Monday, June 26

Stay Safe at Sea

If you are wondering about the safety of being onboard a cruise ship or maybe you've just watched the film Poseidon and need a few reassurements then read on. Concerns for safety are perfectly natural and have become a primary concern of those planning their cruise trip. As a passenger you are encouraged to leave your troubles behind and enjoy yourself once on board the ship. The following are preventative steps that you can take to ensure a safe cruise:

  • Be sure to carry important items such as medication and expensive jewellery in your carry on luggage.
  • Photocopy contents of your wallet such as your drivers license and credit cards as well as your passport. It is always a good idea to carry a copy of your passport in your carry on luggage and leave one at home.
  • Keep luggage within your sight until handed over to the cruise line unless unavoidable eg flying. REMEMBER - Average looking luggage is less targeted for theft than expensive looking luggage.
  • Never list your full home address and telephone number on your luggage tags. A sophisticated home burglar will then know that you are on a cruise and not be home soon. Like airport security, cruise ships use metal detectors at check-in. The use of X-ray and dogs are enforced to make sure that your cruise is a safe one.

Cabin Security:

  • Never assume that your stateroom is as secure as a hotel. Since many crew members have keys to the staterooms it is always smart to check the stateroom thoroughly before settling in.
  • Do not leave valuable items out within sight. Use stateroom safes whenever possible. If your stateroom will not have a safe, be sure to use the ship safe deposit box to store valuable items, such as important papers, credit cards, extra cash and jewellery.
  • Always use all locks on the stateroom door. Do not open your sate room door to those you don't know.
  • Keep your stateroom key with you, as dishonest crew members or passengers will look for the opportunity to take a loose key or one that is left unattended.

Family Security:

  • If you are sailing with your children, be sure to set family rules in advance. Curfews and restrictions like at home are a good idea. It is suggested that teenagers not accompany crew members in non-public areas.
  • Crew members are not allowed inside staterooms. Though the crime rate is relatively low, there are still predators on board.
  • Intoxicated passengers may not always act appropriately and can become overly aggressive. Protect your children with bed checks, curfews, restrictions, and special meeting places. Stay alert and pay attention to the children that your children spend time with.
  • Make contact with your children periodically even if they are supervised. Make sure your children can identify the proper ship crew member as a contact person in case of an emergency. It is good advice to make your children familiar with where the pursers desk is and the number to which they can dial in case of an emergency.

The Laws:

  • Most ships are non UK registered and sail within territorial waters where UK laws may not apply. The cruise industry does not report crime data consistently to the police and has very little within its database as to which ships have the most crime problems.
  • Prosecution of crime, in many cases, is left in the hands of the local port authority. Please know that if you or your child gets into trouble on board a cruise ship or in a port of call, you may be held accountable to the laws of that foreign country.

Life Boat Drills:

  • Lifeboat Drills are required by law. You will notice in your stateroom the bright orange Flotation Devices (PFD) or life jackets. Cruise lines take the safety of their guests very seriously.
  • Be sure to study the emergency card on the back of your stateroom door. Your muster station will be indicated on this card. Shortly before the ship sails, an announcement will be made and the lifeboat drill begins when the alarm bells are sounded. At this point you will proceed to your muster station. Crew members will be stationed at the stairwells on each deck to assist with directions. Crew members will be on hand to check your stateroom number off of their list and instruct you on how to properly put on your PFD. There are two important features, a light that activates in water and a whistle. An officer assigned to your life boat will instruct the group on the procedures to follow should it become necessary to actually lower the boat. Roll is taken and room stewards check the staterooms to make sure that everyone attends.

These points are not made to frighten you, they are made to ensure your cruise is the holiday of a lifetime for all the right reasons.


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