Cruise Ship Trip Safety Tips – Keep You And Your Family Safe!
Cruise vacations are a fun way to see many different exotic locations, involve the whole family and really relax and enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, there’s also a dark side to cruise vacations.
To keep you and your family safe, keep reading for essential tips on cruise safety tips that will teach you how to stay healthy and secure while on board.
1. Always Be Aware
Generally, cruise ships are safe and secure contained environments. Because of this, we’re more likely to let our guard down. But, just because the life is good and the weather is warm does not mean you shouldn’t always be aware of others and your surroundings.
Particularly on large ships, don’t traverse dark passageways, leave your drink alone or allow yourself to get in a situation that feels uncomfortable or wrong.
2. Use the Safe
Like hotels, all cruise ships will have an on-board safe. First, leave your expensive jewelry and designer watches at home. Second, use the safe to store passports and extra cash.
Most cruise ships have smaller, lightweight safes in the cabin that are fine for storing small electronics and tip cash, but they are easily picked or bypassed.
3. Watch Your Diet and Water
Typically, the food and water on a cruise shape is safe. However, when you’re on-shore always drink bottled water and try to eat at clean, upscale restaurants. You don’t want to ruin your beautiful cruise vacation with a bout of dysentery.
As unlikely as it would seem, the best way of guaranteeing your health and safety on board a cruise ship is to practice a little moderation. With so many exotic food and drinks available on cruise ships, it’s very easy to go overboard (hopefully not literally!) and gorge yourself on the options available. Firstly, remember that any allergies you had on land apply at sea, so watch out for these. Secondly, the affects of alcohol are that bit more pronounced at sea, thanks to the unsteadiness of the waves making accidents that little bit more likely to occur, as well as lowering your guard making you a big target for thieves.
While the water is almost certainly fine to drink on board ship, a whole different set of rules apply when you reach land – make sure you get bottled water only, and don’t accept ice cubes. Another cruise travel tip worth bearing in mind is that you should keep an eye on the food when you reach land… if the hot Caribbean sun looks like it’s taken its toll on any of the food, be sure to steer clear.
4. Be Careful with Alcohol
Booze can really flow on a cruise ship, particularly an all-inclusive sailing adventure. Remember, alcohol compromises your facilities and your judgment. You are not only surrounded by strangers, but you’re also on-board a moving vessel that’s traveling at 20 knots.
5. Set a Gambling Budget
If you feel like a flutter when on board, feel free to enjoy the gambling facilities available, but remember that the money flying about is more likely than anything else to attract a criminal element. Take your winnings to the ship’s safe periodically to make sure you don’t have too much on you at any one time. If you win big, be sure to request an escort, and don’t make a big deal of it unless you want to turn yourself into a walking cash machine for unscrupulous types.
Also, keep yourself and your wallet safe by setting a firm gambling budget, and remember that thieves cruise too. If you’re ahead, cash your winnings occasionally and have them escorted to the ship’s safe, and never – ever – carry large sums of money, winnings or not, around with you.
6. Be Aware of the Crew
Cruise lines carefully screen their employees, and cruise ship employees are hardworking and honest. However, you should always bear in mind that most cruise ship companies have a strict policy about not allowing crew members to interact with passengers outside their duties.
That said, it’s safe to assume that the majority of the ship’s staff are hard working, above board and honest, but don’t tempt fate. Wages on cruise ships can be very low, so keep your valuables locked up and out of sight. Most ships prevent staff socialising with guests, so if you are invited to a crew-only part of the ship it’s best to decline or if a crew member invites you back to their cabin, say no firmly but politely and report it to the cruise director.. While the chances are it’s just what it sounds like, it could be a ruse to get you away from the valuables in your room! Keep your guard up and watch for anything suspicious and you should have no problem maintaining your cruise ship safety.
7. Keep a watchful eye on things
It should go without saying, but you have to keep a careful eye on your surroundings. When on holiday, the aim is of course to relax and unwind, but doing this lowers our awareness of things and it’s very easy to let your guard drop. People on cruises are rich pickings for petty thieves, so keep your guard up and behave as you would if you were in a big city: don’t walk down darkened corridors, don’t accept drinks from strangers and it’s best not to wander the ship alone, especially at night. Practice some vigilance and you should have no problems with cruise ship safety.
8. Look after you valuables
The best way of ensuring your valuables’ safety on a cruise is to leave them at home in the first place! If you still insist on bringing some luxuries then treat them with care. The safe in your room should be sufficient for replaceable items, but if it’s something that you simply cannot lose then use the ship’s safe – this tends to be a lot more secure than the ‘flimsy’ room ones. And of course it goes without saying that cruise travel insurance is vital, to make sure that your valuables are covered should the worst happen.
