Going on a cruise is a long-life dream for many travelers. You may want to spend an unforgettable honeymoon, or explore exotic parts of the world, or go on an adventure alone.
The bottom line, a cruise ship is the embodiment of your perfect vacation. However, as romantic as they sound, cruises come with their share of challenges.
We don’t have to tell you to avoid throwing yourself overboard for a swim while on the ship. We probably don’t have to tell you that it is mandatory to attend the muster drill that occurs at the beginning of every trip. As a seasoned traveler, you probably know what is right and safe for you. However, since cruises are challenging from many points of view, today, we will discuss some safety tips to consider before you start packing your bags!
1Read Your Cruise Ticket with a Lawyer’s Eyes
Your cruise tickets come with plenty of fine print for you to read. While most people ignore the disclaimers, conditions, and liability – because cruising is among the safest ways to travel – you should pay attention to that information.
The fine prints and even tour operator’s contracts contain plenty of details regarding cruise ship accidents. They will tell you when, where, and how you can file a claim against the cruise line in case you suffer an injury while on the ship or in a port you visit.
If you don’t understand what the tickets/contracts say, consult with a personal injury attorney. Since most of your trip takes place on sea or in foreign countries, everything abides by maritime law. While on the ground, the rules in the states you visit will take precedence.
Maritime law is confusing for everybody who does not have a legal education. A cruise ship injuries lawyer, on the other hand, can untangle the mysteries for you and tell you exactly what to expect in case you get sick on board or mugged while in port.
Moreover, discussing matters with a ship’s injuries legal expert will clarify what types of insurances you will need to ensure your health and safety from the moment you leave your house to the moment you return to your home.
It is crucial to revise your trip conditions with a lawyer because you need to be safe from injuries that can occur outside the ship or visited ports. Injury claims can also cover gangway or tender boat accidents, damages arising while you are on a trip to the shore, physical or sexual assault by crewmembers, or injuries suffered during transfers to or from the ship.
2Cover, Cover, Cover
Usually, most people settle with travel insurance when they plan a cruise trip. In truth, such insurances can cover you for many complications, such as trip delays or interruption, baggage delay/loss, minor accidents, some health issues, etc.
Nevertheless, it is not enough, as many cruise lines have their travel insurance exceptions and exclusions. Please read the text of the policy and ask a lawyer’s opinion on what it covers while you are at sea or in the port of a foreign country.
For safety, also check your health insurance. It should cover injuries outside of the U.S. If it does not, discuss with an insurance company and an attorney what your options are in case you contract a disease, you need urgent medical evacuation, or you have to undergo surgery in a foreign country.
Speaking of your health and safety, experts also recommend you to take the following actions:
- Check the ship’s sanitation report cards. Verify the ship’s sanitation record to see if it complies with the Vessel Sanitation Program enforced by the C.D.C.
- Review the ship’s medical unit. All ships should have at least one adequately licensed doctor. Ask the cruise line about their medical facilities and personnel. In case of an emergency, the boat’s medical staff should be able to deliver appropriate services.
- Check out the C.D.C’s guide on Travelers’ Health Destinations to gather more information about the health concerns and safety tips to follow in the countries of destination.
- For crime warnings and general information on safety in the ports you visit, use the U.S. Department of State Country Information.
3Become A SMART Traveler
Before you start packing, you should know that as a U.S. citizen, you could enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program of the U.S. Department of State (the STEP program).
Being a part of the program means introducing the details of your trip and receiving notices from the State Department about the destination countries you are about to visit. In case of an emergency, the local U.S. embassies in the respective countries can contact you or your family/friends.
Going on a cruise is a dream that came true for millions of Americans every year. However, the cases of on-board food poisoning, accidents, fires, or other health and safety issues are not as infrequent as one might hope.
To ensure you have the experience of a lifetime, talk to lawyers, doctors, and the cruise line representatives to get the peace of mind you need and the most enjoyable cruise you deserve.