Avoiding Crime on a Cruise Ship

Top tips and advice and things you can do to minimize your risk of being a crime victim on a cruise ship.

Nobody wants to spend their cruise vacation worrying about the threat of crime on a cruise ship in its many forms. But just as you would be vigilant in your own home, so you should be even more vigilant when traveling abroad.

It really is all about common sense. But sadly a lot of travelers leave their common sense behind when they leave home.

Here are a few tips and ideas to remind you that you need to take as much care of yourself and your possessions on a cruise as you would at home.

Be vigilant
Keep your eyes and ears open and be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t be afraid to report something suspicious
If you sense that something is not right, trust your instincts and report the matter to the cruise security officer. Better safe than sorry

Avoid deserted areas of the ship
Just as you would be street wise and sensible on land when you are not sure of your surroundings, so you should stay in public areas where there are other people about, rather than wandering into deserted areas of the ship.

Limit your alcohol consumption
Excessive or heavy alcohol consumption can make you less aware of your surroundings and hence less aware of possible threats. Alcohol in large amounts also tampers with your judgement and your inhibitions so that you may make some foolhardy decisions that could lead to trouble.

Avoid unattended drinks
The stats prove that the idea of someone slipping something into your drink is not as far fetched as you might think. Watch your drink being prepared, avoid leaving your drink unattended, and be careful in accepting drinks from strangers.

Know where your friends and family are
Make sure you know where your friends and family are when on a cruise. No one likes to have tabs kept on them, especially on a vacation, but it works to everyone’s advantage to know where friends and family members should be at various times of the day. For those traveling with children, it is recommended that you implement a check in system, where children need to check in with parents at regular, appointed intervals.

Check your stateroom when entering
When entering your stateroom, especially at night,leave the door open at first as you check the space thoroughly (including the bathroom and closet) and then make sure you lock the door.

Keep your stateroom door locked
Keep your stateroom door locked at all times and do not open your door to strangers. Most cruise ships have peep holes in their stateroom doors.

Safeguard your cabin keycard
It makes little sense to keep your cabin locked but leave your keycard about for someone to steal. Never let your key card out of your sight.

Leave expensive jewelry at home
As tempting as it might be to take your most prized valuables, like the diamond ring you inherited from Aunt Mazie, on your cruise vacation with you - it’s really best to leave such items at home. Minimize your risk for theft.

Lock your jewelry away
What jewelry you do bring with you, make sure you don’t leave it lying about, but lock it up in your cabin safe. If there is no safe in your cabin, take it to a safety deposit box at the reception desk or purser’s office.

Don’t bring a bank vault of cash
Even if you prefer to use cash when at home, it is much safer to use credit cards on a cruise vacation.

Should you or your fellow passengers become a victim of a crime on board, follow the steps and advice in our “What to do if you become a victim of crime at sea” page.

 Crime Safety Topics

• Top tips to avoid being a victim of a crime on a cruise ship

• What to do if you become a victim of a crime on a cruise ship

• High Seas Crimes (article)

• The truth about drug-facilitated sexual assault (article)

• International Cruise Victims Association

• Safety at Sea - did you know?

• Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act 2009

 Cruise Victims

If you are a victim of a crime or other incident aboard a cruise ship and would like to talk to a lawyer, email Timothy MB Farrell, author of High Seas Crimes


If you would like more information about the International Cruise Victims Association, please visit their web site at:

International Cruise Victims Association