8 Tips on How to Stay Safe on a Cruise Ship Vacation
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1. Read Your Ticket
If you are planning a cruise, in order to be aware of your rights, it is imperative that you read the fine print on your ticket for information regarding disclaimers, conditions and liability.
You will know in advance when, where, and how you must file a claim against the cruise line for any injury incurred while on board.
2. Be Aware
While on board, monitor your safety and security in the same manner you would in a big-city hotel.
Take notice of escape routes and multiple exits, not just from your room, but also from the decks.
Each cruise holds a muster drill at the beginning of each trip. This is to familiarize all the guests with their muster station, the place where you should assemble in case of an emergency.
Participate and pay attention during these drills, paying attention to where the life jackets are and how to get to the lifeboats. An elderly couple was in fact kicked off a Seabourn cruise ship for not attending the safety drill.
Remember that the general emergency signal is usually seven short blasts on the ship’s whistle followed by one long blast.
3. Protect Yourself Against Sexual Assault
Be cautious when socializing with others on the ship.
Do not invite anyone to your cabin, particularly if you’ve been drinking.
Do not leave your drink unattended.
Avoid providing too much personal information to fellow passengers.
Avoid walking alone in isolated areas.
Travel with at least one other person.
Do not fraternize with crew members.
4. Avoid Drinking to Excess
Not only does alcohol put you at a disadvantage if you are being pursued by another passenger or crew member, it makes an accident such as falling overboard more likely.
Alcohol also can dampen good judgment and lead to reckless conduct.
5. Secure Your Possessions
According to experts, passengers on cruises have a false sense of security. However, as is evident by the many different crimes which occur on cruises, this is not the case.
It is important to remember that you are in fact in a closed environment surrounded by thousands of strangers.
Protect your personal belongings from theft by keeping them securely on your body or by locking them in a safe.
Do not save lounge chairs with valuable personal belongings.
When traveling on a shore excursion, be extremely wary of pickpockets, leaving all but the most necessary items aboard the ship when embarking.
6. Be Careful on Shore Visits
Some of the port cities on your cruise itinerary may not actually be safe. It is important not to travel these cities without a supervised guide.
However, even if the city has a reputation for safety, it is important to keep your guard up when navigating around these foreign cities alone.
In regards to shore excursions booked through the cruise ship companies, it is also important to be aware that the law of the United States recognizes these companies as independent contractors. This means that if an injury occurs on one of these excursions, the cruise ship companies will argue that they have no liability for the companies.
However, there are a few theories of liability to hold the cruise ship companies directly accountable. One of them is the negligent failure to warn passengers of dangers. This means that if the cruise ship company was aware of prior incidents involving the danger at hand, the cruise line could be held independently liable.
If you are looking into a shore excursion, it is important to ask the cruise company questions regarding their knowledge of the operator, obtaining direct confirmation that there have been no prior incidents with said company.
7. Swim at Your Own Risk
Remember that most cruise lines do not have lifeguards.
Never let your child swim without someone watching.
Adults who are not experienced swimmers should not go in the pool during times when no one is there.
Adults should also have a buddy system when going in the pool.
8. Stay Healthy
To protect yourself from illness, drink bottled water on the ship and on shore.
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and often.
Verify that your vaccinations are up to date.
Make sure your ship has an infirmary.
Get a flu shot before your trip.
Before traveling, check out your ship’s sanitation record.