The Importance of Security Aboard Cruise Ships

Security Aboard the Cruise Ship

Hard Charging cruise incident attorney
Lead counsel for Ehline Law Firm PC vacation disaster attorney

Passengers aboard cruise ships often let their guard down, this is a relaxing environment and has the appearance of a city or community where everything the passenger could need or want is available. When the ship is out at sea this is when passengers feel there is no need to keep their guard up in the resort type of setting. Ehline Law says this not wise, letting your guard down can place the passenger in danger of becoming a victim of a crime while aboard a cruise ship.

There are some steps that can be taken to prevent becoming a victim of a crime:


One of the complaints that is most often heard involves luggage, and includes damage, loss or theft of the contents of the luggage. One of the things that people accustomed to traveling often do to protect themselves in the event of lost or stolen luggage, they keep a written inventory and take photographs of the luggage and contents. The importance of cruise ship security is self evident.

Items that are important such as medications, eye glasses, expensive jewelry and other items should be carried rather than packed in luggage. Another thing that is done by experienced travelers is to photocopy the contents of their wallets, one photocopy is left at home and one is carried, this should also include passports. Luggage should be watched until it is turned in to the cruise line baggage handlers, this is where it will be processed with the luggage of the other cruise ship passengers, and it will be delivered to the assigned cabin of the passenger.

Tips About Types Of Luggage

The luggage that is used should be plain, and should be able to be locked or secured, as it will be with thousands of other bags and needs to be secure enough not to open up. One of the other ways that are used to secure luggage is with extra banding, duct tape and the use of airport plastic wrap that is then secured. Self locking tie wraps are used by seasoned travelers to secure luggage with zippers, these ties are easily found at home improvement stores and other places. Securing zipper luggage is done for several reasons, first there is no easy access, and this means no one can take anything out of the suitcase, and they also cannot put anything in like drugs, which has been known to occur. This can put the owner of the luggage in danger from the person that placed the drugs in the luggage, and it can also place them in danger of being arrested on drug charges.

Tags on luggage while a good idea, should not have a complete address or telephone number, this can assist home burglars to know exactly where the home is that will be empty while the person is aboard a cruise ship.

If any luggage has signs of being tampered with prior to opening it when on a cruise ship, alert security prior to opening the luggage and have them present when it is opened. When leaving the ship at the end of the cruise luggage should be secured in the same manner for the owner’s protection.

Be Secure When Entering The Cabin

When entering the cabin on a cruise ship, check the cabin including the bathroom while the door is still open, and the closet before closing the door. It is on safe to assume the cabin is secure, like what a hotel room might be, employees in the ship’s crew have keys to the cabin and while they have access they also might leave the door standing open while they are attending to their duties.

This can include steward services, and cleaning personnel that might leave the door open giving anyone easy access to the cabin. The key locks might also be aged and not as secure as those in hotels, this is one reason why it is wise to inventory items that are packed into luggage, carried in wallets or purses and any jewelry should be photographed.

One of the advantages that should be used is to lock valuables in the ships safe deposit box; this is because most cruise passengers are setup with a charge account while aboard the ship. This enables cash and credit cards to be locked in the safe deposit box and jewelry and other valuables should also be kept there while on the ship, this should include passports and other important papers.

The cabin door may have more than one lock once inside the cabin, all locks should be used and the door should not be opened to strangers. Asking what a person wants through the door is much safer than opening the door, and if accompanied by children they should also be taught this security measure.

Keys for the cabin should be kept where strangers or crew members will not have the prospect of gaining access to the cabin and when disembarking when in port the key can be left with the registration desk for safe keeping.

Public Areas Are Safer

When aboard a cruise ship and it is out at sea that does not mean it is completely safe and there is not any criminal acts that can take place. There might not be the same amount of danger, from crewmembers or passengers, but the threat of being robbed are attacked is still there can easily be done by either. One of the reasons that danger can be perpetrated by a crew member is because cruise lines often hire transient and seasonal crewmembers and even have problems keeping the ships fully crewed. The percentage of crewmembers that are not hardworking and honest is very small, but it does exist, and it is not safe to assume that the cruise line has properly screened each employee.

