Crime & Courts

Woman dies after ‘domestic dispute’ on cruise ship in Southeast Alaska, cruise line says

Princess Cruises says a 39-year-old woman died after a "domestic dispute" Tuesday night on one of its cruise ships bound for Juneau.

The ship docked at 7:55 a.m. Wednesday in Juneau, where it was met by the FBI, said a statement from Princess Cruises.

"Since the incident, our fleet security team has been coordinating with the FBI and other local authorities," said the cruise line's statement. "They will be embarking the ship when it arrives in Juneau this morning."

The statement said the dispute happened around 9 p.m. Tuesday onboard the Emerald Princess, "resulting in the death of a 39-year-old female guest from Utah." The ship had left Ketchikan earlier that day, around 3 p.m., said Negin Kamali, Princess Cruises' director of public relations.

Princess Cruises and the FBI released few additional details Wednesday about what exactly happened on the ship Tuesday night. They also did not release the identity of the woman or say whether any arrests were made.

Kamali referred all questions about the case to the FBI. Staci Feger-Pellessier, spokesperson for the FBI in Anchorage, said she didn't have any additional information and didn't expect the agency to release any new information until Thursday.

She said more than a dozen FBI investigators had traveled to Juneau early Wednesday for a report of a "suspicious death" on a cruise ship. She said they were working that day to process the crime scene, complete interviews and notify the woman's family.


Kamali said the Emerald Princess had left Seattle on Sunday for a seven-day round-trip cruise to Alaska. According to the Princess Cruises website, the ship can hold up to 3,080 guests and 1,200 crew members.

The ship was was originally scheduled to dock in Juneau at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska schedule. But Kamali said after the dispute and resulting death, the ship canceled its Tracy Arm scenic cruise and went directly to Juneau to meet the FBI.

The ship was scheduled to leave Juneau at its original departure time of 11:15 p.m., wrote Brea Bukholz, Princess Cruises spokesperson.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.