You have saved up your money all year long to book a cruise vacation. This may be your first cruise, or you may go on cruises every year like I do. Whether you are new to the world of cruising or an experienced veteran with many sea days under your belt, it’s always important to use common sense when you cruise. Having fun on a cruise is important, but cruise safety should be your #1 priority. Here are just a few tips to help you make the most of your cruise vacation.
Stay Vigilant on the Ship
Your cruise ship is your floating home and hotel. All the creature comforts you could want can be found on board. In fact, it is not unusual for some people to stay on the ship an entire cruise and never get off at the ports of call. Despite its comforting environment, you are sharing the ship with hundreds or thousands of other people you do not know. As a rule of thumb, you should treat the ship as you would any land hotel or city. Cruise safety begins on the cruise ship!
- Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid entering areas that are secluded or not well lit, especially if you are alone. Do not enter areas marked for crew only, as these areas may not be safe for passengers.
- Do not let anyone you don’t know into your stateroom. This includes crew members who you are not expecting. If you need to let a crew member in (a maintenance worker or room service, for example), keep your stateroom door open while they are in your room.
- Lock up any valuables you have on board. Most cruise ship staterooms have a safe that is free to use. Use it! Passports, wallets, money, jewelry, etc. should be locked up at all times. Our stateroom stewards may be some of the best workers on the ship, but you should still take precautions against theft as there have been instances where crew members with access to passenger staterooms have stolen their personal belongings.
- Remember, you are on a moving vessel. Ships at sea can rock even in the calmest of waters. Hold on to handrails and watch where you are walking.
- If your ship hits inclement weather or there are high winds, avoid using the top open decks of the ship. From personal experience, I can tell you that the winds on the open decks of a moving cruise ship can be very strong!
Stay Vigilant in Ports of Call
Many of the same rules apply to the ports of call you will visit during your cruise.
- You should treat any city you visit with the same amount of vigilance you would when visiting a city back home. Don’t let down your guard because you’re in vacation mode!
- Many ports of call offer beautiful beaches. Obey the lifeguards and signage. Don’t go in any waters you cannot swim in safely.
- Try to explore the ports in a group, or stick with the crowds.
- Don’t accept any unsolicited offers from locals, and don’t wander off the beaten path.
- Always carry photo ID and your ship room key with you.
- Carry a credit card and/or cash with you. Even if you don’t intend on shopping in port, an emergency situation may arise where you need funds.
- Most importantly: keep track of the time! Unlike a hotel, your ship will leave without you if you aren’t back in time!
Stay Vigilant with Children
A cruise is an awesome way to take a family vacation! Here are some tips to keep your kids safe on a cruise:
- Younger children should remain with their parents or in a children’s group at all times.
- Older children (teenagers and tweens) can be given more freedom to wander the ship on their own, but they should check in with you often.
- Walkie talkies are a great way to stay in contact with your kids.
- Many cruise lines now offer apps that you can use to communicate with your kids while on board.
- Use post-it notes or a whiteboard in your stateroom to let your kids know where to find you, or so let can let you know where they will be.
- Set up designated times that your kids must check in with you, and stick to these times.
- Set a curfew that your kids must be back in the stateroom by.
- Before your cruise, sit down with your kids and explain your rules and expectations to them.
- Your kids should help you come up with the rules for the cruise. Work together to come up with fair guidelines that everyone can agree on.
- Your children should never enter any passenger staterooms besides their own, even if they make friends on board. In fact, your children should never be in any stateroom hallways besides their own.
- Your children must respect cruise ship property and everyone else on board. (This goes for adults too!) Tossing anything overboard is a no-no. Remember: ship officers have the right to put anyone off the ship who is being negligent.
Stay Vigilant While Indulging
Have fun on your cruise! Drink to your heart’s content, but remember to maintain some level of cognizance.
- Again, remember that you are on a moving vessel. A rocking ship + impaired senses does not make for a good time!
- When in port, don’t drink so much that you can’t make it back to the ship. The ship will leave without you!
- Always keep an eye on your drink and don’t accept drinks from strangers.
- You don’t need a designated driver on a cruise, but you should try to be with someone who maintains a presence of mind to keep you safe.
- Stay away from the edges of the ship if you are impaired. This goes for railings overlooking multi-deck atriums too.
If you have a cruise coming up, bon voyage and have fun! Please remember to use common sense and stay safe! If you have any other tips to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.