Safety on the high seas

Things can go wrong on any type of holiday, 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 on the high seas.

The safety briefing

They might be 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.

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, including anyone travelling with you. Also check what’s excluded, such as preexisting conditions.

Lock away valuables

All ships’ staterooms have a personal safe so you can lock away valuable items such as jewellery, watches, credit cards, tickets, money and passports. And when you are not in your room, or you are going ashore, hide any larger items which you’re not using, such as cameras and laptops, and never leave items on the balcony unattended.

Alcohol and smoking

Enjoying a drink is a natural part of a holiday, but if you overdo it you may put yourself at risk of doing something which can end up in tears, such as a ‘Titanic’ moment on the ship’s railings. And if you smoke, there are strict rules about where you can and can’t enjoy a cigarette, including your stateroom and balcony. And never throw anything overboard, 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 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 his staff. Also, carry all your medications with you, with enough for the cruise plus a little more, along with copies of all your prescriptions.

Keep an eye on kids

Allow your grandkids too much freedom on a cruise and you’re at risk of annoying other guests. 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

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 as if you see any suspicious behaviour on accommodation decks at odd hours, or late at night on open decks, or if you suspect anyone is buying alcohol for minors. If you see someone go overboard, or discover smoke anywhere on ship, raise the alarm immediately.

To find out more about cruising or to find the cruise of your dreams within your budget, visit


Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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