Just How Safe are Cruises?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few days you can’t have avoided the tragic images of the stricken Costa Concordia, grounded off the Italian coast. And what with the controversy following its captain’s arrest, the story looks set to dominate headlines for a while. But should you be worried about booking a cruise?
Answer: No. Or at least, not if your worry is sinking. One very quick, and slightly morbid search for the ‘worlds worst cruise disasters’ reveals that there aren’t a whole lot of them. Part of the reason why there’s so much attention focussed on the Costa Concordia is precisely because this is the worst cruise ship accident in decades.
The incident has been compared multiple times to the disastrous sinking of the Titanic – though thankfully without such an enormous loss of life – 1514 perished when the Titanic sank, making it the world’s worst cruise ship disaster. Coincidentally the tragedy happened 100 years ago this year.
But no holiday is entirely without danger, so if you’re not at risk of a sinking, what perils do lurk on cruise ships?
Sea Sickness – Sadly you can’t really avoid the risk of sea sickness on a cruise, what with the sea being an integral part of the experience and all. The good news is many cruise ships are so large you can barely notice the movement of the ocean most days.
If you are having a problem with sea sickness then here are some veteran cruiser’s tips to try:
- Head up on deck for some fresh air. Focussing on the horizon can help too
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol both before and whilst on the cruise
- Try an Sea-Band wristband – based on the principals of acupressure and some find they curb nausea and vomiting
- Ginger has been shown to help with motion sickness – you can take it in pill form, or a ginger tea or sweet would work too.
- If you need something stronger, over-the-counter sea sickness drugs will be available on the ship, or you can buy in advance
Theft – Theft is rare on board the ship, but that’s no excuse for not taking exactly the same precautions against theft that you would at home. Don’t leave valuables unattended, lock your cabin doors, use the safe if one is provided.
The same principals apply when you go on shore excursions. You probably don’t need reminding to use common sense, but just in case: Don’t flash valuable cameras and watches around. Don’t wander into dodgy parts of town on your own. Got it? Good.
Missed Sailing – It’s a common worry, you decide to have one more Martini whilst ashore in Nice and end up missing the boat. Know that these ships have to keep to schedule – they won’t wait for you. Your best option is not to miss the boat in the first place: get a watch, check it.
If the worst happens and you do miss the boat what can you do? Well the bad news is that it’s your responsibility to get yourself back onto the boat. Most big liners have a helipad so helicoptering yourself back on board is an option. However if you’ve got the money for this then why are you on a scheduled cruise in the first place?!? Charter yourself a yacht so you can come and go as you please.
The more practical option is to fly to the next port to meet the ship. The cruise line will have an onshore agent who can help you make the travel arrangements. Do check your travel insurance, some policies have cover a missed sailing if you missed the boat for reasons outside of your control – transport delays or sickness for example.
If you’re looking for a holiday that involves danger at every turn, go look somewhere else. If you fancy a cruise check out the ones we’ve found in our weekly Real Deals offers – we’re going to keep looking out for amazing cruise deals.