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Many of us forget to pack our common sense along with the sun screen when we get ready for a cruise, and once aboard, without that common sense, and with the help of a vacation atmosphere, steel drum music and a few cocktails, we unwittingly make ourselves possible crime victims.

There are some steps we can take, however, along with remembering to bring our common sense aboard, to ensure that we do not become a statistic for the crime reporters.

Theft involving luggage is the most reported crime for cruise travelers, but there are ways to help ensure that you can hold onto your possessions.

- don’t travel with expensive, flashy looking luggage
- use sturdy luggage that will not pop open with heavy handling
- only travel with luggage you can lock
- keep your luggage under your supervision as much as possible

Many other ship board crimes involve your cabin, and usually occur, once again, because of that sadly missing common sense that is still sitting on your bed at home. Here are a few tips to help safeguard your personal cruise space.

- always lock your cabin door
- on returning to your cabin, make sure there is no one inside who shouldn’t be inside before closing the door
- never open the door to strangers
- keep your cabin key/card protected and away from nimble, dishonest fingers
- never leave valuables lying about in your cabin – make use of the room safe, but remember that only valuables locked up in the purser's safe are covered under the ship's insurance.

Cruising, while it is meant to relax you and take you away from everyday worries, can lull you into a false sense of security. Don’t be fooled. While there is less chance of being robbed or attacked on a cruise than there is on the mean streets of the city at home, cruise ships are not immune to crew members and/or fellow passengers who might be tempted to a dabble in crime.

- try and stay in the public areas where other people are about and where plain clothes security staff may patrol
- never accompany crew members into staff-only areas
- never allow crew members (apart from the obvious cabin staff) into your cabin
- be aware of intoxicated passengers who can be just as dangerous and just as much a nuisance as any drunk on land
- do not flash your expensive jewelry - you wouldn’t do it on Main Street and there is no need to think it is any safer aboard ship
- make regular periodic contact with your partners and family
- if traveling with children, keep as close an eye on them as you would at home

There are many rules and regulations governing cruise ships so that passengers and crew members are kept safe from harm, and international rules have recently been established requiring all ships and ports to have security officers and security plans. As on land, however, the responsibility for personal security belongs to all of us. We all have to watch out and be aware and be prepared.

It really is all just common sense. That’s not the problem. The problem is remembering to pack your common sense along with everything else.

All Rights Reserved 2008 © Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine - free cruise magazine and resource cruise guide packed with news on cruises, cruising, cruise lines, commentary on the cruise industry by top cruise line executives, recipes and cuisine tips from cruise line chefs, medical tips for cruise passengers, and suggestions on suitable books on cruising and travel.