliant in your information.   And again  "Top of the Cube"  Thank you for your kind words it's been tough.  And I think my dad would love this. 

 

Marna 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, wordsjustfly said:

I know I don't need to say this but I kind of feel I must -  I would never ever think about bringing ashes aboard a ship without bringing them in the container in which we receive them from which is from the funeral home.  And I have a death certificate of course.  And I know all about flying with ashes and what TSA's requirements are.  Thankfully we would just be driving to Seattle because we live in the Pacific Northwest. 

 

Marna, from the bottom of my heart I apologize for responding to your questions pedantically rather than sympathetically. I hope trying to explain myself does not distress you further, but...

 

"Scatter part of his ashes in Alaska" had me picturing someone divvying up their loved one into a bunch of used margarine tubs. 

"I've researched the legalities about scattering ashes at sea" reads as if you were thinking that you needn't consult with the cruise line In researching the formalities. Combined with "Is it allowed...if the captain is aware?" I just want to be sure it was clear that the ship must be aware well in advance--one cannot just ask for permission after boarding. 

 

Sadly there are too many stories out there of irretrievably losing ashes due to silly carelessness. I just didn't want anyone who happened to read this thread to have to suffer that.

 

It has been just under two years since my mother passed away and I have already taken three cruises. I see by your signature you have taken at least one. I do hope it brought back peaceful memories of one of your loved one's favorite pastimes as it did for me. As should you go ahead with this may it be a celebration of life for you and your family.

 

 

 

Edited by fishywood
Link to post
Share on other sites

Fishywood no apology necessary. 😊 First of all I am sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is pretty brutal. 

 

I've been on four cruises all with NCL. I am by no means an expert on anything 🙂


When I say that I have researched the legalities I mean I've read, called and emailed about the scattering ashes/cremains I've have learned the following:

 

Spreading Ashes at Sea Is Allowed.

 

According to the EPA, burial at sea of human remains – cremated or not – is permitted, but there are several scattering ashes laws and regulations that you need to follow:


1    Any type of remains, including ashes, can

      only be placed in the ocean 3 nautical miles

      from land or more.


    2    Ashes can be scattered from a boat or  

           airplane.


2         Only biodegradable urns may be used.

           Anything placed in the water must easily

           decompose in a marine environment.


    4    You can release flowers or wreaths into

           the water, but they must decompose

           easily.


    5    While a permit is not required, you must  

           report the burial to the EPA within 30      

          days.
    6    Pet cremains may not be spread at sea

          without a special permit.

 

So my question to the forum was truly inquiring if cruise ships allowed that kind of take place. That’s all. 👍

Edited by wordsjustfly
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, wordsjustfly said:

Fishywood no apology necessary. 😊 First of all I am sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is pretty brutal. 

 

I've been on four cruises all with NCL. I am by no means an expert on anything 🙂


When I say that I have researched the legalities I mean I've read, called and emailed about the scattering ashes/cremains I've have learned the following:

 

Spreading Ashes at Sea Is Allowed.

 

According to the EPA, burial at sea of human remains – cremated or not – is permitted, but there are several scattering ashes laws and regulations that you need to follow:


1    Any type of remains, including ashes, can

      only be placed in the ocean 3 nautical miles

      from land or more.


    2    Ashes can be scattered from a boat or  

           airplane.


2         Only biodegradable urns may be used.

           Anything placed in the water must easily

           decompose in a marine environment.


    4    You can release flowers or wreaths into

           the water, but they must decompose

           easily.


    5    While a permit is not required, you must  

           report the burial to the EPA within 30      

          days.
    6    Pet cremains may not be spread at sea

          without a special permit.

