Cruise Port Safety, Protect Yourself

IMG_0114 So your cruise ship finally made it to your first foreign port of call and your ready to hit the ground running, right?

A few months ago I was in Barcelona about to sail a Mediterranean cruise to Venice, and got to talking with a couple of fellow passengers. This couple saved for five years to take this trip and were in a bit of a pinch. At some point between the baggage claim at the Barcelona airport and the cruise ship, the husband and wife were both pick-pocketed. Someone literally took their wallet out of the back of his pants and reached in her purse. The cruise line helped them still have a memorable vacation, but it was sad, it could have been avoided.

Though you don’t have to go around your cruise port in an armored suit, it is good to protect yourself and know what is out there.

Here are five tips to cruise port safety:

Keep wallet close.  For me, I usually keep my wallet in my front pocket when I am in an unfamiliar place. It’s so easy to be distracted. Someone could easily tap you on the shoulder while the other person reaches for your wallet in your back pocket and you’d have no clue.

Dress down. If you’re in your cruise port for the day, don’t dress to impress, dress for comfort. Leave your fancy watches and jewelry on the ship. The less conspicuous you look to locals, the better off you are.

Make copies. It is always good to have a copy of your passport with you. I personally leave my passport in the ship’s safe and have a copy folded in my wallet just in case. If you don’t make it back to the ship or if something were to ever happen, you’d be in a better position with a copy of your passport.

Drink close to the pier. Cruise vacations are all about partying and having a good time. Just don’t party to far away from your cruise ship. Time zones maybe vary an hour or two from where you live, so you don’t want to walk back to the pier and find a missing ship! A lot cruise ports have plenty of bars and eateries close to the pier, especially in the Caribbean.

Know a little of the local language. This will help you if you’re going to take a taxi or go to a local part of a town. It’s always good to have a cheat sheet in your wallet, on your phone or know someone that knows the local language. Last year I was in Barcelona and got on the wrong bus, that wrong bus took me two hours out of town and I was stuck until I ran across a teenager that spoke a little English. It could have been a bad situation.

Tip: Don’t travel with large amounts of cash. Use an ATM at your destination or travel with a credit card with no international conversation charges.

A lot of vacationers lose sight of reality when it comes vacation time. By losing sight of reality, I mean travelers tend to think they are invincible from crime or anything bad happening to them because they are on vacation. You aren’t Superman; anything can happen, so be safe. Cruise port safety is all our of business.

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