A vacation on a luxurious cruise ship is a great way to get away from it all. But spending a week on board one of these "floating hotels" can present some safety concerns for those who are not prepared.
Luxury cruises with 1,000 or fewer passengers tend to be more safety and security conscious. Andrew Harper, travel agency and publisher of Hideaway Report, specializes in luxury travel with cruise options from luxury ocean liners to intimate river ships.
Following are some tips on personal cruise safety that will lead to a more enjoyable escape:
First Things First
- Make sure that you and everyone in your party know the location of life jackets and rescue boats. Write down this information and give it to each person in your group just in case they forget.
- Pay close attention to safety instructions. If something unforeseen does happen, stay calm, get your life jacket and go to your muster station.
- Study the location of various exits and how to reach them from your cabin. Finally, be sure you know where the main decks, medical and emergency centers are located.
Use Your Safe
- Don't carry large amounts of cash on a cruise.
- Store your cash and valuables in the safe located in your cabin.
- Use credit cards whenever possible, or charge items to your cabin.
- Always carry two credit/debit cards so you have a backup if one is lost or stolen.
Keep a Low Profile
- Avoid drawing attention to yourself. Leave your most valuable jewelry at home.
- Bring a simple digital camera rather than your fancy one. If you must bring valuables, keep them out of sight or store them in your cabin safe.
Keep It Clean
Cruising with a thousand guests and crew in relatively close quarters could lead to illnesses.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely inspects ships for many things, such as cleanliness, food preparation and water quality.
- Before booking your cruise, you can check your ship's report card on the CDC website.
Avoid Sharing Personal Information
- Be careful not to share too much personal information with the crew or other passengers.
- Never accept an invitation to visit the crew-only area of the ship.
- While teens and young adults want to be on their own, insist on a specific time when they must return to the cabin.
- No child of any age should wander around the ship alone. If younger kids are in supervised activities, know when to pick them up.
Finally, check your health insurance before departing on your trip. Make sure you and your family are covered if they get sick or injured while out of the country. Bring needed prescription medications with you, and have the phone number of your doctor back home just in case you fall ill and need him or her to communicate with the ship's medical officer.
Note that most traditional health insurance plans do not provide coverage for air medical evacuation and transportation services. International transports off a boat to a medical facility can be extremely costly. Talk to your HUB broker about buying travel insurance that covers emergency medical expenses and evacuation.
You want your cruise vacation to be fun and enjoyable with happy memories for all. It can be if you are careful and prepared.