A man accused of murdering his wife on a family cruise because she would not stop laughing at him, faces the death penalty, a court heard.

According to Independent, Kenneth Manzanares had been married to his wife Kristy for than 20 years, when they set sail on a week-long trip around Alaska aboard the Emerald Princess with their three children.

But two days after the ship left port in Seattle, Washington, Ms Manzanares was found dead in her cabin with a severe head wound. 

The couple were heard shouting, shortly before her body was discovered.

A family member who stumbled upon the aftermath saw Mr Manzanares beside his wife with blood-stained hands and clothes.

An FBI report said that when he was asked what had happened, Mr Manzanares replied: “She would not stop laughing at me.”

Mr Manzanares grabbed his wife’s body and dragged her toward a balcony in the cabin, the report added. But the family member pulled her back inside.

Witnesses staying in nearby berths earlier reported a commotion coming from the cabin of the couple, who are both from Utah.