This isn't an uncommon occurance, although it usually takes place on land—cruise lines have very strict regulations when it comes to pregnant women sailing. The Carnival Cruise Lines policy states, "Pregnant women are only allowed to sail if pregnant for 24 completed weeks or less at time of cruise disembarkation. All pregnant women are required to produce a physician’s letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD)."
Apparently the young woman, who was on the cruise to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday, gave birth after Carnival Dream left Port Canaveral, Florida a week ago Saturday, Oct. 8, but before the ship reached St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday, Oct. 11. If that is accurate, the baby was dead for several days before it was found by a stateroom attendant when the ship reached St Maarten on Wednesday, October 12. After the gruesome discovery, authorities on the Dutch island were notified and the body was taken into custody for autopsy. The unidentified mother was detained for questioning, but the autopsy seems to have confirmed her story and she has since returned to the United States according to the FBI, who have taken over the investigation.
The FBI's Evidence Response team boarded the ship last Saturday, Oct 15, when Carnival Dream returned to its Port Canaveral homeport and agents searched two guest cabins and interviewed crew members and passengers.
Carnival Cruise Lines and Dutch authorities are cooperating with the FBI, but there are a lot of unaswered questions remaining about the events surrounding the newborn's death. Was it actually a late-term miscarriage? A still born? Why didn't the young passenger seek medical attention on board when she realized something was wrong? We hope to get answers when the investigation is complete.
Carnival Dream Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines