Princess Cruises said the woman died Tuesday night on the Emerald Princess, which was carrying 3,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members on a weeklong trip that left Sunday from Seattle.
The Princess Cruise ship, Emerald Princess, was in the middle of a seven-day Alaskan cruise, but after the incident it was diverted and docked in Juneau. It is the FBI's understanding this was a domestic dispute of some kind that led to the woman's death.
Staci Feger-Pellessier had no other details ahead of a scheduled Thursday news conference at which the USA attorney's office plans to announce charges.
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The FBI said it is required to step in when such deaths occur in global or US waters. The scheduled scenic cruising of Tracy Arm Fjord for today has been canceled. There are an estimated 200 passenger deaths a year, around the world.
The FBI has dispatched teams from Anchorage and Seattle to Juneau to talk to the family. The agency has jurisdiction in this case, it said, because the incident happened on the water.
FBI spokeswoman, Staci Feger-Pellessier, said that no arrests had been made in the domestic violence case but a team was meeting the ship in Juneau, Alaska to begin their investigation.
Passengers said there were games, movies and food to help pass the time until they were allowed to leave the boat for shore excursions in Juneau late Wednesday afternoon, hours after docking. The FBI is involved because the death occurred in US waters.
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All deaths on board are not just among passengers and some are tragic accidents too.
Company spokeswoman Negin Kamali declined to provide any other details, including the woman's name, and referred questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Emerald Princess is on a 7-day roundtrip cruise that departed Seattle on July 23. She was also unable to give further details about the victim, nor did she have additional information about the cruise ship, aside from it being a Princess Cruises liner.
Princess Cruises confirmed "conversations" were taking place to decide whether the passengers will be compensated.
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"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and all those impacted by this tragic event", Princess Cruises wrote in a statement.