"" Writer's Wanderings: Staying Safe In Cruise Ports

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Staying Safe In Cruise Ports

While many honest and hardworking people in cruise ports rush to entertain and provide services for visitors off a cruise ship there are also those who prepare to make money in less savory ways. It was always my assumption that if there is a dangerous area of the world that is unsettled a cruise line will pull its ships from those ports. According to a recent SmarterTravel article that is not necessarily the case. There are still cruise ships that are visiting ports considered by the US and British governments as being hazardous for travel.

The article names ten ports most of which I have never visited. It surprised me that Rio was on the list but I'm guessing in addition to the possibilities of robbery and assault the Zika virus put it on the list. We never felt afraid there but we did travel with another couple and stayed where most of the cruise visitors were. Needless to say we stayed aware of our surroundings as well.

So if your cruise ship does stop in a more dangerous than normal place what should you do? Here's a few tips:

  • Don't travel alone. As a matter of fact, this would be a good time to choose a ship's excursion rather than explore on your own.
  • Avoid isolated places but also keep in mind that you don't want to be near a demonstration, political rally and in some cases even a soccer watch party.
  • Dress modestly. No jewelry. Keep valuables hidden (don't walk around with your iPhone out looking at directions). Take only a small amount of cash and avoid the ATM machine. If you must use it, use one inside a bank and/or be very aware of those around you who may be looking to see what you are withdrawing.
  • Don't wear flip flops. If you need to run from a situation, you don't want to be running in floppy shoes.
  • Avoid being out after dark. 
In the case of Rio, the article advises that you should be sure to use DEET, pay attention to your surroundings and not go in the water. Raw sewage is known to be dumped into the water. I remember seeing all sorts of garbage in the water as we came into port but didn't realize there was sewage as well.

Rape, robbery and kidnapping are all a possibility almost anywhere in these days of uncertainty in our world but there are some countries that have more difficulty policing those things. That common sense your mom always talked about would be a good thing to tuck in your pocket along with your cruise card when you go ashore.

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