Sun, fun, adventure, booze, and all the food you desire. No one can dispute the fact that some time on a cruise ship can lead to some relaxing getaways and many fond memories. However, cruise ships have secrets that can be dangerous and even downright deadly. From the early 1900s to the 21st century, there have been a plethora of ominous disappearances on cruise ships, as well as scary crimes and suicides in the midst of the opulent splendor of seafaring adventures.
Compiled here is a list of true stories of terrible things that happened while people were at sea. In the middle of what should have been a relaxing vacation awaited tragedy and horror. From liaisons gone bad to assaults, read on for information on the most frightening crimes committed on cruise ships.
On September 24, 2002, emergency paramedics were called to cabin D182 on a P&O cruise ship bound for Noumea and other Pacific ports of call. In the bathroom of the cabin lay Dianne Brimble, unconscious, and lying in her own excretion. Half an hour later, Brimble was pronounced dead. An autopsy later revealed that she died over alcohol and drug overdose.
The cabin in which she was found in belonged to the four men that witnesses claimed they saw Brimble with the night before at the on-ship nightclub. The men had boarded the ship with the intention to cram as much sex into the ten days and nine nights they had at sea. They were accused of harassing and offering drugs to multiple women on the ship, including teenage girls.
After the victim’s body was removed, the men launched racist, sexist tirades against Brimble for having ruined their vacation. Ultimately, the men were cleared of most of the charges including manslaughter. One of them even pleaded guilty to the vastly lesser charge of giving Brimble GHB, also known as the “date rape drug” before she died. The judge opted for no punishment in the case.
Alicia Keir boarded the Carnival Dream cruise ship on her way to Saint Maarten in October of 2011. She was pregnant, but kept it a secret from her friends and family, possibly because she had had multiple unprotected sex partners in a relatively short period of time and didn't know who the father was.
Two days into the cruise, Keir realized she was giving birth. She did not get help and instead, delivered the baby on her own. She gave birth to a healthy, breathing baby girl, wrapper her in a towel, and hid her under one of the beds in the cabin. The child died of exposure and neglect while Keir continued to enjoy her trip. Once the ship docked in St. Maarten, a cleaning crew discovered the deceased infant and alerted authorities. After pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter four years after the fact, Alicia was sentenced to one day behind bars, including time served.
Eric Dickerson was aboard the Carnival Sensation, headed out to the Bahamas for a four-day cruise with his wife when the two of them complained of the noise coming from the next cabin. Dickerson and his wife were moved to another cabin, but allowed to keep the keys to the first one. At some point, Dickerson ended up partying with a group of teenage boys and two teenage girls.
Unable to get alcohol on their own, Dickerson admitted to purchasing alcohol for the minors in the original room he’d had with his wife. After allowing the teens to consume alcohol in his presence, Eric Dickerson forced himself onto one of the girls as the second of the two underage girls was held in a bathroom by one of the boys. After assaulting her, Dickerson then directed the other young men to act accordingly. They took turns assaulting the victim. Once done, Dickerson allowed the young women to leave. A rape kit was done, and Dickerson was arrested by the F.B.I. in Florida. Dickerson has since been sentenced to 20 years in prison and another 15 years on probation.
Newly weds John Banner and his wife, Darla Mellinger-Banner, were both found dead in a blood-soaked cabin during their second cruise in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 2, 2015. Upon investigation, it was determined that Banner had stabbed his wife to death and then taken his own life with the same weapon. Oddly enough, police had been summoned to the couple’s home in Ohio shortly after they returned from their first honeymoon cruise a scant five months earlier in December of 2014.
In the 2014 encounter, the wife had sustained a stab wound to the center of her chest from the husband. The couple explained that it had occurred when the husband went to show his wife an old military dagger and tripped on a rug. The explanation, while dubious, seemed plausible enough and was corroborated by both Banner and Mellinger-Banner, and no further action had been taken at the time.