FORT LAUDERDALE, FL– A Florida woman, her children, and her grandchildren have filed a $1 million lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises for their handling of her husband’s body after he died while on one of their cruises.
Robert Jones was said to have died of a heart attack while aboard the Celebrity Equinox on Aug. 15th.
His wife, Marilyn Jones, was reportedly given two options by the cruise line. Jones says she was told that the cruise line could drop the body off at the next stop (Puerto Rico,) but she would have to accompany the body and make her own arrangements to get her and her husband back to Florida. Jones was also told that authorities in Puerto Rico may require an autopsy which could delay her return home.
The second option Jones was given was to store the body on the ship for the duration of the cruise.
Jones ultimately chose to store the body in the cruise ship’s morgue for six days.
According to the family’s lawsuit, a funeral home employee and a Broward County sheriff’s deputy found that the ship’s morgue was not in working order, and that Robert’s body had been stored in a walk-in beverage freezer in a bag on a palette instead.
Due to the temperature difference, Robert’s body was left body bloated and green and the family was unable to have an open-casket funeral.
The family says they experienced “extreme trauma by visualizing Mr. Jones’s body horrifically decomposed, and knowing their husband and father was callously and casually left in a beverage cooler, stripping him of his dignity,” the suit reads.
Celebrity Cruises has declined to speak on the case “out of respect for the family.”