For those looking to embark on a cruise for the very first time, there may be a lot of questions about what life on a cruise ship is like. Though it’s mostly an atmosphere of relaxation and fun, there are elements of cruising that require a watchful eye and safety knowhow. Passengers on board are invited to have drinks, eat all they want, and take part in many different entertainment options while visiting different ports, but safety should always the number one goal.
There are plenty of safety measures on board, and it’s important to pay attention to these briefings. You should also keep an eye on children as cruise ships are large and potentially dangerous. Travelling in pairs is always a good idea on and off the ship. Because health can be a concern, it’s best to wash your hands often and ensure you take precautions to avoid disease. Be sure to protect your belongings and make use of the security that is provided. Finally, stay aware when in port and exploring locations off the ship. Cruises are fun and exciting as long as you’re working to stay safe. Let’s delve into the importance of each of these tips:
Pay Attention to Safety Briefings
Cruise ships are largely a safe form of transportation. They must follow a set of rules and regulations to ensure passenger and crew member safety. International maritime laws require cruise ships to hold a safety drill (also known as a muster drill) on your first day in order ensure you know what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency. This briefing will outline safety features and procedures on the ship. The more often you cruise, the more comfortable you’ll feel understanding these procedures, but on your first cruise it’ll help to understand exactly what to do if there is an emergency or a safety concern.
Keep an Eye on Your Children
Though older teenage children should be as independent as you’re comfortable with, younger kids should be with an adult at all times. Though many cruise ships have kids’ clubs and nurseries with a gated access requiring kids to be signed in and out, not all areas of the ship will be as welcoming to children. Though some cruise lines have lifeguards on duty, many don’t. Talk to your older kids about pool safety and what to do if a pool accident happens. Never leave younger kids near the pool alone. Cruise ships carry thousands of passengers you don’t know, so exercise caution like you would in any public location.
Travel in Pairs
Traveling in pairs is a good idea in a lot of situations and being on a cruise is no different. Thankfully, many cruise ships have security cameras so that if something were to happen to you, they could intervene if needed. However, in dire situations, time is of the essence. Having someone with you will ensure you were seen going overboard, which can lead to a timely, successful rescue. When you’re in port and exploring each destination, there aren’t cameras to investigate an emergency. If you don’t re-board, they may not start an investigation about your whereabouts — and they could simply leave without you. Traveling in pairs can keep you safe on board and in port.
Wash Your Hands
Cruise ships pack a lot of passengers from all over the world in close quarters for a week or more. Naturally, this creates an environment that can easily spread germs and illnesses. In order to combat a transferrable illness from your fellow passengers and crew members, wash your hands often. Cruise ships do have doctors and medical staff, but their resources are limited while at sea. In addition to washing your hands, keep yourself healthy on your cruise by staying hydrated, using sunscreen, staying clean, avoiding buffet areas, and keeping your medications with you.
There are different types of disease prevention measures you can take, and it’s essential to do each to prevent your cruise from going south due to unexpected illness. As outlined by Regis College, these include:
- Primary prevention: This involves stopping the development of a disease. Getting vaccinated is key to preventing diseases such as smallpox, polio, and diphtheria.
- Secondary prevention: Preventing complications due to existing public health problems is also important. Getting screened for potential illnesses and remembering to schedule annual wellness appointments with your doctor can keep you and others safe.
- Tertiary prevention: If the previous two types of prevention fail, and you fall ill, it’s essential to contain the illness and seek medical assistance.
Protect Your Belongings
Keeping your belongings safe is an important aspect of travel. Losing your passport, wallet, or ID can be detrimental to the rest of your trip, so it’s important to keep these items safe. Make copies of these items and keep them with you, but utilize your room’s safe for your hard copies. Always protect your belongings, especially your forms of identification, while outside of your room. Be cautious about bringing any belongings out of your room or into port in case they are lost or stolen.
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to your phone or any other mobile device that has your personal information. Tech can be damaged in water, sun, or sand, so it’s best to use a protective case so your data stays intact.
Stay Aware When in Port
Being off the cruise ship allows you to see many locations and experience each stop for a short time. However, it’s important to stay safe and smart by keeping aware. Be careful not to drink too much, keep track of ship time (not local time), and stay away from dangerous areas. It’s important not to miss your boarding times or you’ll be responsible for getting yourself to the ship’s next port. Staying aware can help you to steer clear of problem locations or being a victim of theft. Stay with excursions and ask your cruise’s crew members if you have any questions about the safety of an area.
Cruising for the first time can cause some feelings of anxiety in terms of cruise ship safety, but rest assured that cruise lines have plenty of safety measures in place to keep their passengers safe. Paying attention to safety drills, keeping an eye on your party, taking health measures, protecting your belongings, and staying aware can help you to be even more safe on your trip. Once you’re on board, you’ll find that your cruise will be fun and relaxing.
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