Going on a cruise is a trip of a lifetime for many of the two million British passengers who set sail on luxury liners every year.
But although your every need is catered for, with seemingly infinite amounts of first-class food, booze and entertainment, on top of blazing sunshine and fascinating ports of call, there’s one potential problem – you’re sharing this luxury experience with thousands of other passengers and crew you don’t know.
And while meeting some of those fellow passengers and crew can be part of the fun, there’s always the risk that there could be a bad apple among them.
Added to that the fact that you’re visiting several foreign and usually unfamiliar countries, and travelling there on deep, dangerous seas, and it’s sensible to take some safety precautions before and during your trip.
Normally, however, most problems encountered by passengers can be dealt with onboard by the crew, who, if they’re employed by a reputable cruise line, will have had comprehensive safety and emergency training.
But, ultimately you’re responsible for your own safety, so here’s what you can do to stay safe…
1. Get a decent travel insurance policy with cruise cover.2. Scan your passport before you go and save it in your email account so you can access it wherever you are, as its details will make it easier to get a replacement if necessary. Send a copy to a friend or relative too.
3. Listen carefully to the onboard safety drill and what to do if there’s an evacuation – you don’t want to be reenacting panicky scenes from Titanic during your voyage.
4. In the very unlikely event that there’s an emergency, make sure you know where your muster station is, get a lifejacket, stay calm and don’t go back for your possessions.
5. If you’re ill onboard, it might be worth asking the ship’s doctor to ring your own doctor, who’ll be able to advise on your medical history and medications if necessary.
6. It’s probably safest, although more expensive, to book any excursions, and particularly high-risk activities, through the cruise line rather than doing it yourself or going with one of the tour operators waiting at ports.
7. Ask the crew about and research the ports you’re visiting, as you don’t want to wander into potentially dangerous areas, or behave in a way that’s unacceptable in that country’s culture.
8. In port, always travel with other people, and don’t get into a taxi with someone you don’t know so you can split the fare.
9. Don’t wear valuable jewellery, carry large amounts of cash or show off expensive gear like cameras and laptops. Keep valuables and your passport in the ship’s safe.
10. Keep your guard up, and trust your instincts. Just being a cruise passenger doesn’t necessarily make someone trustworthy.
What are your cruise safety tips? Tell us in the Comments section below