Do Cruises REALLY Have Ice Cream Parties When They Need Freezer Space for a Body?

by SharonKurheg

Love it or lump it, TikTok has made its place in the world. And although some of the TikTok videos out there are fun and sometimes even helpful, some are just…not. Some are just time sucks. Others are just…all flavors of wrong. Still others, you just don’t know what to make of them. Case in point…

Dara Starr Tucker (@darastarrtucker) says she was a cruise ship singer for a decade. She has over a million followers on TikTok and regularly answers questions about life at sea.

Tucker recently went viral for a video she made where she explained the gruesome ‘reason’ why cruise ships might need ‘extra freezer space’ mid-journey.

For background purposes: rumors of ‘free ice cream parties’ on cruise ships have gone on for over a decade. Supposedly while passengers ‘celebrate’ when the unexpected day comes, it turns out the apparent reason behind them could be pretty maudlin.

So one person wrote in and asked Tucker if the ‘amount of ice cream available suddenly goes up, it means they need more freezer space for a body.’

To which Tucker said, “This is unfortunately often true.

“If the crew suddenly makes a bunch of ice cream available to the passengers – free ice cream party – it’s often because more people have died on the ship than they have room for in the morgue.”

Tucker explained that she was once onboard for six months while traveling to the Caribbean and has never herself experienced this herself. But she claimed that many of co-workers had.

“Thankfully, we didn’t have to deal with this kind of stuff, but we were friends with some crew members who did,” she said.

“There are a lot of older people on ships and often people die on cruises,” Dara noted.

“So the morgue, I believe they said they held about seven people.

“If more than seven people died on that particular ship, they would have to start moving bodies to the freezer, which means they needed to make room in the freezer.”

And then, boom – ice cream party for a thousand or more passengers, in order to move ice cream out of the freezer.

Here’s the video:


Replying to @🌼🐛Ramen Goblin🐝🍀 #cruiseship #cruiseshiplife #cruiseshiptales

♬ original sound – Dara Starr Tucker

The video currently has over 2 million views.

So…is it true?

Well, it’s true that about 200 people per year die on cruise ships. And it’s certainly true that all ships have a morgue, because they’re required by law to have one. How many bodies it holds depends on how many people the ship can hold.

There’s a protocol of what happens when a passenger passes away on a ship (since some cruise lines cater to senior citizens, it’s not surprising that a death onboard happens on a relatively regular basis), and it’s been covered several times over the years:

Of course, sometimes a ship won’t follow protocol and you’ll get a situation like the surviving family members of this poor guy who died on the Celebrity Equinox.

But what about the situation that Tucker explained in her video?

With over 2 million views, Tucker’s video had a whole lot replies. Many people couldn’t believe how many people died on cruise ships, but she had a response for them:


Replying to @Andrew #cruiseships #cruiseshiplife #cruiseshipdeaths

♬ original sound – Dara Starr Tucker

Many other responses were from people who didn’t know cruises had morgues. Others questioned if they were ever (again) going to go on a cruise. But lots and lots were naysayers, who said, in so many ways, that she was lying.

Well, except for one Cory L. Buckner, who said he had been a cruise ship medic years ago, and he agreed with what Tucker said. Here’s his video (as introduced by her):


Replying to @Cory L. Buckner Not all heroes wear capes. cruiseshiplife cruiseships cruiseshipdeaths icecream youscream weallscream foricecream @Dara Starr Tucker

♬ original sound – Dara Starr Tucker

So again, DOES it happen? I guess, depending on the number of spaces a ship has in the morgue compared to how many people die on a cruise, it COULD happen? I mean, if they have more bodies than morgue spaces, it’d make sense they’d have to be stored in the freezer, or even a fridge that that could be kept somewhere between 36-39F. (I kept going back to the tragedy aboard the Diamond Princess during the very early days of Covid. I think 13 people eventually passed, but none of them were on the ship)

But has it? Who knows for absolutely sure. It’s not like any cruise ship would ever make that news public, y’know?

I’d think it wouldn’t happen a whole lot…not when you’re talking about only 200 people per year dying on cruise ships to begin with. But IF a cruise ship DID suddenly have a rash of deaths on board and they DID have to use the freezer or colder food areas to store bodies, there’s solace in knowing there are protocols for cleaning the freezer out afterward. From someone who said they were a retired refrigerated semi truck driver with a major refrigerated trucking company:

The process for cleaning after use as temporary storage for bodies is the same as spoiled meat. Wash out with pressure washer soap and water only then scrub with long handle brushes soap water then rinse with fresh water dried out for two days trailer doors opened. Then it is sprayed with a bleach water mixture dried out for a day, doors closed with drain plugs left open. Then, it is taken into maintenance for air filter replacement and inspection before placed back into ready pool.

Ice cream, anyone?

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