So you're planning to set sail for warm waters on a cruise ship. Or maybe you're one of those lucky people who won a "free cruise" over the telephone.
No matter where your vacation will take you, there are some basic precautions you should keep in mind on your trip.
Cruise ships are relatively safe, but being on the high seas and traveling from place to place creates a unique set of risks.
1. Enroll in STEP
Since your ship travels from place to place, contacting home in an emergency can be very difficult. By registering for the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) you make it easier for officials to get in touch if anything goes wrong.
2. Scan your passport
Again, if you find yourself in a jam overseas, you'll need to have your passport on you. While you need to keep it physically with you, scanning your copy and keeping it in an e-mail lets you access it anywhere, even if it's lost.
You could also leave a scanned copy with a friend for safekeeping.
3. Check for travel warnings
Before you leave, check the Department of States's website for health and safety warnings about your destinations.
4. Pack smart
Don't leave any prescription medicines at home. There's no guarantee the cruise ship can provide them, so you'll need to bring your own supply.