How to Stay Safe Aboard Your Cruise Vacation

Embarking on a cruise presents an exciting opportunity for travel and discovering new experiences; however, cruising can pose potential hazards like any other mode of transportation. To ensure your safety, purchasing travel insurance before departure is vital, drinking responsibly, and familiarizing yourself with all exit points is vital. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or simply need a reminder, here are some safety tips to remember while on board.

Buy travel insurance

 Photo by Georgy Trofimov

Before embarking on any cruise, guests should purchase travel insurance to help cover the cost of any mishaps that may occur before, during, or after the cruise. Many cruise lines offer travel insurance that customers can purchase before the trip, including medical emergencies or evacuations, delayed or canceled cruises, lost luggage, and more. For example, Royal Caribbean’s Travel Protection Program offers up to 100% cash back if the cruise is canceled for a specific reason (e.g., death, illness, etc.), up to 90% cash back if the cruise is canceled for any other reason. Additionally, the Arch Insurance Company offers compensation for canceled cruises, delayed cruises, accidents while on the cruise, sickness while on the cruise, bag delays that are over 24 hours, and more. Buying travel insurance before embarking on a cruise can ensure less financial stress on your family should there be any emergency or mishap.

Pay attention during drills

Photo by brittak

International and U.S. Coast Guard law demands that cruise ships conduct a mandatory drill before sailing, known as muster drills. While the exact procedures may differ depending on the cruise line, the drill includes going to your assigned muster station (where you will meet in the unlikely event of an emergency) and checking in with a crew member who will go over the correct procedure for donning a life jacket. Additionally, the drills familiarize passengers with the emergency sounds and signals, so they can be prepared in the unlikely event of a crisis. These mandatory drills ensure that every guest, regardless of their sailing experience, knows the safety features on board. Give the drills your full attention, even if they are repetitive, as they will prepare you for any potential crisis. You will know where your muster station is and where you will gather should there be a problem, helping your family to be accounted for in the unlikely case of an emergency

Familiarize yourself with the exit locations

Photo by Cunard Line 

Familiarize yourself with the locations of the exits aboard the cruise ship, especially the one closest to your cabin. Before boarding, take the time to review the ship’s deck plan, which most cruise ships provide. Once you’re on board, take a few moments to scan for the nearest exits or simply ask a crew member to point them out to you. Knowing where the exits are, can help you and your loved ones quickly evacuate the cruise ship in the event of an emergency.

Drink Responsibly

Photo by Azamara Cruises 

Cruises can be a great place for socializing and making friends, with a wide range of restaurants and bars. With the plethora of alcohol options and desire to socialize, you might be tempted to drink more than you can handle, but we recommend drinking responsibly. Drinking responsibly ensures you can have a great time and indulge in the finest of wines, but can also stay alert and not be physically compromised. If you drink more than you can handle, you might make a fool of yourself aboard, but you may also, unknowingly, put yourself and others in danger, as you may not know where you are going or who is around you. Drinking responsibly allows you to indulge while keeping your wits about you, allowing you to scout out the area and quickly escape from situations that may feel unsafe. If you know you tend to go overboard when it comes to drinking, have someone you trust, keep an eye out, and ensure that you drink responsibly for your safety and the safety of others.

Lock up your valuables

Photo by Carnival Cruise Line 

With a plethora of onboard and port activities, cruises are a wonderful place to explore and have fun, but amid this fun, don’t forget to lock up your valuables whenever you leave your cabin. Use the cabin safe, provided by the cruise line, and if there is no cabin safe, hide it in a secure place where no one can find it. In all the excitement, it’s easy to forget to lock up your valuables, but lock them up so that they are not stolen or accidentally misplaced. If you are in a group with other people, designate someone to check the cabin room for any unlocked valuables before leaving, but if you are alone, check it yourself and make sure it is securely locked so that there are fewer chances of ruining your vacation with valuables being lost or stolen.

Keep your cabin off-limits to strangers

Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line 

While cruises are a fun way to make friends, be cautious about inviting them to your cabin without knowing them well enough to trust them. If you invite someone who you hadn’t known prior to your cruise back to your cabin, they might either break something or steal something in your cabin, particularly if your valuables aren’t locked away. Solo travelers, in particular, should be wary of anyone who they don’t know that wants to be invited back to their cabin because these people may have ulterior motives. When traveling in a group, watch out for each other and avoid inviting strangers to your cabin. Keeping newfound friendships to the public areas of the cruise helps ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe while also being able to enjoy the socializing opportunities that cruise ships offer.

Locate the  Cruise Medical Center

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Even if you’re a cautious cruiser, it’s still important to familiarize yourself with the onboard medical facilities in case of an emergency. Every cruise line has a cruise medical center that is equipped to deal with minor injuries and other non-emergency needs. Some cruise medical centers, such as Royal Caribbean’s, are equipped with cardiac monitors, automated external defibrillators, ventilators, x-ray machines, and more. Once aboard, guests should locate the cruise medical center so that they know where the center is located in case of an emergency. If a guest cannot locate the cruise medical center, they can ask a member of the crew, but knowing the location of the medical center in advance can expedite the process of getting medical help, should it be necessary.

Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line 

The aforementioned safety tips are just a few of the many measures that you should consider for staying secure while cruising. It’s critical to heed the instructions provided by the onboard staff, as they are the foremost authority on safety concerns while at sea. Whether you’re a novice or an expert cruiser, practicing onboard safety protocols is vital for enhancing your enjoyment and guaranteeing a positive experience. 

Will you be incorporating any of these safety measures during your next cruise? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section and prioritize your safety throughout your trip!

by Kashaf Rashid