Monday, March 14, 2016

Prevention Of Stolen Property On A Cruise

How To Avoid Being Robbed On A Cruise

We wrote about "What Do You Do When Your Personal Belongings & Valuables Are Stolen On A Cruise Ship?," but how can you prevent this from happening to you? Let me put out some ground rules and helpful information so that you can become smarter travelers.  Keep in mind that this does not just have to pertain to cruising.  You can also use these tips anywhere you travel!

Make Sure Your Luggage Arrives At Your Cabin And NOT Your Neighbor’s  
If you give your luggage to a porter, stop and be sure they put the right room number on your luggage or that you have clearly marked your cabin number on your luggage yourself. Either that, or carry your bags to your cabin yourself to avoid mis-routed bags. If you choose that option, know that you will be hauling your bags for about 2 hours until your cabin is ready on the first day of embarkation.

Don’t Go To Sleep Or In The Water
Well, of course you can sleep on the cruise and get in the pool, just don’t go to sleep by the pool after tucking your wallet inside your towel and putting it beneath your lounger. Then, jump in the water after a nap and expect everything to be where you left it.  Many people make the mistake of letting their guard down when they’re having fun, but thieves lurk everywhere and if you make it easy for them, they’ll quickly take advantage. If you’re guarding your valuables, you have to stay aware and awake – or put them in a safer place.

Guard Your Valuables
Every Travel Professional recommends that travelers leave their valuables at home, but if you must travel with something valuable, keep it on your person. The problem with this rule is that you may want to have a valuable, say an expensive watch or earrings with you to wear at times, but you want those items secure when you have to leave them.

Hint: ‘Hiding’ your $10,000 watch in your shoe and covering it up with a towel so you can go swimming in the deck pool isn’t gonna cut it!

When you can’t keep your valuables with you – and keep an eye on them or leave them in the safe in the cabin.

Use The Safe In Your Cabin
Many cruise travelers rely on the safe located in the closet of their stateroom, which is good.  I have never had any trouble with leaving valuables in the safe for the 72 cruises I have been on.  However, there are some clients that do not feel comfortable in doing so.  One thing to consider and keep in mind, that if you do put your valuables in the cabin safe, the cruise ship staff have the ability to open the in-room safe if the passenger forgets their code or loses their card, gets stranded at a port, etc. Hmmm … that’s a lot of people armed with the ability to open your safe.

However, there is an alternative.  Some experts recommend that travelers take along their own safe, others don't. No, I don’t mean a big, heavy, fire-proof thing that’s way over the weight limit. There are a number of portable and lightweight ways to lock up your stuff, including luggage locks and portable safes.  See Magellan’s, or any good travel supplier, for some great options.  But whatever you choose, the best advice, leave the expensive valuables HOME!  They don't belong on a cruise ship.

Trim Down What You Carry
When you’re moving about the cruise ship, you don’t need all of the things you typically carry in your wallet.  For instance, your credit card, your driver's license, passport, and so on.  After that, you can cut down what you carry even further to just what you need on the cruise ship at that time. Basically, your cabin card.  I always wear my lanyard and ID Card holder. This is a MUST! In either case, Travel Insurance Review recommends that you should never keep all your cash, credit cards, or other valuables in one place. If you are robbed, you’ve minimized the impact of that event by giving the thief less to take.

Wallets Go In Front Of You
For men, having your wallet in your front pocket is your best defense. It’s relatively difficult for someone to fish objects out of the front pockets of your pants (wrap it with a rubber band and see how hard it is to remove).  We also recommend wearing a money belt for your valuables, and that’s a great idea for on-shore excursions.

For women, choose a purse or bag that you can wear diagonally across your body – this makes it more difficult for a thief to snatch it.  Don’t hang your bag on the back of your chair when you stop for a coffee either – that’s too easy to steal.  Lots of bars and restaurants have started putting hangers at your knees where you can hang your bag out of sight, but if you don’t have that option, put your foot or the leg of your chair through the strap and keep it at your feet.

Be Aware Of Distractions
A common technique for picking pockets is to create a distraction. Some distractions are when vendors, such as this one, are trying to get your business to take an excursion.  It can also be as simple as a pretty or handsome person in a swimsuit asking you for the time. If there’s a street performer they may be a front for pickpockets, so remember that when you’re distracted, you’re an easy target.  Of course, drinking too much can also make you an easy mark. If you’re stumbling back to your cabin, someone who offers to help may not have the best of intentions for your personal welfare.

Don't Leave Your Valuables In Your Luggage The Night Before Disembarkation
When it’s time to leave your luggage outside the cabin the night before you disembark the ship, be sure to keep your valuables with you.  The reason why you leave your luggage out the night before is so it makes it easy for passengers to disembark the ship in a timely matter, makes for an easy transition thru customs, and can be carried for you to the airport.  Make sure you have locks on your luggage.  After all, that hallway is public and anyone can pick up your luggage and drag it away to be pilfered!  

Disembark With Your Valuables
When it’s time to disembark the ship, be sure to keep your valuables with you.  The porters at your 'Home' port of disembarkation organize your luggage via the color coded labels you received on board and are left in the customs area.  But why go thru this mess when you get off the ship trying to find your luggage?  All ships have "Easy Walk-Off" where you can carry your own luggage off the ship instead of trying to get it in the customs area and your valuables are safe!

Please feel free to comment as I would love to hear from you.

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