Cruises

Going on a cruise can be a great way to relax while also allowing you to drop in on various destinations along the way. Here are some tips on the safety features on cruise ships and how to stay safe while aboard.

Safety at sea

On the first day of your trip you’ll be taken through a mandatory one-hour safety drill, known as the muster drill, and told what to do in the event of an emergency at sea. You’ll hear what the ship’s alarm sounds like and be told where to assemble if there’s an emergency, what the safety procedures are on board, where the life jackets are and how to put them on, and where the best escape routes are in case you need to leave the ship quickly.

Everyone on board must attend this drill including children so they know what to do in an emergency.

Safety in your cabin

Your life jacket should be in your cabin. If you can’t find it ask a steward where it is.

Try to avoid leaving money and valuables scattered around your cabin. If you have a wall safe it’s worth keeping your valuables and any important documents in this. If you don’t then you can keep them in a locked suitcase. And remember to keep your cabin door locked at all times even when you’re in your room.

If you have a balcony make sure you check and lock this at night. You should also keep it locked when you’re not in your room and when you stop off at a port. If you have children they should be supervised at all times around a balcony.

Safety in communal areas of the ship

The ship map will help you get your bearings on board. As well as locating all the usual places you’re likely to want to go it’s also a good idea to work out where the medical areas are in case of an emergency. It’s also worth checking out any stairwells, lifts or other places which could pose an issue for you or any children with you.

Pools are common on cruise ships but many do not have a lifeguard so it’s best to avoid swimming on your own and of course you should never leave children unattended around a pool. For more tips on pool safety see our guide.

Crime on board cruise ships is thankfully low but it still pays to use your commonsense. So avoid carrying around large amounts of cash with you and don’t let your guard down even though you are on holiday.

Staying healthy

Depending on where your cruise is going you may need to have vaccinations. You can find out what you might need from your doctor.

It’s also important to stay healthy when you’re on board the ship as with so many people living close together disease can spread quickly. Some basic tips for keeping you and your family healthy include:

  • wash your hands regularly especially after using the toilet and before meals
  • avoid touching handrails, lift buttons and any other common areas where possible and if you do wash your hands soon after
  • carry hand disinfectant wipes around in case you can’t easily wash your hands with soap and water.

If you think you or anyone in your party might suffer from sea sickness make sure you take some anti-seasickness medicine with you. You can get this from your doctor or local pharmacist. This could form part of any first aid kit you take on holiday.

While the food and drink on board can often be delicious and plentiful it’s a good idea to watch what you consume. If you’re prone to sea sickness or find yourself eating more spicy food than you would normally, you may suffer from an upset stomach. In most cases this will be just that. But if you think it may be something more serious you should seek medical help.

Food poisoning is thankfully rare but if you are worried about this, our guide on food and water safety has tips on how to stay healthy and what to do if you or anyone in your party falls ill.

Alcohol is a major factor in many accidents on board ships. As you’d expect the advice is to only drink in moderation and of course you should never accept a drink from a stranger or allow someone to walk you back to your cabin if you’ve had too much to drink.

Travel insurance

There are specialist travel insurance policies for people going on a cruise. As well as covering you for any emergency medical treatment you might need and any associated transport costs, the loss of your baggage and any other possessions is also covered. Your policy can also include missed port cover so if a planned visit on your cruise is cancelled for any reason you’ll get compensation. Cabin confinement cover is also available if you have to stay in your cabin due to illness. And unused excursions protection pays out if you miss an excursion because of an accident, injury or illness.