While cruise vacations can be a lot of fun, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that (as with all vacations), they can also be dangerous. With a higher than average rate of cruise ship accidents happening lately, it’s important to understand that things can go wrong at sea. Sometimes accidents occur at random, through no one particular person’s fault. However, there are times when a cruise accident results from a lack of safety on board. Safety should be the number one priority for all maritime industries (cruise lines included), but unfortunately, safety is not always the main focus.
There are several factors that can contribute to an accident at sea, or even a crime on board a cruise ship. Oftentimes, incidents result from a lack of safety personnel. Our maritime lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have often discussed the need for cruise lines to hire a greater number of trained lifeguards, as well as trained security guards. However, these types of positions require greater pay – pay which cruise lines don’t always budget for. One might think that the cruise industry, a multi-billion dollar industry, would be able to afford highly trained safety personnel, but this isn’t always the case. One might also argue that cruise lines should be able to afford the installation of state-of-the-art technology, such as infrared sensor devices that can notify a ship’s crew the instant someone goes overboard. Yet, these technological advances are not mandated across the industry.
So then where does that leave passengers? Must cruise ship passengers fend for themselves while on a cruise vacation? Of course not, but given the fact that the possibility of an accident or crime on a ship is fairly high these days, it’s important that passengers become aware of their surroundings, of the fact that incidents can – and often do – occur, so they can better prepare themselves for an emergency.
That being said, our maritime lawyers have a few tips for travelers who are planning on taking a cruise voyage. In this blog installment, we’ll focus on tips that will help keep your belongings as safe as possible while sailing on a cruise ship, because, let’s face it, cruise vacations should be as relaxing as possible. No one should have to deal with the stress of losing personal belongings, especially belongings that are expensive or hold sentimental value. Let’s explore some ways in which you can reduce your chances of having your property stolen.
How to Minimize the Likelihood of Theft
If you are going on a cruise vacation, there’s one thing you should keep in mind: there is always the risk of theft. Cruise passengers are often the targets of robbery – and many times armed robber in port. The best way to avoid becoming a target for thieves is to bring only the essentials on board. When it comes to a cruise vacation, the best thing to do is to keep it simple. Bring only as much cash as you foresee yourself needing and leave valuables at home. For example, opt for a disposable camera or fantasy jewelry, and leave expensive belongings at home. Bring inexpensive sunglasses and backpacks, instead of designer shades or handbags. Truth be told, if your accessories look expensive, you may become a target for theft. Far too many cruise passengers report stolen items, and many are also assaulted in port by locals trying to make a quick buck and a quick getaway. Chances are, if you lose something on a ship or in port, you most likely won’t get it back. In short, only bring with you what’s essential and what you would not be largely affected if you were faced with a situation where you might have to part with the belonging.
If you do bring valuables on board or purchase expensive accessories while on your cruise vacation, be sure to keep a record of what you bring and never leave your items unattended. Most cruise ship cabins have a safe, where you can store wallets, small purses, cameras, jewelry, money, etc. We highly suggest keeping your most valuable possessions in your cruise safe at all times. Even if you were to place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your cabin door, there is no guarantee that your belongings will not get lost or stolen. As the old adage goes, “Better Safe than Sorry.” It might feel like a hassle to keep going in and out of the safe, but at least you’ll know your valuables will not be out in the open and at risk for theft.
These two tips are easy to follow and can drastically reduce your chances of being robbed on your cruise vacation. In the next part of our blog series, we’ll discuss ways you can reduce the chances of getting hurt while at sea.