How To Stay Safe On Your Cruise
It’s a simple fact and one that we see quite often. People do become sick or do suffer injuries while on a cruise. The reality is that it happens frequently, though serious accidents and death are less common.
More than 20 million people cruise each year!
Common accidents include slips, trips, falls and other mishaps caused by the rocking of the boat, unsteady footing, wet flooring and slippery areas. These can lead to wrenched backs, broken bones, internal injuries and concussions.
It’s best to take note of potential hazards prior to boarding the cruise ship as well as when you are onboard. How safe is your cruise? Find out more here.
Take a quick tour of the boat to identify potential problem areas – open decks, poolside areas and areas around the restaurants. The cruise lines will do their best to keep these areas clean, dry and free of obstacles but it’s a good idea to take caution into your own hands as well.
Personal safety starts with you. Some of these tips are specific to where you are. Some tips apply wherever you might be.
Cruise ship safety tips
Study your surroundings. When you board a ship, you’re typically handed a map (if not, pick one up at the purser’s office). Study the layout. Give yourself a tour of the ship. Also check the cruise ship safety chart on the back of your cabin door for the route to your assigned muster station, your designated area to congregate in the event of an emergency. If there is a safety video playing on the TV, take time to watch it.
Heed the safety drill . You will be required to attend a safety drill. Yes, it might come at a time when you’d rather be sitting by the pool, and to seasoned cruisers, it will be a boring exercise. But do as instructed.
Grab your orange life jacket from your cabin, head to the assigned muster station (as indicated by the big letter on your life jacket) and listen to the crew instructions. This is not the time to take photos or chat. It is the time to really learn what to do in the event of an emergency.
Locate the life jacket . Most ships will require you to try on your life jacket at the drill — you can typically find it in a closet in your cabin. But even if not instructed to do so, try it and make sure it fits.
If you have kids, make sure your cabin is equipped with an appropriate infant or child life jacket. Notable features include a whistle you can blow to draw attention.
Pay close attention to your safety briefing. Most cruise lines give a mandatory safety orientation on the first day, often before the ship leaves. Do not view this as an inconvenience, but rather as an important introduction to the ship.
You will be instructed what to do in case of an emergency. Become familiar with the path you must take from your cabin to your emergency grouping area so that you can follow it when necessary.
Leave valuables at home. Every cruise has at least one dress-up night when guests are encouraged to come to dinner in formal attire. It is tempting to bring jewelry from home to celebrate this event.
However, it is wiser simply to dress up and leave jewelry and other expensive items at home. Wearing and displaying valuables on a cruise can make you an obvious target for theft or assault.
Your cabin will have a small safe, but many crew members will have the codes to override it for passengers who forget their own safe codes. If you must bring valuables with you, visit the boat’s administration desk for information on using the boat safe.
General health and safety tips
Drink in moderation. Alcohol is freely available on a cruise ship, at meals, at bars and at the casino.
However, the most common crime on a cruise ship is sexual assault, and it most commonly happens when the victim is intoxicated. Drinking in your cabin is allowed, so if you plan to have more than a few drinks, it is best to do so in the safety of your room.
Wash your hands
Understand that certain areas of the ship – stairways, restaurant and food areas, pools and spas, ship exit areas and poorly lit areas of the cruise ship are the locations where most injuries will occur.
Take care of your health. Use your own restroom facilities instead of public ones as much as possible to avoid exposure to contagious illnesses. Carry antibacterial wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Begin a multivitamin regimen before you begin your cruise.
Poolside safety tips
Watch your children closely. Ships are big places and there is a lot going on. While there may be lifeguards or other staff watching the pool area, you should be keeping a close eye on your children
Wear appropriate shoes. Cruise ships are generally quite stable, but it is important to wear shoes with rubber grip soles, particularly when walking on the deck.
Women should wear low heels if they wear heels at all. Do not go about barefoot, even when going to and from the pool.
Drinking can lead to injury and poor decision making.
Shore excursion safety tips
Keep your money out of sight. Unless you do a lot of gambling onboard, this is easy on the ship, where most transactions are done with your room key as a debit card.
However, when you leave the ship, be sure to keep your money in a traveler’s money belt and under your clothes. Keep a small amount of cash in a pocket for convenience, but if you decide to make a purchase, go somewhere out of sight to access your money or credit cards.
Do not travel alone. This applies to both the cruise experience itself, and traveling anywhere while on the cruise.
Single travelers are most likely to be the victims of violent crime, sexual assault and theft. The buddy system is your first and best line of defense.
Listen to local officials and tour guides. Their best interest is to keep visitors to their port, island or country safe. For many cruise ships docking locations, the tourism economy has a huge impact. Most locals involved in the industry realize that incidents and accidents are simply bad for business.
If you or your relatives have cruise safety questions or wish to speak to us about a possible claim regarding an injury you suffered while cruising, please call our office at this toll-free number: 800-905-2891.