Faces of Cruise Ship Deaths Produce Very Few Mysteries

In late 2005, I began tracking cruise ship deaths. That interest began with Cruise Bruise, the first of my 55 cruise industry websites, with some documenting incidents at sea during a cruise. The point of Cruise Bruise was, to gather data in order to identify trends and to alert passengers to potential dangers, so that they might protect themselves from events which might end badly. Information is power.

Early on, the numbers were increasingly growing, making it look like the cruise industry was by and large unsafe. But, after nearly eleven years of tracking events taking place on the high seas, in cruise ship ports, on cruise ship excursions and those incidents which take place during the course of the cruise vacation,  both on the way to the cruise, during the cruise and on the way home after the cruise, the statistics show a different trend.

With statistics, the larger the sampling is, the better trends can be properly identified.  On our Cruise Ship Deaths website, there are at least 128 cases of people who died from natural causes and it’s far from complete. Now, the lawyers who make their money filing lawsuits against the cruise industry, won’t tell the public, the natural causes comprise the largest percentage of deaths at sea. They make their money trying to prove someone was negligent and that “someone” is the more than fifty cruise lines which comprise the deep-pocket cruise industry.

We dig  especially hard for those natural causes cases, because, they happen nearly every day, often several during a single cruise.  They demonstrate, that deaths are not uncommon on cruises. But, for the most part, those death cases are not news worthy to mainstream media. It is difficult, if not nearly impossible to show negligence when a sober person dies during sleep,  while sailing on the high seas. That, however, does not prevent from the lawyers from trying their best to make the cruise line look negligent.

The trend in cruise ship deaths throughout the year is somewhat surprising. One might think the peak cruising season  from June to September would have the most amount of deaths at sea. This is not the case. January is the number one month for deaths at sea, which include death during the trip,  before and just after the cruise as well,

As a whole, if we were to name a cruise ship death season based on the numbers of deaths we have documented, it would be November through February. Somewhat surprising, is the lowest month of the year for deaths, is October with 33 deaths. October is known for fall foliage cruises which are popular with middle age adults and senior citizens. But, the college kids are back in school and there is far less silliness and hi-jinks which contribute in growing numbers to young adult cruise ship deaths.

A new feature on the Cruise Ship Deaths website as part of our 2017 upgrade is,  the “Faces of Cruise Ship Death” found on the main page.  As of this moment, there are 185 featured death cases. These are, for the most part, people who died doing something they loved and died from natural causes.

As a percentage, there are few mysteries to be found. The cruise ship deaths photographs  show a wide cross-section of society, indicating, the impossibility of identifying who  might not make it back to the home port alive. Though, clearly behavior can sometimes predict who might end up in the sea, or be found dead in their cabin.

We are not finished with the page yet. As we add the rest of our older cases they will be added to the bottom of the page, by date. As we add cases in the future, they will be added to the top of the page. However, if we get cases which are from the past, somewhere in the middle, we will attempt to place them within the list, more or less where they belong historically.

The purpose of the Faces of Cruise Ship Deaths is to put a human face to a statistic and to honor those who died doing something they loved.  We are drawing attention to the fact that, life is about being born, living a life worth living and then leaving lifetime memories for those loved ones, a person leaves behind. For some, living life is about making memories, participating in events which will be remembered by others long after their life has ended.

To that end, we celebrate natural causes cruise ship deaths at sea with our new Faces of Cruise Ship Deaths feature. We all have to die sometime; dying while doing something a person loves, is a much better memory for those we leave behind.  Though, we would be remiss not to honor those who contributed to the cruise industry with their talent and knowledge, which have had a positive impact on the cruise industry.  As well, Faces of Cruise Ship Deaths honors the lives of  those who  died at the hands of others .

Featured Suspicious Cruise Ship Deaths

In the Faces of Cruise Ship Deaths image above, there is a proven cruise ship murderer, suspected murderer, one person proven to have been murdered aboard, three negligent homicides, a collection of those who deliberately jumped overboard and those who died in port. The 185 featured cases (and growing) are a cross section from each type of cruise ship death.

Tammy Grogan, 35, from Ohio worked for a local Dentist in the West Toledo area of Ohio. She is described as being very nice and very pleasant by those who knew her. She was aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ Imagination when she disappeared on September 10, 2006.

The missing cruise ship passenger, previously unidentified, was named on September 13, 2006. She was traveling with her 14 year old son, sister, and two friends, on a four-day cruise to Key West and Calica, which is the port for Playa del Carmen. The ship’s last port of call in Mexico was Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan peninsula. A family member reported Tammy missing, 32 hours after she was last seen. Not suspicious, not suspicious at all.  Read More

Annette Mizener, 37, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, was traveling with her parents Wally and Heidi Knerler and teenage daughter Danielle aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Pride. Mizener was in cabin #6169 on December 4, 2004. She was part of a group of 200 passengers from the Las Vegas Hilton.

On the last night of a West Coast cruise from Los Angeles, while off the coast of Mexico, Annette had left to go play bingo. She had won at bingo twice already on the cruise, and was supposed to meet her parents for the 10pm bingo. In fact, she said she wanted to arrive early to get a good seat.

When she didn’t show up, her parents became concerned and her father began to look for her. He searched for her in the casino. A witness said she was in the casino at 9:30pm. As he continued to search, he heard her name paged, and became very worried. The crew had found her handbag on deck, and had paged her to give it back. Read More

Neha Chhikara, 23, from India, worked as a crew member along with her husband Ankit Dalal who worked in a position of management aboard Monarch Of The Seas on January 1, 2010 when she went missing.

Neha, a former air hostess with Indigo Airlines, is reported to have jumped into the sea from Monarch Of The Seas while the cruise ship was in the Bahamas, as a result of physical and mental abuse from her husband and his family while she was working aboard the cruise ship.

Her family has accused Neha’s husband Ankit Dalal, father-in-law Doctor S. S. Dalal, who is also the chief medical officer at the Gurgaon Civil Hospital, mother-in-law Nirmal Dalal and her sister-in-law for harassing Neha for a dowry, soon after her marriage to Ankit Dalal. Read More

Cruise Ship Deaths is not a complete database of all deaths at sea. There is quite simply no reliable database for those statistics. At best, there are websites which pretend to be reliable sources. They are reliable sources of rumors, at best. We do our best to give a wide range of actual, verified deaths, to fairly represent the cruise industry deaths as a whole.

Did we miss case? Please contact us with verified details for new cases.

Cruise Bruise the Book Untold Stories

Ten years ago today, Cruise Bruise was launched and much has happened, much more than you read on the website. In celebration of the Cruise Bruise Ten Year Anniversary, the untold story is being written in a new book.

Ten years ago today, Cruise Bruise was launched with less than two dozen cases. At the time, I thought it was a lot. Then, the investigations began and cases started piling up on my desk. People began bringing my attention to other cases, current and past. Over the years, there was a never ending stream of people who called themselves “cruise victims”. I admit, with my own history of being a victim, it was easy to almost always take their story at face value. Then, do a basic investigation in order to substantiate their claim. Really deep investigations into cases didn’t come until years later and were certainly an eye-opener.

Associations were created with nothing more than trust. Over the years, that trust was betrayed, time and time again, with the truth about people, their motives and secret agendas rising to the surface. The truth is this. The media and online publications such as mine, are targets for greedy people who seek to use a story for financial gain. These people, who go to any length to get media attention, we call media whores. They sell their souls for a few moments, few days or few months of fame, mostly seeking their fortune at other’s expense. So, I began walking away from previous bonds, becoming reliant on my own ability to research facts, before deciding if a case would be featured on Cruise Bruise. This is a video promotion from our early days.

Read more on Cruise Bruise


Ghosts at Sea – Cruise Ship Deaths Morbid Reality Tour

Cruise Ship Deaths Fans: Which cruise ships have had the most horrific deaths at sea? The  Cruise Ship Deaths Morbid Reality Tour of haunting cruise experiences.

Ghosts at Sea – Choose A Haunting Cruise Experience

With the number of cruise ship deaths each year, the question is posed, could ghosts be haunting these cruise ships and their cruise ship cabins. From brutal, bloody murders, to passengers and crew found hanging by their necks in their cabin or on deck, speculation of haunting is something a select group of fearful people consider when deciding to book a cruise and choose their cabin. Others seek to sail aboard a cruise ship which may present a spooky aura to their cabin or common areas of the cruise ship. This select group of morbid reality fans seek to discover if a cruise ship is haunted by those who have passed away aboard.

What is a Haunting? – Wikipedia defines haunted places as, “A place where ghosts are reported is described as haunted, and often seen as being inhabited by spirits of deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. Supernatural activity inside homes is said to be mainly associated with violent or tragic events in the building’s past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide — sometimes in the recent or ancient past.”

If we apply this theory to Cruise Ship Deaths, we have actual events including deaths by drug and/or alcohol overdose, violent bloody murders aboard cruise ships, children murdered aboard cruise ships by their parent, those found hanging by neck aboard cruise ships, including those murdered aboard then tossed overboard and others who may be restless souls, walking the halls of the cruise ship at night.

Read more on Cruise Ship Deaths website

Murder-Suicide Darla J Mellinger Banner

Cruise Ship Deaths: Case now live, Darla J (Campbell) Mellinger Banner and John C Banner confirmed #cruise ship passengers in Ryndam murder-suicide

Cruise Ship Murder Suicide Ryndam April, 2 2015 On Thursday, April 2, 2015 aboard Holland America Line Ryndam, cruise ship cleaning crew found a couple dead in their cruise ship cabin.

The couple was found dead in their bloody cruise ship cabin, around 11:30 am, right before the Ryndam docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico at Pier 3. The couple Darla J Mellinger-Banner, 56 and John C Banner 56, resided in Salem, Ohio which is a suburb of Youngstown, Ohio.

Salem Police Detective Dave Talbert says his department was contacted by the FBI on April 2, 2015 to see what information was available on the couple. Talbert says the couple were known to Salem police from a December 21, 2014 incident where Darla Banner was injured in a knife accident at the couple’s home . . . Read more on Cruise Ship Deaths

Fourth Cruise Ship Hanging

Young father found hanging by the neck in the family #cruise cabin by wife and son on Father’s Day cruise, yet another holiday voyage marred by grief.

John LaDuke, 45, was sailing aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom with family members on a Caribbean Father’s Day, week long, celebration cruise, The cruise embarked from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Florida.

On Tuesday June 21, 2015, John LaDuke was found hanging in his cabin with a belt around his neck.

The cabin door dead bolt had been locked from the inside. Spouse and son contacted security to get the door open, when they returned to the cabin. CPR was performed on LaDuke, without results. The cruise ship hanging death was ruled a suicide.

This is the fifth cruise ship hanging since 2008.

Cruise Ship Hanging – June 21, 2015, John LaDuke, 45, Carnival Freedom Passenger
Cruise Ship Hanging – July 16, 2010, Sumith Gawas, 22, Arcadia Crew
Cruise Ship Hanging – January 10, 2010, Camila Peixoto Bandeira, 28, MSC Musica Crew
Cruise Ship Hanging – June 14, 2009, Gregory Gonzales Navarro, 27, Carnival Victory Crew
Cruise Ship Hanging – October 10, 2008, Przemyslaw Moranski, Carnival Inspiration Passenger

Read more on Cruise Ship Deaths