 

So my question to the forum was truly inquiring if cruise ships allowed that kind of take place. That’s all. 👍

Just remember that on a foreign flag cruise ship, any EPA regulations do not apply.  Generally, the ships will not allow disposal of remains less than 12 miles from shore, and as I've noted, they do not generally (and I worked for NCL, and know they don't) allow scattering, but only placing an urn.  The reason the line will provide the floral arrangement is to ensure that it is completely biodegradable (no plastic ties, etc).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend who did this with her husband's ashes.  He wanted to be near St. Thomas, his favorite cruise port,  and she arranged for this with RCCL.  They did a beautiful ceremony with ship's officers and had flowers.  It was just lovely and meaningful in every way.  I saw some photos of the event.  I know my friend's husband would have thought it was great. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Just remember that on a foreign flag cruise ship, any EPA regulations do not apply.  Generally, the ships will not allow disposal of remains less than 12 miles from shore, and as I've noted, they do not generally (and I worked for NCL, and know they don't) allow scattering, but only placing an urn.  The reason the line will provide the floral arrangement is to ensure that it is completely biodegradable (no plastic ties, etc).

 

Thank you!  This is exactly the information I need.  So can you tell me what it means to place an urn?  And I am fine with the line providing a floral arrangement and I'm happy to pay for that – I really do want to do it the right way to honor my dad.  He was totally a rule follower and he would kick my rear end if he thought I was breaking rules or the law. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

 

 Before we book our cruise I would call I guess any line that we choose to cruise with and ask them their guidelines and policies. I mainly wanted to inquire what I was up against  and if anybody had any personal experience doing this. 

 

 Thank you so much!

 Marna 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, wordsjustfly said:

 

Thank you!  This is exactly the information I need.  So can you tell me what it means to place an urn?  And I am fine with the line providing a floral arrangement and I'm happy to pay for that – I really do want to do it the right way to honor my dad.  He was totally a rule follower and he would kick my rear end if he thought I was breaking rules or the law. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

 

 Before we book our cruise I would call I guess any line that we choose to cruise with and ask them their guidelines and policies. I mainly wanted to inquire what I was up against  and if anybody had any personal experience doing this. 

 

 Thank you so much!

 Marna 

Basically, you will be taken to an area like I mentioned, the aft mooring station (aft and low down), and you will be left alone to honor your loved one as you desire, and then you drop the urn and the floral arrangement over the side.  The urn will usually float for a few seconds and then sink, the flowers will float for some time and you can watch them recede.  I believe if you try the admittedly flawed search function on CC, that you will find several threads where posters have buried their loved ones at sea.  I think I've responded to at least one thread on each of the major mainstream cruise lines' forums, and a few upscale as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You will not be allowed to simply pour out the ashes....it must be in a biodegradable container and dropped overboard.  The effect will be the same....they will scatter on their own, eventually.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MicCanberra said:

An interesting topic, I am wondering if certain regions / countries would also come into play or as long as it is in international waters (permissions granted) you would be fine.

As long as you are outside of 12 miles from shore, flag state laws apply, and there are no international environmental or other restrictions on disposal of remains at sea.  Some countries may have restrictions on remains leaving their country, but that is another issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, chengkp75 said:

As long as you are outside of 12 miles from shore, flag state laws apply, and there are no international environmental or other restrictions on disposal of remains at sea.  Some countries may have restrictions on remains leaving their country, but that is another issue.

Cheers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally off subject, but my husband and I are seriously considering having our cremated remains incorporated into cement castings and having them become part of an offshore reef.

 

Google "cremation reef" to get details.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, gooch47 said:

Totally off subject, but my husband and I are seriously considering having our cremated remains incorporated into cement castings and having them become part of an offshore reef.

 

Google "cremation reef" to get details.

Good reef

 

(say it fast).

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

We just returned from Boston where we spread my wife's mom's ashes.  We did not do this from a cruise ship (although I really wanted to use this as an excuse to book a cruise), but we used a company called New England Burials at Sea.  They handle these types of burials across the country, and it was fantastic.  One comment about Alaska - I thought Captain Brad told us that US Federal Law requires ashes to be deposited 3 miles from shore (with exception of Cali, who have so many burials at sea that they requested an exception, and only need to go our 500 yards or something like that).  So, not sure if many of the cruise ships get out that far or not in Alaska.  When we sailed last year, it seemed like we were fairly close to shore most of the way.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team: New Ship Ultramarine
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...