The security personnel are often lacking in numbers unlike at land based resorts, and staying in the public area is a way of self protection. Ship security often dresses in plain clothes to patrol the public areas and also view the cameras in these areas. One of the important things to know is that the ratio of security personnel in relation to the amount of passengers is often insufficient.

The Security Plan For The Family

Being at sea often causes people to have a false sense of security, the belief that this floating resort city has no crime and that is an ill fated thought by passengers. When traveling with the family continues the same type of rules as at home, not allowing them to be out after curfew and also instruct them that they are not to follow a crewmember out of a public area. When traveling with children, especially teenagers it is not smart to open the door to crewmembers or other passengers. Parents also should not allow crewmembers to enter the cabin. There are nightclubs, casinos, swimming pools and Jacuzzi hot tubs or other type of hot tub, on board every ship and while the crime rate is lower than land based areas there still can be predators that are looking for a victim. That means children should not be alone in these areas, without the supervision of an adult or in a group.

One of the other things that parents need to be careful of is passengers that are intoxicated; one of the things about cruise ships that they are known for its food and alcohol. Alcohol does not bring out the best in some people and just because passengers are dressed nicely does not mean when intoxicated, they will not become aggressive or act appropriately. It is also not unheard of for someone on board a cruise ship to slip a drug into a drink to take advantage of passenger, just the same as it can occur in any other place. Letting your guard down on a cruise ship can also allow pickpockets, purse thieves and cabin burglars can do what they do easier.

There are also con artists that look for wealthy women or men to prey upon when given the chance on a cruise. The family security plan should not be much different than at home, there should be bed checks, curfews, restrictions and special places to meet at designated times. While a cruise should be fun for the family, parents need to monitor what children their children become friends with, just like you would at home.

Just because a child is on a cruise does not mean they may not like to do things that get them in trouble or do drugs. One of the things that parents can do is to keep their children involved in activities in the public area sponsored by the ship and even then make contact with your children.

Even though the cruise is a place for parents to have fun, spending hours in the casino or seeing a show can allow the children to have run of the ship that can be dangerous for them. There should be a plan in place that includes a crew member that can be contacted in case you are separated at a port from your children.

Cruise Ships And The Law

Most people do not stop to think about boarding a cruise ship and the law, even though you have boarded the ship at a United States port does not mean that you are protected by our laws and justice system. This is because most cruise ships are not registered in the U.S., but in other countries and that is the laws that will apply while on the ship. For the most part the cruise industry does not report crime data on a constant basis to the FBI or have a data base that lists the ships with the largest crime problems.

It is possible for a crime to be committed on a cruise ship with the perpetrator being from one country, the victim from another country and the ship carrying a flag from a third country, and it can occur in territorial waters of a fourth country. This means the crime may not fall into any jurisdiction, or even be reported to authorities. This means the crime might not ever even be investigated by the authorities.

The law that would cover this type of crime would be maritime law, and it is not as developed as the laws in the United States. When a major crime occurs in International waters the only United States agency that can investigate is the FBI. When the FBI is not called in to investigate the crime can be reported to the jurisdiction of the closest foreign country and embassies of the parties involved. In this event, the prosecution of the crime is left to the port authorities and what the outcome will be is unknown, since the laws will be different than those of the United States.

This is something that families should also be aware of, if their child gets into trouble, it will not be the United States laws that will be an issue. The laws the child and the parents will be held accountable could be that of a foreign country. Before taking a cruise it is possible to contact the cruise line directly for details on the safety record of the ship, how the ship will handle problems such as lost luggage, criminal acts and ask for a written disclosure of their policies and regulations.

There is also the Cruise Lines International Association in New York City that represents twenty five of the largest cruise lines that can be contacted for more information. The important thing to remember when going on a cruise is not to let your guard down to stay safe, be cautious and stay alert while at sea.


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