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BEFORE YOU CRUISE

9 Cruise Safety Tips

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Cruises are one of the most enjoyable vacations you can take. But, not everything that glitters is gold. A cruise ship should be looked at as a small city on the water. As in most small cities, crime does happen.

9 Cruise Safety Tips

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1. Keep your guard up

It is natural to let your guard down on vacation, especially on a cruise ship. Life is good, the water is warm, the booze is flowing, the food is scrumptious — the ship seems like paradise.

You need to be aware of your surroundings on a ship just as you would in a big city. Don’t walk down darkened hallways; keep your distance when tempers flare; don’t accept drinks from strangers. If your gut tells you something is wrong, it probably is. And don’t keep it a secret, either; notify the Guest Relations the minute you suspect trouble.

2. Research your ship

Disney Magic and their "Wish Upon a Star" horn.

The best reports come from the Vessel Sanitation Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which routinely inspects ships for cleanliness, repair, food preparation and storage, water quality, hygiene, pest management and many other things. Check out your ship’s report card on the CDC website before you book your cruise. It will let you know the results of the last inspection and exactly what grade the ship received.

3. Use the ship’s safe

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Leave the Rolex watch and the Gucci handbag at home — no one is looking and you’re on vacation, so you don’t need to worry about the time.

Keep most of your cash and valuables (especially your jewelry, return tickets and passports) in arguably the world’s best rated fireproof safes.

The lightweight safe in your cabin is fine for storing small everyday items like your address book and tip money.

4. Watch what you eat

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If you are lactose intolerant in the United States, you will be lactose intolerant on a ship. If stateside seafood makes you puff up and itch, so will the onboard seafood. With the myriad options for dining on a cruise ship, you can certainly be adventurous. Just don’t be reckless.

Shipboard water is usually pretty good, but you should always insist on bottled water on shore. And make sure it is a sealed bottle (yes, I have seen “bottled” water refilled from the tap on a ship and on a plane).

5. Watch the booze 

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Booze will always compromise your judgment, perception, and behavior. While everyone likes to have a few umbrella drinks aboard ship, don’t let them get out of hand. Why not? Because booze on a boat is the same as booze on land — only you are moving forward at 20 knots and perhaps pitching or rocking.

6. Watch the gambling

Crooks cruise too, so cash-in your winnings periodically and take them to the ship’s safe; if you win big, ask for an escort. Don’t ever make a scene; it will only draw attention to you and make you a target for crime. For the same reason, be careful about flashing your money outside the casino, too. If you win, congratulations! Just keep the celebration low-key.

7. Keep your eyes open

No, the crew is not out to get you, but you need to understand that these are folks whose standard of living is most likely lower than yours. 99.999 percent of the crewmembers are honest and hard working, but don’t give them any opportunity to take advantage of you. Again, remember, you’re in a small city.

8. Land ho!

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Be careful on your shore excursions. The cruise lines organize the shore trips because they are moneymakers; in return, you get assurance of quality and security. You can save a buck by going on it alone, but beware. Make sure you negotiate any fares and fees upfront. Most cabbies are honest when the cards are on the table, but if you do not agree in advance, the sky will be the limit and you may find yourself in a police station for failure to pay the fare.

9. Report anything suspicious

Keep your eyes and ears open. If something looks odd to you, it probably is. Is there a creepy guy hanging outside the teen club? A man who is asking dozens of single ladies to dance? A couple that is fighting in public left and right? Take a walk to the Guest Relations desk and let the staff know. They will appreciate it.

A cruise vacation is meant to be an absolute blast. With a little awareness you’ll be on your way to the time of your life.

Written By: John Frenaye

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