How safe are Carnival Cruises? How safe are Princess Cruises?

Although recent events may have caused many to have second thoughts about taking a cruise ship vacation, cruises have been and continue to be among the safest of ways to holiday. According to the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) FBI statistics show cruises to be safer than almost any city in the United States. While accidents and crimes do occur their number is relatively small when compared to the more than 90 million passengers who have taken cruises over the last decade.

Even before 9/11 cruise lines had strict Coast Guard approved security and emergency preparedness plans in place. Every piece of checked baggage as well as all carry on baggage is screened. In addition, cruise lines employ metal detectors, undercover surveillance and canine patrols. Government issued photo identification, passports, visas and/or green cards are all inspected whenever passengers or crew board a ship. All cruise line employees are subjected to strict pre-hire screenings including background checks. Cruise lines also have portions of their staff dedicated entirely to maintaining security.

Still, as in any environment, each guest should take personal responsibility for his/her own safety. Making sure that you are traveling on a reputable cruise line is one of the first and best ways to ensure a safe cruise. One of the main goals of ICCL is to “foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment” and it publishes a list of its member cruise lines.

Whatever the company with which you decide to cruise follow common sense safety practices. Just as you would when you travel by air, keep an eye on your luggage at all times. Much of the crime that occurs on any trip comes from stolen personal belongings. Even more important, be aware of your surroundings at all times and stay in public areas. Lock your door when you leave your stateroom and especially when you are in it, even if you are only making a quick trip to change clothes or pick up an item.

Even though ships are built with accidents in mind, don’t take foolish chances. Most injuries and deaths on ships are caused by avoidable circumstances rather than by highly publicized events like piracy or personal attacks. Wear the proper shoes for being on slick surfaces and don’t clown around near railings. Sightsee only from appropriate areas and never hang over guard rails. Report any unsafe or damaged equipment to shipboard personnel immediately.

Be wary of strangers particularly those who ask a lot of personal questions or who attempt to divide you from people with whom you are traveling. Meet with shipboard friends in common areas rather than inviting them back to your room. If you are cruising with friends or family have a plan in case you become separated or if there is a shipboard emergency.

Listen to all shipboard safety instructions. Take the time to read any legal and safety materials given to you. Participation in shipboard lifeboat drills is mandatory so pay attention to the directions given during this important procedure.

Don’t take being aboard a cruise ship as license to behave in a way that you would not behave at home. Cruise vacations are popular ways to spend a holiday. With a little forethought and effort they can also be amongst the safest.

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