We’ve given you plenty of tips for how to stay safe while on a cruise ship. But you’re not just going to stay cooped up onboard the entire time – eventually, you’ll make it out to a port, where there could be just as many, if not more, potential dangers around the corner.
Fortunately, with the right cruise ship safety tips, you can avoid getting yourself into trouble when you go ashore. Keep these points in mind on your next trip:
1. Rock the right look
Any pickpocket, trickster or other miscellaneous n’er-do-well is not going to bother operating on the locals, who are wise to their schemes. Instead, they target the literal boatload of presumably inexperienced foreigners coming off a cruise.
Don’t stick out and make it easy for them to target you. Jettison accessories like large, obvious camera bags or ironic, touristy T-shirts, and most certainly leave that fanny pack back home – not only are they a magnet for unsavory characters, but they’re not even very effective.
2. Research your destination
The best way to avoid any unpleasantness is to find out about the kind of dangers you might expect. A quick Google search should let you know about a particular port, such as what (if any) incidents have taken place there, and you can also read tourist reviews of specific destinations. You might also want to take a look at the State Department’s travel warnings and country information.
3. Don’t forge your own path
Typically, travelers are encouraged to avoid the usual tourist activities and destinations in lieu of something unique and authentic. And while this is certainly worth doing, depending on where you’ve gone ashore, it could get you in trouble.
If you want to avoid all risk, the safest bet is to stick with the crowd and not wander off too far. In addition to this, think twice about booking excursions and other activities from people standing on the street awaiting the arrival of ships. Instead, thoroughly research any exclusions beforehand and book them through a trustworthy company.
4. Bring only the essentials
If you’re worried about something happening in port, then it makes no sense to bring a heavy bag full of things both valuable or not. Take along only the things you need, such as a water bottle, a jacket, sunscreen and so on. If you don’t desperately need your cellphone, then don’t risk it – leave it back in the cabin.
Same goes for other valuables. It’s tempting to take along fancy new earrings and other jewelry when on a night (or day) on the town, but it’s not worth the risk. That includes your wedding ring. The rule is, if you can’t bear to see it go missing, keep it back in the cabin safe.
5. Make photocopies
This tip comes before you actually get on the cruise. There are some essential bits and pieces that you may not be able to help bringing along ashore, such as your passport, credit card or other identification.
Make photocopies of these items before you head out on the cruise. Leave one set of copies with someone you trust back home, such as a friend or family member, and keep the other in your cabin. If you lose your passport, for example, you can send a copy to an embassy and get an emergency replacement more easily. You might even want to make electronic copies you have stored on your email, which you can then access virtually anywhere with your phone.