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For most people, voyages aboard cruise ships are pleasant diversions, a form of recreation that allows vacationers to travel to exotic destinations while taking the comfort and luxury of a fine hotel room along with them. For some people, cruise ships have even become a way of life, as a few retirees have opted to spend their golden years permanently at sea. Have such ocean voyages now become a way of death as well, with a company offering "euthanasia cruises" on which the terminally ill (and others wishing to end their lives) can quietly expire in the company of like-minded individuals by sliding overboard into the sea?
A Snopes reader writes:
Is this true?
“A group of Florida businessmen has created a company called Euthanasia Cruises, Ltd. Each month the company takes 25 passengers on The Last Supper, a three-masted luxury sloop, for three days at sea before the passengers voluntarily end their lives by jumping into the ocean. Although a few passengers are terminally ill, most are able-bodied adults.”
Not quite. The information about "Euthanasia Cruises, Ltd." quoted above was taken from a satirical column by prankster Alan Abel which was published in the Fairfield County Weekly on 16 February 2006. (Abel is a regular contributor to that publication; similar recent spoof articles by him have featured a Michigan restaurant called "Hitler's Drive-In," operated by a proprietor who is the spitting image of his infamous German namesake, and plans to build a Miles Standish-inspired "Pilgrims' Casino" in Connecticut.)
Although the example article cited here was published in 2006, the "euthanasia cruise" column is actually a rehashing of a hoax Alan Abel first unleashed back in 1993.