FBI Investigates Death Aboard Carnival Cruise Ship

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been called in to investigate a death onboard the Carnival Sunshine. The incident occurred during the ship’s February 27, 2023 sailing, and proper authorities are working to determine the circumstances of the case. At no time were other guests or crew members onboard the ship at any risk.

Death Aboard Carnival Sunshine

During the February 27, 2023 cruise, a 5-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip from Charleston, South Carolina, a female passenger onboard the ship was found unresponsive in her stateroom.

“Medical staff and other crew members of Carnival’s Sunshine were made aware of the passenger being unresponsive and immediately attempted life-saving measures,” an FBI spokesperson for the Columbia field office said in a statement. “Despite their efforts, the passenger was pronounced deceased on the ship.”

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Daniel Wright98 / Shutterstock

While the woman’s body and her husband were disembarked in The Bahamas, the FBI was contacted to process the couple’s stateroom after the conclusion of the cruise, as is standard procedure to assess potential evidence.

“The FBI investigates certain crimes on the high seas, as well as suspicious deaths of U.S. persons,” the statement explained.

Both Bahamian authorities and the FBI are working together in the ongoing investigation, including conducting an autopsy. At this time, the death is being labeled as “suspicious” but no further details have been released, not only to protect the integrity of the investigation but also to protect the privacy of those involved.

Read Also: Do Cruise Ships Have Morgues?

There was no threat to other guests onboard the ship, or to the ship’s crew members, either before or after the guest’s death. Carnival Sunshine was not delayed in her return to Charleston on March 4, and her next cruise, another 5-night Bahamas sailing, has begun as planned.

Sailing on Carnival Sunshine

The 102,853-gross-ton Carnival Sunshine, formerly Carnival Destiny, is homeported from Charleston, offering a variety of itineraries to The Bahamas and occasional longer Eastern Caribbean sailings. The ship will remain homeported from the “Holy City” through 2024, when Carnival Cruise Line’s agreement with the city will end.

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock

Future port development may bring cruises back to Charleston in the years to come. The February 27 cruise was a 5-night voyage, calling on Nassau and Half Moon Cay, along with a day at sea to start and end the getaway.

Carnival Sunshine originally debuted as Carnival Destiny in 1996, but was radically updated with a $155 million renovation in 2013 to become a completely new ship.

This sad incident is, unfortunately, not the first time a death has been reported related to Carnival Sunshine. In 2016, a well-liked crew member died after a medical emergency.

Deaths have also occurred aboard other Carnival ships, such as a guest’s death aboard Carnival Miracle in March 2016, and such incidents also happen on all cruise lines.

Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with the crew members, family, and friends affected by this sad incident.

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