9. Check your ship’s report card
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a department called the Vessel Sanitation Program. That program inspects ships on a regular basis for cleanliness, food preparation, hygiene, water control, rodents and disease prevention. Upon inspection, each ship is given a report card that is then made available on the CDC web site.
Before you book your next cruise, look up your specific ship’s report card to check their grade.
10. Put safety first
Before you book a cruise, even a “family” cruise or a “kid” cruise, always make sure you know the cruise line’s policy on child safety. If they don’t have one or if it isn’t readily available to you, then they are not the cruise line for you.
Ask about their daycare employees, the activity counselors and the children’s guides – are they qualified to work with children? Do they have first aid certification? Have they been thoroughly screened? What background checks has the cruise line done? How does the cruise line keep track of every child when parents aren’t present?
11. Be diligent, especially on shore
Admittedly, a cruise can feel very safe. It’s an enclosed environment, but that doesn’t mean parents can fully let down their guard. Kids can still fall, slip, get hurt, wander into unsupervised or dangerous areas and generally do what kids do.
Despite the childcare, the amenities available to you and the enclosed space, never forget that you’re a parent. If you’re going on shore with your children, keep a close eye on them and try sticking to cruise-ship organized activities.
Avoid getting overly involved with the locals, and never, ever leave your party to go with a local. The rule is no one leaves unless everyone goes together. Don’t walk on shore at night. When on shore, try to stay in busy, touristy areas and at night stay to well lighted areas. The idea is not to get caught in a situation that someone else may control. Separating from your party and walking alone day or night can quickly result in tragedy.
12. Have your papers in order
Before you leave, make sure that everyone has a passport. If any of the children have a different last name from yourself or your friend, or if they’re traveling without one parent, be sure to get copies of their birth certificates or custody agreements or a letter that states you’re allowed to bring them outside the country.
Also, make sure everyone is properly insured for travel, including cruise travel which has specific legal implications because of international waters and the various ports of call. Keep all this paperwork in a safe place.
Don’t give away your personal information to crew members, and onshore don’t give it to locals. Be careful with ID and passports. Don’t use a laptop where someone else can see what is on the screen and don’t store passwords or other sensitive information where they may be stolen. Be cautious using public computer terminals or telephones where your information might be overheard or seen.
16. Watch your alcohol consumption
Most injuries from falls occur because an innocent vacationer has too much to drink. Also, women especially, be careful not to leave your drinks unattended, or accept drinks from people you don’t know, as they might be tainted.
17. Shore excursions
Cruising wouldn’t be nearly as fun without experiencing shore excursions at your ports-of-call, but the cruise line will not guarantee that you will not be involved in an accident or contact food poisoning, so as with any place where you are in unfamiliar surroundings, you have to be watchful. If you decided to take a ship-sponsored tour in the morning, a day prior you should go and ask the tour guide a lot of questions (they probably think too many, but that’s what they are paid for), then go for your exploration on the scheduled day. Do not forget to allow yourself time to get back to the ship, cause if you don’t it can get expensive to catch up.
18. Keep up with all receipts for purchases charged to your room while on board
You absolutely do not want to get your bill and find any unexpected surprise for extra expenses or other things that you thought were included in you cruise but weren’t. One surefire way to avoid this issue is to request a print out from the ships purser. And if while you’re in the casino and happen to need additional cash you can obtain a cash advance against your account from the casino cashier.
19. Don’t fall overboard
This safety precaution while taking a cruise probably shouldn’t have to be said, but keep everything inside the ship while at sea. It rarely happens, but most people who fall off a cruise ship are never recovered, and it is almost always caused by stupidity.
So simple suggestion here is to always consider the railing around the outside of the ship. One of the joys of cruising is hanging over the railing looking at the waves, and even seeing dolphins swimming along side you. It hardly needs mentioning that leaning out too far, especially for children, carries with it obvious dangers. The railing is quite high and it would have to be a fairly determined or sheer madness to get close to falling, but it is always important to keep an eye on children, especially those with a tendency to fool about.
Another aspect of leaning over the railings is of course the potential risk of losing valuable items over the side. How many coins, glasses, wallets, keys, cards and other little essentials are now lodged firmly at the bottom of the world’s oceans? A countless number, certainly.
Always make sure that if you plan on looking over the side, your essential items are securely inside your pockets and can’t easily fall out. Particularly at risk are coat or jackets pockets which, should the breeze catch them, may flip upside down and promptly empty. Jacket pockets or trouser pockets that zip up are ideal. Even better is leaving the items back in your cabin.
Overall, cruise ships are safe. However, you should always be aware of the presence of others and your surroundings. Bon Voyage!
Browse our Cruise Lines Vacation Finder category for more cruise related tips, ideas and information of interest to your vacation preferences!