Shore excursions are a big part of most cruises. These excursions, which are offered at various ports can be a lot of fun, so long as cruise passengers are safe. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was recently in the headlines after one of its passengers was attacked by a shark and died tragically while on an ‘independent shore excursion’ in Nassau. Royal Caribbean confirmed in a statement that the woman was a guest on the seven-night cruise, which sailed from Port Canaveral..

It is important that cruise ship passengers spend as much time planning their time off the ship, as planning their time on the ship.  Here are some important tips to help ensure your safety while on these shore excursions.

Keep Track of Your Valuables.

The easiest place to get pickpocketed is in a large group of people. Thieves will go to these highly populated tourist locations because they assume cruise ship passengers getting off the ship will not be on guard, and unfamiliar with the surroundings, making them the perfect target. Invest in a bag that does not leave your site, or a money belt that can slip under your clothing.

Do Not Wander.

It can be tempting to want to “explore” once the cruise goer is on port. However, it is safe to stay on the beaten path. Stay in the areas recommended by the cruise line. There is a reason that they put together recommendations for passengers, and it is best to frequent those spots rather than wander off to find an undiscovered “treasure.” The possibility of getting lost and not being able to make it back to port on time is too strong, and the chances of being robbed or worse is too great a risk if the traveler encounters an unsafe situation. Use common sense and stay in populated areas.

Book Excursions through the Cruise Line.

It is best to only book excursions through the cruise line and not through someone who is not licensed or regulated by the visiting port. If any questions arise as to whether the person through whom the passenger is booking the excursion is licensed, always ask. If the person is licensed, he or she will be able to provide the proper documentation.

Carry Only What Is Necessary. 

When passengers get off the ship for the day, it is important that they only take what is needed. If the person does not plan on using the cell phone on port, leave it in the safe on the ship. Cell phones are easily the most commonly stolen item from travelers. Leave the original passport in the safe, as well, and carry a photocopy of the passport while exploring the island. Keep valuables to a limit. Be mindful of wearing flashy watches or expensive jewelry. When in doubt, leave it on the ship.

Don’t Forget to Check In.

This is especially important if you are traveling alone. Text or call someone back home what your plans are for the day, and travel in a group if at all possible. If possible, look for group activities instead of ones which you would be doing alone. There are numerous city bus tours filled with families, couples and crowds that run pretty cheap. It doesn’t mean you need to have a rigid schedule that you follow to the T because someone is monitoring it, but rather that someone has a basic idea of where you are or might be at any given time. Text or call someone back home what your plans are for the day, and invite some of your new cruise friends to join you if possible.

Be Prepared.

Have a phone fully charged at all times and know the emergency numbers of whatever country you are in (if it’s not 911).  Anchor USB phone chargers are portable, lightweight, and can charge a phone up to three times faster than regular chargers. Take this device with you to ensure your phone is charged at all times.

Know Your Limitations.

Before planning to take on an exciting shore excursion adventure, like a cross country bike ride, ziplining, or even parasailing- know that these activities are not for everyone. The last thing anyone wants is to have an accident, or any type of medical emergency far away from home, especially in another country. Research shore excursion activities thoroughly, and know what’s involved before booking the activity. To be on the safe side, purchase travel insurance.

Safety Tips While Ziplining and Parasailing.

Ziplining is a popular attraction for cruise excursions, allowing the participants to fly through tropical jungles and mountains. However, flying fast through the jungle can come with its own inherent risks, especially if the ropes on the zip lining course are frayed or not appropriately attached. Participants also are required to get a safety briefing before beginning the ride. These rides should also have guides and brakes to ensure safety, as well. It is important to ensure that the zip course is regularly inspected. Cruise goers can do their own research online to verify this. 

Another fun activity enjoyed by cruise passengers is parasailing, which involves a person being pulled by a boat and flying above the water with a parachute. However, the ropes attached to the boat and the individual need to be properly attached and not frayed. Further, the driver needs to ensure that the passenger does not go above a certain height that is considered unsafe where the passenger is unable to communicate to the boat in the event of an emergency. Like zip lining, it helps to do your homework before booking the parasailing activity. Make sure that the company is trusted and safe before booking.


Cruise lines are responsible for the injuries that passengers sustain on and off the ship. Florida law is clear that cruise lines have a non-delegable responsibility to make sure that passengers are safe when being transported between the ship and shore.

If you have been injured on a cruise ship, tender or in port, it is important that you seek immediate medical care and report the incident. Cruise lines often defend cases based upon a “lack of reported incident.” Also, immediately consult with an experienced passenger injury lawyer who is admitted to practice in Federal Court.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has obtained millions of dollars in compensation for injured cruise ship passengers and crew members onboard the major cruise lines. We are constantly filing lawsuits against Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and other cruise lines around the world in Federal Court. Since 1991, our law firm has helped injured passengers hold the cruise lines accountable. We work hard to get our clients compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. The cruise lines are part of multi-billion dollar industry and employ the most aggressive and experienced lawyers–which is why you need experienced legal counsel on your side, too. Call Spencer Aronfeld today for a free consultation, Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer.