Cruises are supposed to be happy, carefree moments of maritime bliss; what could go wrong on a vacation on the sea? In reality, there has been a shocking number of cruise ship disappearances, and over 165 people have gone missing since 1995. Cruise ships traverse the vast oceans and often maintain entertainment options into the wee hours of the night, and there's certainly no shortage of libations flowing for those on board. Some passengers have fallen overboard, while other guests have disappeared via more mysterious means.
Investigations into such disappearances can often be inconclusive, as missing passengers are frequently never found. And while security footage can sometimes provide clues, some videos have produced more questions than they have answered. For that reason, the families of many cruise ship victims have written about their tragic experiences in an attempt to increase awareness about cruise ship safety.
- Photo: Orange County District Attorney / Fair Use
Micki Kanesaki Was Allegedly Murdered By Her Ex
A convoluted case surrounded the alleged murder of Micki Kanesaki, 52, who disappeared from a Mediterranean cruise in 2006. Kanesaki went on the cruise with her ex-husband, California lawyer Lonnie Kocontes, 48. At about 1 a.m., ship officials say she left her cabin to fetch a cup of tea. Her ex later woke up to find her missing.
Kanesaki's body was discovered days later on the shores of Calabria. Kocontes indicated that Kanesaki, who had been his second wife, may have been suicidal, though her family refuted those claims. For years, Kanesaki's case went unsolved. Kocontes remarried a third, then a fourth time.
In 2013, Kocontes was arrested for Kanesaki's murder. Prosecutors alleged that he had strangled her and tossed her overboard. Kocontes's third wife, who had testified on his behalf during initial investigations in 2006, did a 180 in 2013, telling officials that Kocontes had killed Kanesaki. His motive, prosecutors allege, had been to inherit Kanesaki's estate.
Christopher Caldwell Disappeared While On A Trip With His Betrothed
Christopher Caldwell, 36, disappeared from a Carnival Cruise ship headed from Miami, FL, to Cozumel, Mexico, in July 2004. Caldwell had gone on the cruise with his betrothed.
According to a letter written by Caldwell's family as posted on International Cruise Victims, Caldwell and his fiancée had dinner and drinks before his fiancée decided to turn in, and Caldwell decided to visit the ship casino alone. When Caldwell's fiancée awoke in the morning, she found that Caldwell had never returned.
Caldwell was last spotted on the ship's deck. The bartender who saw him said he seemed extremely intoxicated. No one knows what happened next, though it is suspected that Caldwell toppled overboard.
John Halford Vanished On The Last Day Of His Cruise
John Halford, 63, disappeared from the ship Thomson Spirit while on an Egyptian cruise in April 2011.
He disappeared on the last day of the cruise before the ship would dock. He was slated to see his wife the following day at the airport when he returned home to Milton Keynes, England. He sent her a text message, then ate dinner and went for drinks at a bar on the ship's upper deck. He was last seen at about 12:30 a.m. His bags were packed, and his glasses, phone, and passport were found in his room.
Though Halford was last spotted drinking, no one who interacted with him thought he was drunk, and his wife said he gave no indication of being suicidal. No one knows what happened to him, whether he fell overboard or something else.