For those who are going on a cruise for the first time, planning can feel overwhelming. There are simply things a first-time cruiser won’t know. And that’s okay. But you should endeavor to learn what you can in order to make sure you’re safe on your first cruise.
What that means is that there are definitely things you should do – and things you shouldn’t. Here are some tips for first-time cruisers to help you stay safe and sound on the high seas. And maybe not look so much like a rookie cruiser!
COVID: The Concern Doesn’t Stay on Land
Vacations are meant to be an escape from the trappings of everyday life, but in this day and age, you cannot expect to leave some things back on dry land. Today, that means COVID and any concerns you have about this illness.
Cruise ships have tight quarters, and sometimes an outbreak of an illness can occur. But you should know that cruise lines have been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure they are cruising as safely as possible.
There are rules for COVID testing prior to embarkation that you must be aware of. Some cruise lines also require proof of vaccination to sail.
Make sure to know what you are expected to do before you get on board so that you’re not denied entry on your very first cruise. They’re serious about these safety precautions and will not hesitate to deny you embarkation to the ship.
Check Out the Cruise Ship Medical Staff
You may want to do some research for your own health and safety on the doctors that are staffing your cruise. Not all doctors aboard a cruise are licensed to practice medicine in the United States, and the standards for the ship’s infirmary may not be what you’re used to. So, before you even book your cruise, find out how a cruise line staffs their medical facilities onboard and what licenses those staff have.
Research Your Excursions
Shore excursions are an exciting thing to do on a cruise, but you should make sure to research any planned excursions before you depart. Cruise lines vet the companies they use for these excursions, so make sure to check reviews from those who have taken them before and do a little research on the organizations to put your mind at ease.
Don’t Arrive on the Day of Departure
Probably one of the biggest mistakes people also make is arriving at their port the day they are meant to leave. That’s not a good idea, as cruise departure times are very strict and you won’t be allowed to board if you are late. Fly in the day before you are supposed to leave on the cruise to help account for any delays that can pop up and cause problems.
Pay Attention to Muster
Every ship has what is called a muster drill before you leave. First, don’t skip this drill!
It’s important because you will find out all the information you must know about where your muster station is, how to put on a life jacket, and what to do if you hear an alarm during the cruise. Listen closely, be calm, and make sure you understand the steps you must take in an emergency.
Never Throw Anything Overboard
Cruises are under the rules of international law and maritime law, which makes the consequences of littering at sea a big problem for you if you do it. Even something as tiny as a piece of gum thrown over the side of a ship can get you kicked off a cruise and leave you stranded to find your own way home.
Refrain From Shaking Hands
This may go without saying in the age of COVID, but it’s a good idea not to shake hands when onboard a ship. It’s not some maritime custom, just a way you can prevent from giving and receiving germs while on board.
Remember, ships are close quarters. Germs can spread quickly. And they do, so don’t shake hands! Instead try to smile and wave to new acquaintances or do a well-timed elbow bump.
Be Careful with Food
Most cruise lines offer many different types of foods in many different places. Be careful about the food you select during your cruise in order to cut down on the chance that you’ll get food poisoning. Anything perishable that’s been sitting in the sun for a while should be passed over. Just use your best judgment.
Follow these tips and you’re well on your way to having a cruise experience that is both fun and safe.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.