There is no getting around it, crime and violence is everywhere – you however, can protect yourself. While being inside the “gate” at the cruise port is safe, the outside environment can sometimes be not-so-sterile.
7 Cruise Port Safety tips:
1. Use A Reputable Company
This can start before you even step foot on your cruise ship. If you don’t book through the cruise line, book through a company that vets their shore excursion operators and is not a fly-by-night company. Some third party companies that are reputable are Cruising Excursions and Viator. Do plenty of research anytime you step foot off the ship – your safety depends on it.
2. Meet New People
It’s not a bad idea to go to the shore excursion talks on the cruise. Even if you book through another company, you can still meet folks who are doing excursions and you will have a familiar face when you’re off the ship. There are roll calls that are on Cruise Critic and ShipMate App lets you meet people before you sail.
3. Make Copies of Documents
Always have photo copies of your documents and keep them secure on the cruise ship. A lost passport could cause a lot of trouble when you get back to your homeport. Just a copy of the passport won’t be enough, make copies of the front inside and back page too. Be sure all of your passport information is filled out, including emergency contact information.
You should also make copies – front and back – of your credit card.
4. Don’t Take Everything Ashore
If you are traveling together, it’s smart to leave at least one credit card and cell phone back in the room. If something ever happens, you at least have a way to get home or take care of incidentals aboard the ship.
If your card were to get compromised while in port and you didn’t have payment to settle your sail account aboard, the cruise line makes you sign a promissory note that you will settle up when you get home – no one wants that hassle.
5. Have Travel Insurance
If you were to break your leg or require urgent medical attention while in a foreign port, a lot of health care policies do not cover you when you’re out of the country – for that reason you should have trip insurance. Trip insurance policies are typically a few percent of the overall cost of your trip and could save you up thousands of dollars if you need it.
Recently on Cruise Radio we had a listener who needed to be medevac’d – the cost was $20,000 – the trip insurance policy covered the transportation and medical.
6. Don’t Be Flashy
Just like when you go snorkeling or diving you don’t wear flashy items because a barracuda will hunt you down – the same goes for being in a foreign port. If you have that flashy diamond ring, an expensive Rolex watch or iDevice, you are just asking to be targeted. Leave your watches, fancy jewelry and iDevices on the ship. Take only the essentials when you head off for your excursion. When you return from your excursion you can always go back on the ship, grab your laptop or iPad and head to the internet cafe.
7. Smart Traveler Program
The United States has the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a free service and totally discreet, the government will never release your where-abouts and is intended for your safety. This service also will contact you if something happens back home or if a situation arises in one of the destinations you’re traveling to. Along with signing up for this program, you should always leave a copy of your itinerary and passport with your family just in case the unexpected happens.
I didn’t write this article to tell you to stay on the ship and never get off – that would be foolish. Instead just use common sense while on vacation.
You would not walk around an unfamiliar city alone at night, why would you 1,000-miles away from home?
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