Carnival Cruises in the Dock Over Booze Death

By McCarton Ackerman 09/19/12

A Texas woman claims Carnival Cruise Lines "conditioned" her husband to drink excessively and falsely reported his death as suicide.

Is Carnival to blame? Photo via

A Texas woman is suing Carnival Cruise Lines over the alcohol-related death of her husband and the company's claims that he committed suicide—saying that he wasn't suicidal, but was "conditioned" by the cruise ship to keep drinking well after he should have stopped. In her lawsuit, Michele Markham says her husband Clint Markham drank unlimited cocktails from 10:30 to 3:30 pm on the day of his death, and then two Everclear-based drinks between 4 pm and 6 pm, ignoring her requests to slow down. At around 6:30 pm, he left their room to continue drinking and, while perched up against a railing, plunged face-first into the water. There was allegedly "no immediate response from the ship," 911 calls from other passengers didn't get through to the bridge and it took 20 minutes for a rescue boat to be sent out. Clint Markham's body was never recovered. The lawsuit claims that "even though he had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, Clint Markham had been conditioned by [Carnival] to keep partying, and to take it to the limit and beyond." Markham also alleges that Carnival called Clint's mother—also a plaintiff on the suit—to tell her that her son had killed himself and reported the same to the media. She said that her husband had no history of depression or suicidal tendencies and that no suicide note was found on the ship. A spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines declined to comment on the pending litigation. The company has recently been testing out a $50 all-you-can drink package on one of its ships.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.