This was in response to a question under the thread: Concerns over possible war, re womens's safety on cruises. However, after typing it, I thought that I should probably include it in a new thread.
I have always felt that cruising is one of the safest types of vacations for women traveling alone. Because of all the vacation I have, I often travel alone and while I am always cautions about my surroundings, I have come to appreciate the safety of cruises. The safety pluses include cameras EVERYWHERE which are monitored at ALL TIMES; a security safe that routinely patrol all decks of the ships; people (passengers and crew) walking around at all hours of the day; secured room doors; a very small community where everyone seems to notice everyone else (kinda like living in a real small town). I generally have no qualms about walking up on deck, to my cabin, to the atm machine or the internet cafe at 3 am on my own, though I often make friends with whom I do these things.
While I have not personally had problems, bad things (such as rapes) have sometimes happenned on cruises and I read a thread on another board just last week that reminded me of the need to be proactive (though NOT scared). I would say:
be careful about the people you befriend;
be careful about people YOU allow to enter your cabin and the people whose cabins you enter;
let your actions correspond to your words ie: be consistent;
make a friend or two;
try not to become too drunk or to come under the influence of other drugs;
do not go into non-passenger areas (ie: crew or officer areas);
In port, be as street smart as you would be at home;
I would also say be cautious about giving your cabin number out, although that means being unable to give your phone number out. (the phone number is generally the same as your cabin number. I personally look forward to the day when my cabin number and room number are not the same).
On my last cruise, a female passenger alledgedly had an issue with her steward who she claimed felt her up and came into her room at odd hours. I am not sure if I believe the story because she neither attempted to get a change or rooms, make a report about it, or request a steward change, a few of the changes that I (and others) suggested.
On a previous cruise, one night, I saw a female acquaintant leaving the night club at 3 am with a guy, and she did not seem to me to be acting totally on her own. I excused myself from my table and followed them out of the club and to the elevator. I greeted her and asked how she was doing. She immediately gave me a big hug and while doing so asked me if I could get her to her room as she was not thinking right, and was probably in too deep. She was clearly inebriated. I very politely told the guy that we would see him later and I made sure that she got into her cabin ok. I then returned to the club to party till morning
Also on my last cruise, one guy was insisting on repeated dancing closely with a young woman who was clearly uncomfortable with all the attention, while her husband who had accompanied her to the club was getting increasingly agitated. My friend 'cut in' on the dance floor, and after getting rid of the her admirer walked her back to her table to be seated with her husband. A few cruises ago, the husband of a lady I met on the cruise similarly protected me from an overzealous admirer who had had too much to drink. (note...I did no think that I was in any danger.. nonetheless.. it was nice to be rescued on the dance floor). he point is though, based on my behavior earlier in the cruise, they knew that his dancing was not of the type that I was comfortable with.
So.... now that I have babled on, I would just say, be careful and sensible, and have a great time......
Annette, it seems you have had some interesting (and potentially upsetting) experiences on your cruises. I am so glad to hear that you weathered everything and were also able to help a few others overcome their difficult situations.
I, personally, have no reservations about traveling alone, but the tips you gave are certainly food for thought.
I think we all have to remember that even though we are on a cruise ship, life goes on, and sometimes we have the misfortune of encountering unpleasant and possibly threatening people on the sea...as on land. We just have to be very aware of this fact and remember that just because we are on vacation does not mean that we should not look out for ourselves in every way.
Most of all, we must use our common sense at all times.
Annette thank you so much for your post. I think it's wonderful that you were able to assist your fellow female cruisers. That was such an unselfish act of kindness. Your tips & information about cruise safety has set my mind at ease. I was not aware they had a safety patrol or so many cameras on board.
Thank you Annette for the advice. I am taking my first ever solo cruise on April 6th on the Destiny. I honestly had never thought about cameras and such. Any other tips for a young, single girl? Thanks again, Margo
On cruise ships, the CAMERAS are not invasive and unless you are in the know, you will probably never see a security camera, except probably at the embarkation disembarkation area.
Then, the SECURITY STAFF are generally dressed in the same uniform as officers or they are in plain clothes and tend to be quite reserved and on the down low. Ocassionally, they may carry a radio or some other communication device. If you do not know who they are, it would never cross your mind that they were anyone other than officers or other passengers. I only know because I am very security conscious and am often up and around at those times of the early morning when everyone up knows everyone else who is still up at that time, and you guys are all friends anyway; and anyone not in that clique requires scrutiny.
In any event though, if you really want to know who the security people are, by all means....do something stupid like get real drunk and start a fight, or try to bring drugs/weapons on the ship or slap an officer or go up on stage in the middle of one of the shows and try to moon the audience. Any of those activities should guarantee a personal meeting with them. (NOTE: I have not personally tried any of those stunts myself, although one security guy on my last cruise was so tall and buff and cute and HOT..........!!!!! just joking..).
Indeed, I do hope that I have provided at the very least, "food for thought". I feared that my post would convey: stay in your cabin and to shy away from making friends. On the contrary, I really hope that this helps us to have a better time time cruising because of the peace of mind that our personal safety brings.
I for one am a totally a fun loving, adventurerous, bordering on risk taking, person (and have probaly broken at least a few of my own 'rules'). However my professional experience coupled with my extensive international/domestic travel and overseas living experience have caused me to be informed, cautious and sensible about security issues. I STILL believe that cruising on a whole is VERY safe for solo female travellers who exercise reasonable caution.
Remember, victims of crime are not the best but the easiest target. Therefore, to protect ourselves, we need to make our homes, cars, bags, jewellry, rooms, cabins or persons the least attractive targets. The incidents of 'bad apples' on a cruise ship are lower than in the general population, but it is a fact of life's probability that a certain risk of 'bad apples' exists among ANY gathering of people. Better to be safe than sorry.
Happy sailing all.
PS: Pat, I admire your adventurous attitude. I am sure that it inspires many other solo travellers as it does me.
Congratulations on 'taking up the gangway" on your own. Way to go!!!!! Other tips for a single girl? Not sure if you meant safety tips or not, but below is a listing for an old post I made re sailing solo, meeting people, things to do.
It comes from a threat titled "untimely single on a cruise" to which I responded. I hope that thread gives you some good ideas. In addition, I would say other ways to meet new people would be to book a shore excursion or two, go to the dance classes stag, browse the library, the shops on deck, and by all means, enjoy yourself!!!!
April 6th, my sister's birthdayand your sailing date, is right around the corner When you get back, let us know how it went.
PS: Don't forget to have your portrait taken at a few stations, even though you are on your own. You will meet people in line, at the photography store, and more importantly, a nice picture of you looking just estatic and happy will be a wonderful keepsake of your first solo cruise.
Thanks so much Annette, for all your help. I am so excited now-this time next week I will be on the plane heading to San Juan!!!! I will definetly reply when I return to let you know how it went. Now-what do I do for a whole week to pass the time until I leave? , Margo
Another thing you might consider is booking shore tours through the cruise line. The tour operators are vetted by the cruise line, you won't be alone in an unframiliar city, and there is the added benefit of meeting other people. I still e-mail a friend I met on a shore excursion on my last cruise.