Eternal Cruises Offers Unique Burial Alternative

Tampa, FL, June 30, 2008 -- The small and solemn multitude is clad in traditional blacks and grays, the voices muted, the music played at low volume and in a minor key. But two key factors set this familiar scene apart: enlivening each mourner's respectfully dreary attire is a brightly colored ring of tropical flowers; and the service is taking place on a wharf overlooked by the imposing bulk of one of the world's largest container ships, the 314-meter goliath Thanatos. For this is no ordinary burial service, rather the maiden voyage of a new and exciting trend in sepulture: The Eternal Cruises Voyage to Infinity.

"We believe our mission will fulfill the dreams of thousands, millions of the recently departed who may enjoy their most revered and aspired-to pastime for, essentially, forever," said Lucius Eriomos, Vice President of Eternal Cruises. "That, in any event, is our aim."

The Eternal Cruises concept is a familiar one, but with a unique twist, according to Eriomos. While many people desire a burial at sea, generally in the form of having one's ashes scattered across the waves in some favored region of the ocean, the Eternal Cruises Voyage to Infinity goes one step further.

"The oceans, and let us make no bones about it, are a stinking pit," said Eriomos. "When I die, much as I love the sea, the last place I want my ashes to commingle is in the grimy, oil-spattered, toxic waste and human bacteria smoothie that the Atlantic has become. That's why we invented Eternal Cruises. We allow our departed the chance to travel the seas eternally, forever, barring unforeseen bankruptcy, entombed and ocean-going."

The Eternal Cruises concept, according to Eriomos, is to preserve the ashes of the departed in a small receptacle placed within a "lovingly appointed, tastefully decorated container" that will follow with the Thanatos on a "non-stop cruise to the most wondrous and enchanting ports of the world."

"We begin by respectfully cremating the departed in a sterile facility located here on the Thanatos," said Eriomos. "We then compress the ashes and deposit them into a dignified, polished, sterling silver-plate 'Cask of Slumber'. Each cask is engraved with the name and dates of the departed, and is about the size of a bouillon cube, or a small matchbox. The casks are then lovingly placed, in a ceremony to be designed at the departed's or his or her survivors' discretion, within one of our Eternal Cruise containers. We can fit nearly 200,000 Casks of Slumber in a single container."

Payment for the services can be in the form of an annual fee, guaranteeing continued cruising for the cask, of $4,000, or a one-time payment of $50,000 will ensure that one's loved ones may remain at sea "in perpetuity, barring Force Majeur, insolvency, or other unforeseen hazards." If the annual payment method is chosen, and payment is not received, the Cask of Slumber is emptied over the side in a solemn 'Sayonara' ceremony.

The Eternal Cruises containers will initially occupy only a small portion of the gigantic Thanatos, which fully loaded can carry nearly 8,000 20-foot containers. "That's 1.6 billion people," says Eriomos. "While our client base is building fast, we don't expect to be running at full capacity for at least the next several dozen years."

Meanwhile, the Thanatos will continue to perform the functions of a traditional container ship, ferrying the remains of the deceased to numerous ports of call throughout the world, including Hong Kong, the Aleutian Islands, Rotterdam, and New Jersey.

"Our oceangoing adventurers will enjoy ceaseless variety as the Thanatos makes new and exotic ports, shipping new and exotic merchandise from place to place. We will ensure that the Eternal Cruises container is always placed uppermost and outwardmost in the ship, so that the departeds' ashes will enjoy sea views and fresh ocean breezes."

The first Eternal Cruises container has thus far collected nearly 11,000 dearly departed and duly matchboxed passengers. Until an initial quota of 100,000 is met, the first container will remain on the wharf in Tampa.

"It's only a matter of time," says Eriomos, "particularly when hurricane season gets rolling in earnest."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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