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Update: Staying safe on cruises: Cruises have become more and more popular with solos. Cruise lines are starting to offer solo cabins or low to no single supplements, especially for river cruises. I have been on four river cruises. They ranged from the Amazon in Brazil, the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam, The Yangtze in China and the fabled Nile.
Why do we love cruises?
- They are a top solo vacation with most charges’ being included. Therefore, they are really budget-friendly when compared with top options purchased separately.
- Not keen on eating alone? Cruises are a great way to have a ready-made group for meals and sightseeing but with time alone as needed.
- I have found cruises and river cruises to be a safer way to travel alone, especially in remote regions.
- Many of the most intriguing destinations, like the Cambodian water villages, can only be reached by boat.
- Last but not least: You only have to unpack once on your trip!
Staying healthy cruising has been a key topic in the past year. However, accidents have received little press except when incidents have occurred. As we have seen rare but alarming reports of passengers falling overboard, we are republishing this safety alert. According to cruisemapper.com, in such rare cases, the typical incident:
- Involves a male passenger
- Occurs the last night of the cruise
- Has been one where the victim was found to be intoxicated.
n, 2016, press accounts disclosed results of an inquiry into the 2015, sinking of the Eastern Star in China’s Yangtze River. There were only twelve survivors while 442 on board lost their lives. Having taken multiple river cruises, including one on the Yangtze, I am really puzzled how even with hurricane force winds the ship sank so quickly resulting in much loss of life.
Another cruise vacation ended in tragedy in May 2016. A woman apparently fell overboard sitting on a railing according to Carnival Cruise. Although it is rare, passengers, especially in the dark or on a wet deck, can lose their footing, A Jan. 2018 press account reported 30+ unnatural deaths on board cruise ships.
To have a safe cruise, it is important to follow a few easy safety tips. Consider our ten single traveler tips for staying safe on cruises:
Staying Safe on Cruises:
Before booking passage whether on an inter-island ferry or cruise ship, research the provider’s reputation, health and safety record. The Coronavirus has been the issue in 2020 and 2021. However, for a long time, Noroviruses have been a concern. While they are not as serious as the COVID-19, Noroviruses can spread quickly on shipboard. Be sure to wash your hands often, and watch the hygiene practices in the dining room.
Pack seasick pills if you are new to cruising since an upset stomach can make it hard to react in an emergency. If you are taking pills that make you sleepy, be very watchful if you have to get up in the night.
Staying Safe on Cruises:
Upon boarding, find out where the closest exit is and an alternate. On a larger cruise ship, this can be very difficult. I learned this lesson on a 2,000-person ship in Alaska’s Intracoastal Waterway getting lost locating the right exit. Fortunately, it was not an emergency.
Take safety drills very seriously. Shortly after you arrive, it is common for arriving passengers to be called to their “muster station”. A crew member will then explain the steps to take in case of an emergency. While it is unlikely that you will have such an emergency, being prepared is key.
Staying Safe on Cruises:
As a solo traveler, look for another single traveler, or friendly fellow passengers to create your own “buddy system” or local contact.
If there is a language barrier, find a crew member with whom you are able to communicate. On land, traveling solo in Africa, I experienced this challenge since I did not know even one word of Portuguese. When I arrived in Santiago, the largest of the Cape Verde Islands , unfortunately there was a cholera epidemic when I arrived. I was glad to find a hotel staff member who (I thought) understood my English. When I asked “How bad really is the cholera epidemic “, he promptly replied “Oh, so, you would like a sandwich”! In an emergency, it is key to be able to get the right information!
In severe weather or other special circumstances, use your life vest since even strong swimmers can fall and have a head injury.
Be vigilant when deteriorating conditions make emergencies more likely. That’s the time to avoid having a three-martini lunch that can impair your judgment.
Staying Safe on Cruises: Tip 8:
On small vessels, to avoid serious falls with sudden shifts, always hold on with one hand, especially on open decks. This is really key if the decks are wet from sea spray or rain. If staircases between decks are damp, be sure to hold on tight and watch your footing. If you slip and fall, a sprained ankle could mean missing the best shore excursions.
In high winds, watch out for falling debris.
Be aware that a ship serves as a floating hotel. Use the same care you would in an urban setting to avoid theft or other crimes.
The good news is that cruises seldom result in catastrophe, and river cruises especially are great for solo travelers. I must confess that in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, I had some misgivings. When I looked out, I saw scores of small floating “icebergs”. I had sudden thoughts of the Titanic. Of course, I quickly thought about how today’s modern electronics made that much less likely.
With unheard of deals with no single supplements, grab these cruise deals while they last. Be sure to ask about single cabins. While Norwegian Cruise Lines has been the leader for such solo options, check out what is being offered for those on travel alone.
For more information on tours and cruises with no single supplements and solo-priced hotels, please go to our free search tool, the SoloTravelPricingTracker.net.