Burials at Sea – On a Cruise Ship?

By July 9, 2015 Article, Technology No Comments

Come back to the sea,” implores one of this year’s most memorable Super Bowl ads, courtesy of esteemed cruise industry power player Carnival Corp. The ‘Return to the Sea’ spot, which lasts for about a minute, was directed by Academy Award winner Wally Pfister, and features sweeping scenes of the oceans and how people relate to them, voiced over by a speech delivered by President John F. Kennedy for the America’s Cup in 1962. One of the strongest lines of the speech was: “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.” Here’s a link to the beautiful ad:

What President Kennedy had said about our human affinity for the ocean resonates with many people. Indeed, it resonates so strongly for others that some people actually consider the sea as the place to find peace and final rest after life.

Burials at Sea is an ancient practice seen in some variation across many cultures, for as long as humans have been seafaring. What might be surprising though, is that a form of this practice can be accommodated by today’s ultra-modern cruise industry.

Working with passengers who wish to scatter the cremated ashes of loved ones at sea, is on the rise for major players like Carnival, which now sees itself organizing over 200 such ceremonies a year. There are of course, very particular requirements that have to be fulfilled before passengers are allowed to do this – proper paperwork, the use of safe containers, coordination with the ship’s designated staff and officers, distance from shore, etc. – but this has been described as a rising trend not seen just a few years ago.

Is this a ceremony you might consider for yourself or a loved one? It’s not for everyone, but it is certainly a rising practice worth thinking about. If this is something you or your loved ones are interested in, remember the stringent rules and requirements you have to prepare and coordinate with the cruise line for.

Did you find this article interesting? One of the hottest sectors of the maritime industry is the dynamic world of cruising, and our blog is full of other content on this, and other maritime industry-related topics you might enjoy perusing.

We at Kemplon Engineering consider it part of our commitment to our marine and industrial customers, to be informed about the news and developments that concern them. We have been providing a wide range of engineering services to these sectors – on time and on budget – since 2005. If you have an engineering project in mind, explore our website and see what Kemplon Engineering can do for you. From welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more, we have a wide range of capabilities and a very dedicated team ready to provide solutions. Contact us for queries and quotes at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.


Golden, Fran. “Carnival does hundreds of burials at sea each year.” USA Today, 24 Jun 2015. Web. 04 Jul 2015. http://www.usatoday.com/story/cruiselog/2015/06/24/carnival-cruise-line-ashes-burials-at-sea/29209833/

Judkis, Mora. “Carnival Cruises quotes JFK in Super Bowl 2015 commercial.” The Washington Post, 02 Feb 2015. Web. 04 Jul 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/02/02/carnival-cruises-quotes-jfk-in-super-bowl-2015-commercial/

Lipsey, Sid. “Carnival’s Big New Super Bowl Ad: Brought to You by an Oscar Winner and a President.” Yahoo! Travel, 02 Feb 2015. Web. 04 Jul 2014. https://www.yahoo.com/travel/carnival-corporation-debuted-its-first-ever-super-109838974552.html

Naval History and Heritage Command. “Burial At Sea.” History.Navy.Mil. Web. Accessed 04 Jul 2015. http://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/heritage/customs-and-traditions/burial-at-sea.html

Souza, Ben. “Cruise Ship Burials at Sea Gaining in Popularity.” CruiseFever.net, 24 Jun 2015. Web. 04 Jul 2015. http://cruisefever.net/0624-cruise-ship-burials-at-sea-gain-in-popularity/