RULES OF THE WAVES
What not to do on a cruise
Sure, any activity deemed illegal on land will swiftly get you escorted off a ship but as ships are privately owned there are certain rules that apply on top of that. In fact, it’s easier to get kicked off a ship than you may imagine.
Late to your port sailaway? Seeya later! Well, at least see you for now, you’ll have to make your own way to the next port. Decided to stay a night in a port and meet up with the ship elsewhere but failed to tell the crew? It could set into place a major operation for the ship, whose crew think you’ve gone overboard.
Here are some more surprising ways your cruise could be cut short. The moral of the story? Know the rules before you embark on your much-anticipated dream holiday.
You’ve boarded the ship, given the vessel the once over to find out which restaurants you’ll try and which poolside lounger has your name on it, you’ve unpacked, and now you’re celebrating with a sparkling wine in the cabin … then over the loudspeaker comes the announcement that all must gather at their assigned stations for the muster drill.
Damn, can’t you sit it out and hide in the cabin just this once? The answer is no. Attendance is mandatory. There have been reports of ships ordering passengers to disembark for failing to attend the drill. It makes sense that there are no ifs or buts, these drills are undertaken to ensure the safety of all on-board.
FORGETTING YOUR PASSPORT
It’s a given if you’re flying overseas, you’re going to have your passport on you. But if you’re on a cruise and settled in it can be easy to forget the passport tucked away in the safe. This is where you can run into trouble.
When you’re in different ports, where the country can change daily – say in the Baltics where one day it’s St Petersburg in Russia (here there’s the added red tape of needing a visa if not on a ship-organised excursion) and the next in Helsinki, Finland – and you don’t have your passport on you when disembarking it’s possible you could be denied entry back onto the ship. Depending on the port you might not need it, but it definitely pays to have it on you, just in case.
THROWING ANYTHING OVERBOARD
We’re talking anything, from a cigarette butt to the ship’s equipment.
A few years ago, an Australian passenger was ejected from a cruise when they flicked a cigarette butt overboard. The passenger was left to find their own way home from Bali.
And on another cruise, a drunk passenger went to the trouble of releasing the ship’s anchor and a lifebuoy. It could have ended in disaster, not least permanent damage to the ship. His penalty? He was made to walk the plank – that is, he was escorted off the ship and arrested.
Have you always dreamed of being a cruise director like Julie McCoy from The Love Boat? Or maybe steering the ship after visiting the bridge? You’ll need years of training to do that!
Anyone dressing up in sailor whites to impersonate crew can be asked to disembark immediately, no matter how innocent your intentions.
On the scarier side, in Germany, a man was found to be impersonating a doctor, treating patients on cruise ships for more than five years. He claimed to be a specialist in anaesthesia and intensive care.
Don’t forget passports for excursions. In the Baltics a stop might be Russia one day, Finland the next; return to the ship on time.