Carnival does hundreds of burials at sea each year

June 28, 2015
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Article originally appeared on USAToday.com

It may sound like an odd cruise trend, but a growing thing for Carnival Cruise Lines passengers is scattering cremated ashes of loved ones at sea.

“Really, this is a big trend,” John Heald, senior cruise director for Carnival tells USA TODAY. “Each and every week I am asked by submissions on my blog, johnhealdsblog.com, or Facebook page to organize ashes scatterings.”

Heald says such requests for burial at sea never occurred five years ago, but now happen four or five times a week fleetwide. Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen tells USA TODAY the line now organizes more than 200 complimentary ashes scattering ceremonies each year.

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The cruise line lists on its website requirements for bringing cremated ashes onboarda ship for burial at sea, including that you must bring a Death Certificate and have certification that the cremation was done at a licensed facility in the U.S.

There are also several environmental considerations. The cremated remains must be transported in a proper, “leak proof” urn or container and remain in the container until scattered, according to the posted rules.

Once onboard, the ship’s Guest Services staff and environmental officer coordinate a time and place for the ceremony (the ship has to be beyond 12 miles from land). The ceremonies are private, taking place “without disrupting other guest activities,” the website notes.

“We organize the required paperwork, and a member of the staff helps organize the ceremony. When it’s finished, the family member is given a letter by the captain, signed by him, with the coordinates of the longitude and latitude of the ship’s position where the ashes are scattered,” says Heald.

Sometimes the remains are of past Carnival guests.

“Some of our guests who have been with us for the past 30 or 40 years are passing away and they want to be buried at sea and I think it’s wonderful that we are able to do that,” Heald says.

He adds, “This service is something new, it’s complimentary, it’s becoming more requested and its something that Carnival does a laudable job in doing.”

For a deck-by-deck look at a Carnival Cruise Line vessel, click through to the full article.

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