7th Nov 2016
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Cruising: how to stay safe at sea
Author: SJ Fallick
Cruising: how to stay safe at sea

SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. Her next dream destinations include Cuba and Morocco.

Part of the nature of travelling is that things can go wrong, from meeting with bad weather to losing something valuable. When it comes to a cruise holiday, however, there is plenty you can do to protect yourself, your family and your possessions while on the high seas.

The safety briefing
There’s no disputing the fact that they’re long, and at times boring, but you will learn essential information in the event of a genuine emergency at the mandatory safety briefing. Topics covered in depth include where your lifejacket is stored in your stateroom and how to wear it, where to go if a real emergency arises, what to bring if you need to evacuate the ship, and what to do in a variety of other situations, such as a fire. If you’ve seen Titanic we don’t need to go into why all these details are so important.

Travel insurance
This is vital for any holiday, as you can lose your luggage, get sick or have an accident away from home. Check the fine print of a policy very carefully before you buy, and make sure it offers adequate cover for your needs, and those of anyone else travelling with you. Also check what’s excluded, such as pre-existing conditions.

Lock away valuables
Like most hotel rooms, all ships’ staterooms have a personal safe so you can lock away valuable items such as jewellery, watches, credit cards, tickets, money and passports. When you’re not in your room, or are going ashore, hide any larger items that you’re not using, such as cameras and laptops as an extra precaution. Never leave items on the balcony unattended either, there’s a chance they’ll go overboard or walkabout.

cruise ship bartender

Alcohol and smoking
While enjoying a drink is a welcome part of many people’s holidays, if you overdo it you may put yourself at risk of doing something which can end up in tears – again reference Rose’s Titanic moment on the ship’s railings. There are also strict rules about where you can and can’t enjoy a cigarette, including your stateroom and balcony, so if you’re a smoker be sure to know what’s okay and what’s not. Don’t throw anything overboard either, especially cigarette butts.

Ask for help if needed
If you are not very stable on your feet or you have an ongoing health problem, or you are travelling with someone who does, ask the cruise line for anything that you may need well before you leave home. This includes use of a wheelchair, oxygen tanks, or regular access to the ship’s doctor or staff. Be sure to carry all your medications with you, with enough for the cruise and some extra in case you get stuck away longer than expected, along with copies of the relevant prescriptions.

Keep an eye on kids
Not only does allowing your grandkids too much freedom on a cruise annoy other guests, it can be downright dangerous. Observe the rules surrounding where kids can and cannot go on board, especially public areas, such as the ship’s pools and Jacuzzis, as to date there aren’t lifeguards on board. Never allow kids to be supervised by their siblings, and never allow them to climb on the ship’s railings.

Keep your guard up
Like in any new or unfamiliar environment it’s important to be aware of where you go, and of others around you. If you see any trouble or fighting between guests, keep your distance and report it to a member of the crew. Same goes for any suspicious behaviour on accommodation decks at odd hours. If you see someone go overboard, or discover smoke anywhere on ship, raise the alarm immediately.

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