Shore excursions represent one of the most popular attractions for people who enjoy cruises. These excursions offer passengers fun and unique experiences they are unlikely to find in many other places.
Many people know of the possibility of a cruise ship accident or have heard stories about someone who caught a serious disease on a cruise ship. But not as many cruise ship passengers are aware of the safety risks associated with shore excursions. The article below looks at some shore excursions offered by cruise lines and the dangers these excursions present to passengers.
When you leave the confines of your cruise ship and venture out into the port city, you should not lose sight of the fact you are a visitor in a foreign country. There are many stories of robbery or other violence experienced by cruise travelers who leave the ship to enjoy a bit of sightseeing.
In one incident, a 15-year-old girl lost her life to gang violence while enjoying time in the Virgin Islands. Some cruise lines canceled stops in Mexican ports after officials found explosive devices on ferries used to transport tourists. The list of crimes committed against cruise ship passengers in foreign ports:
- Sexual assault
Banana Boat Tours
Banana boat tours are another popular shore excursion offered by cruise ships. Tourists should understand the dangers present before embarking on one of these tours.
In one tragic accident, a cruise ship passenger lost both his legs while boarding a banana boat. Another accident cost a child passenger his life after a banana boat operator attempted a dangerous maneuver.
A 2014 report from the National Transportation Safety Board showed the many dangers faced by parasailers. Two dangers discussed in the NTSB report include insufficient safety measures by vessel operators and failed safety equipment. The report also noted that parasailing is not a highly regulated industry.
Many ports of call for cruise ships offer passengers the opportunity to tour the local area by bus. One example of bus tour danger is the twelve Royal Caribbean passengers that lost their lives in a tourist bus crash in Mexico in 2017. The bus carrying the passengers flipped while en route to a set of Mayan ruins. Eight Americans and one child were among the dead.
Passengers should understand that a bus ride as part of a cruise ship shore excursion presents the same risks as all other bus rides. But many times, the bus driver for cruise excursions can become distracted by his or her tour guide duties.
Jet skiing is a fun excursion for cruise ship passengers that beginners should approach with caution. A strong wave can make it difficult for novice jet skiers to maintain their balance. A fall on the water can cause injuries and pose drowning risks. Cruise passengers should note that when jet ski activities are under the control of a third party business entity, the cruise ship is not responsible for any accidents.
Some cruise ships allow passengers to enjoy an afternoon of scuba diving as part of the excursion package. But beginning scuba divers should take a moment to familiarize themselves with safety protocol and make sure they understand the threats they face while underwater.
Passengers should stay away from scuba diving excursions if safety equipment is insufficient or not well-maintained. An instructor who is inexperienced or otherwise inadequate is another reason to pass on a scuba diving excursion.
The Bottom Line
When people think of enjoying a cruise, thoughts of danger are likely far from their minds. But it is a good thing to know the risks both on and off the ship. Passengers have a better chance of returning home from a cruise safely when they understand and plan for dangers they may experience on cruise excursions.