Cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors in travel and tourism. In 2018 it is expected that more than 27 million passengers will have joined a cruise. Being on a ship deserves some extra safety attention, although most tips are fortunately common sense!
The safety (or muster) drill is a compulsory element of the beginning of every cruise. Although the mood might be jovial, as the holiday for everyone has just started, it’s a serious exercise that might save your life. Please, take it seriously and observe all instructions thoroughly.
People usually think the biggest risk for a ship is sinking. This is wrong – the biggest risk for every ship is a fire. A fire can easily start with a little mistake, like smoking in areas where it is not allowed (and yes that includes your cabin), charging appliances without the proper electricity adapters and converters, and leaving them unattended. I have even observed passengers who brought their own cooking appliances in their cabins, something that should always be avoided.
Who can resist a couple of nice cocktails after a fantastic vacation day on a cruise ship? Unfortunately, alcohol is the cause for a lot of accidents, both on and off ships. So, enjoy your drinks, but please drink responsibly.
Cruising is particularly popular among solo travelers, as it generally provides a safe group environment to explore new destinations. To create an even safer environment, try to “buddy” up with another solo traveler, keep an eye on each other, and regularly check in with each other.
Ships can suddenly move, especially with smaller expedition-like cruise vessels. Therefore, the recommendation is always to keep one hand free, to be ready to grab a rail or other grip if needed. In rough seas, it is recommended to always keep a hand on the ship anyway. Please also keep an eye for doors that suddenly close due to the movement of the ship.
If you ever feel unsafe on board the ship, please report it immediately to an officer, so that corrective action can be instantly taken.
Our website offers tips for all land-based activities; please read them before taking shore excursions, especially in the case of adventure activities. Most incidents happen during the shore excursions!
Of course, travel insurance is important with any kind of vacation. With cruising, take look at the emergency evacuation insurance amount. Evacuating you from remote parts of the world can be very costly. I would recommend a minimum emergency evacuation amount of $100,000, however, if you visit the extreme ends of this world, like Antarctica and the Arctic, please make sure the insurance covers you for up to at least $500,000.
Hans Lagerweij is Trustee of the Safer Tourism Foundation and CEO & President of Victory Cruise Lines, and a passionate traveler himself. He has travelled to over 70 countries in his life, including expeditions to the Galapagos, Amazon, Antarctica, Svalbard/Spitsbergen and to the 90° North Pole.
These companies have signed up to the Safer Tourism Pledge