A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises for allegedly storing her husband's body in a drink cooler instead of the ship's morgue after he died onboard.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, said the body was found "in a bag on a palette on the floor of the cooler" and "was in advanced stages of decomposition."

Marilyn Jones, 78, said she and her 55-year-old husband, Robert L. Jones, were traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Eastern Caribbean aboard the Celebrity Equinox when her husband died from a cardiac arrest in August 2022, reported WPLG Local 10.

After her husband's passing, Marilyn was given two options: "Either have Mr. Jones' body removed from the ship in San Juan," Puerto Rico, or "have his body stored on the ship until it reached port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, approximately six days from the date of his passing," according to the lawsuit.

Marilyn and her daughter Teresa West were reportedly told by crew members that the ship had a working morgue, which could preserve the man's body until the ship docked in Florida. The lawsuit said ships are required to have working morgues to handle similar incidents where passengers die onboard.

Marilyn chose to have the body stored in the morgue, but the cruise line shifted her husband's body from the morgue to the cooler. Robert's body was kept there for about six days before reaching Florida, she alleged.

"When the funeral services employee in Ft. Lauderdale was brought onto the ship to retrieve Mr. Jones' body, his body was not located in the ship's morgue," the lawsuit read.

"Instead, Mr. Jones' body had, at some time not yet known, had been moved from the ship's morgue to a cooler on a different floor than the ship's morgue. The cooler in which Mr. Jones' body was found by the funeral employee had drinks placed outside of the cooler, and was not at a temperature which was sufficient nor proper for storing a dead body to prevent decomposition," it added.

Marilyn also alleged her husband's body had "expanded with gas," and his skin had turned green. There was also blood spattered inside the bag, "which would only have occurred from extreme amounts of gas being released inside the body."

"The Celebrity crew in charge of storing Mr. Jones body during the six remaining days of the cruise acted recklessly, willfully, and wantonly, and without care for the Jones family's loved one by failing to ensure that the morgue was properly working for the duration of the near week that the remains were stored under their care," she said in the suit, reported UPI.

Marilyn said the incident destroyed her hopes of having an open casket wake and funeral for her husband. She is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and a trial.

A coffin
Representation. Pallbearers carrying a coffin during a funeral. carolynabooth/Pixabay