Cruises are a very popular way to escape. From family vacations, to solo trips at sea, cruises offer a host of entertainment and relaxation options.
However, you can’t ignore your concerns of cruise safety. Mishaps can, and do, occur aboard cruise ships. You are sailing on the open sea, and assistance in any form won’t be easy to come by, which puts you in a more vulnerable spot as compared to a vacation on land.
You can put your mind to rest though, as cruising is among the safest travel options. Thousands of cruises take place every day around the world, and the accident percentage is very small. Crossing city roads is perhaps a more dangerous activity.
All you need is to follow certain basic safety tips to protect yourself. Observe some easy-to-follow protocols, and you can have the time of your life aboard the cruise ship.
Read the Ticket Carefully
Once you get your ticket, read between the lines. It will contain detailed information on any conditions attached to filing claims, the extent of the cruise company’s liability regarding damages that you might suffer onboard, and any other disclaimers. This will make you well aware of your rights before you even step onboard.
Pay Heed to the Safety Drills
The crewmembers will conduct a safety drill very soon after you board the ship. Pay full attention, because ignoring this might turn out to be very costly. They will explain the safety parameters in full detail, as well as take you through the emergency evacuation processes. You might also not be aware of details like how to wear a lifejacket, or where the lifeboats are located, so it’s imperative that you pay attention to the information shared in this drill.
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Make Friends Aboard if Traveling Solo
Most cruises arrange meet-and-greet events at the beginning of the journey. Use these events to acquaint yourself with the other guests or families. Having reliable companions onboard goes a long way to mitigate the risk of activities like unattended swimming.
Go Easy on the Alcohol
Uncontrolled drinking is one of the major causes of mishaps in parties, and cruise ships are no exception. Don’t drink beyond your limits. Lots of alcohol will be available onboard, but don’t get carried away. Drink responsibly, and don’t accept drinks from strangers. Also, don’t leave your drink unattended, and don’t accept unsolicited assistance from strangers aboard.
Keep the Cabin Doors Locked
This is a basic but useful safety measure. The moment you enter your cabin for the first time, check to make sure that the bolt or latch is working. If it does not work, request that maintenance immediately come and fix your locks. If there is a knock on the door, check first through the peephole before opening the door. Don’t announce your cabin number to anyone, especially if you are a solo traveler.
Avoid Carrying Large Amounts of Cash
You can carry out many of the transactions onboard via a credit card, and you can use a credit card if you decide to do some shopping at the ports. Some establishments might accept only cash, so keep some of it with you, but don’t carry an excessive amount. Use your cabin safe to keep cash stashed away while onboard. When you disembark at the ports, store the cash in a money belt that is attached to your body.
Avoid Risky Areas of Port Cities
A necessary precaution to take when checking out the cities in the ports of call is to avoid visiting restricted or dangerous locations. Obtain proper prior knowledge before you go exploring.
Check for Medical Facilities Onboard
If you are a patient with a chronic disease who needs regular medical attention, you can take a cruise without any fears. Before booking the ticket, though, confirm the presence of medical staff and related facilities onboard the ship.
Keep your regular prescription medicines, and update the ship’s medical staff about them, in case you need to seek their attention. If you are feeling seriously sick, arrange for the ship’s medics to have a word with your regular physician.
Have Insurance in Place
When booking a cruise, it is important to protect yourself financially from unexpected situations like medical emergencies, trip cancellation, or cruise line bankruptcy/financial default. While many cruise lines offer a protection or waiver plan to passengers at the time of booking, the coverage it offers is quite limited. Cruise line passengers would be better off purchasing travel insurance.
It is important to remember that a cruise line’s protection plan can only offer coverage for events directly related to your time onboard the ship. If you get sick and their onboard medical facility cannot treat you, it will likely not provide coverage for treatment ashore. In addition, the plans offered by cruise lines typically do not cover preexisting conditions, or trip cancellation coverage that is not explicitly stated in the policy. Plus, if your cruise line goes out of business after you have paid for your ticket, you will not likely be able to get a refund.
On the other hand, a comprehensive travel insurance policy can offer coverage for medical issues, and travel delay or cancellation due to a variety of reasons outlined in the individual policies, including cruise line bankruptcy/default in certain situations. With a travel insurance plan, you can have financial protection for the entirety of your trip; not just your time aboard the ship.
Be Careful When Going for a Swim
This applies to swimming both onboard the ship, as well as in the sea. Some cruises might not have lifeguards onboard, so be careful when you go for a swim in the ship’s swimming pools. Observe the safety guidelines meticulously, and exercise even more caution when you decide to go for a swim in the sea, or indulge in other activities like snorkeling or scuba diving.
If you have any doubt regarding your abilities or about the safety measures, it’s best to skip the activity. Enjoy the scenery safely from the ship.
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Avoid Leaning on the Ship’s Railings
The ship’s railings are meant to protect you from falling overboard. They are not meant for you to lean against or climb on, as that can be very dangerous. Avoid being adventurous in the proximity of the railings. If you have small children with you, do not let them play close to the railings, and stay away from the railings in the event of stormy weather.
Smoke Only in Designated Areas
You can’t smoke in your cabin, on the deck, or anywhere except in the designated smoking areas. Observe the protocols, and don’t try to be sneaky. A ship catching fire on the high seas can be hazardous, to say the least. Also, don’t use any heating apparatus in your cabin unless it is permitted.
To conclude, there is a lot onboard a cruise ship to entertain you and make your trip memorable. Do your best to make the most of these opportunities, and observe these simple and basic safety rules. This will ensure that you have a trip that is memorable for all the right reasons.
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