Are Cruises Safe?4 min read
We’ve heard enough stories about cruise ship disasters this year—not to mention last year’s tragic sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise liner—to believe that a floating city is a breeding ground for danger. But are cruises really dangerous?
Despite recent events, accidents are rare. Nearly 14 million people cruise each year on major lines, and cruising is actually one of the safest ways to travel.
For starters, safety is taken into serious consideration before ships are even built. The U.S. Coast Guard is highly involved with developing safety aspects of new cruise ships traveling out of American ports. Additionally, each cruise ship must undergo inspection by the U.S Coast Guard every six months, which includes reviews of staff safety procedures.
For those sailing out of other countries, each cruise ship must meet the safety standards established by each country, as well as SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), an international safety and standards convention overseen by the International Maritime Organization.
However, cruise safety doesn’t stop at guaranteeing the ship is operating properly. Some might have additional safety concerns about spending so much time with thousands of strangers on a boat. But there’s a lot you can do to promote a safe cruise vacation that can put some of those fears to rest, such as:
- Research the cruise history: The Vessel Sanitation Program of the CDC routinely inspects ships based on their cleanliness, condition, food preparations, water quality, and more. Before booking your trip, be sure to check your ship’s review online.
- Follow basic tips for travel safety: Be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut at all times. Be cautious of how you interact with others, don’t walk around the ship at night alone, and keep your guard up. Inform an employee on the ship if you think there’s trouble.
- Be safe during shore excursions. Cruise lines organize many shore trips, which assures some level of quality and security. If you decide to go on your own, be cautious and negotiate any fees upfront.
- Practice good hygiene: Follow basic hygiene rules, such as covering your mouth when you sneeze/cough, washing your hands before you eat, etc. Also be sure to take advantage of the hand sanitizer stations located on most ships.
- Limit your alcohol consumption: In addition to simply being safe, watch how much you drink since it can inhibit your judgment and alter your behavior.
- Use the safe in your room. While you should leave unnecessary valuables at home, keep any cash, passports, jewelry, etc. locked in your room’s safe.
Photo by JohnBurke.