Cruise TipsHow to Avoid Being Pickpocketed or Mugged While Cruising

How to Avoid Being Pickpocketed or Mugged While Cruising

avoid crime on cruiseI have never personally had anything stolen while cruising but it does ooccasionally happen to cruisers when they least expect it.  There is some common sense involved in some of these tips, but when traveling it’s all too easy to just throw caution to the wind and let your guard down.

Don’t take your eyes off the prize

You know how the security at the airport always asks if your suitcases have been out of your sight since you have been in the airport?  Well it’s a good idea to not let your stuff out of your sight for even a second.  This is especially true on embarkation day when you have all kinds of luggage with you, but also  on excursions you should make sure you only take with you what you absolutely need and leave the rest back at the cabin.

Make sure your luggage is marked with your room number properly

I didn’t think this could happen, but on my last cruise I told the luggage guy at the port my room number so he could mark the bags.  Little did I know that he wrote the WRONG number on the sticker.  After not seeing my suitcases for 5 hours I finally asked the front desk and they took me to a back room where there were about 10 other suitcases.  The lady just told me to grab the bags that were mine (with no proof or anything).  Now, how hard would it have been for me to just grab someone else’s bags?  Next time, I will either make sure the number is correct or just carry my bags myself to avoid the hassle and the security risk.

Use the safe in your room

I would like to think that all room attendants are honest and respectable, but I have heard stories of people missing items from their staterooms before.  Just lock up those valuables like jewelry, money, and identification cards that you don’t need.  At least this way you don’t have to suffer with paranoia every time you leave your room.

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Be careful when you go in the water

My favorite part about cruising is going snorkeling.  But while my wife and I are in the water who is watching my stuff on the shore?  It would be very easy for someone to come by and grab our stuff, so it’s important to make sure you either have someone watching your bags for you (someone you can trust), or you can put your stuff in a water tight bag and take it with you.  Might look funny, but at least your only worry will be your stuff getting wet.

Lurk quietly in the shadows

Ok, you don’t have to lurk.  What I mean is that you shouldn’t wave around your valuables and draw attention to yourself.  In the VERY rare event you actually win money from the casino, don’t make a big scene about it and “make it rain”.  Anytime you travel might not be a good time to wear that $10,000 Rolex and 5 carat diamond ring.  You might be a millionaire but you want to look like the average Joe … or Joanne.  The more attention you draw to your money the more likely you are of drawing the attention of the less than honest among us as well.

Always be aware of your surroundings

Yes, you are on a cruise ship enjoying your vacation, and no, not everyone is out to get you.  Being aware of what is going on around you can help let you make wise decisions and keep from getting mugged.  There can be over 5,000 people on some cruise ships and they are all in a relatively confined space, so make sure you put some space between you and those around you that you don’t know.

Enjoy yourself

Hey, you’re on a cruise!  Enjoy it!  These little cruise tips are meant to help you enjoy your vacation and not to make you paranoid over every little thing.  Just exercise caution and you will have the time of your life.

If I missed any tips feel free to leave some pointers below in the comment section.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on dozens of cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 9 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise TipsHow to Avoid Being Pickpocketed or Mugged While Cruising


  1. As Ex PD my suggestions are (for shore visits):
    – Don’t carry more than you need.
    – Skip the wallet or purse and keep cash, cards, etc. in pockets. Cargo pants/shorts are great for this.
    – Carry two “wads” of cash in two places. The first an easy spot for your “working” money (which should consist of many small bills and a few large ones for a variety of reasons, including not having to reboard the ship with generally useless foreign currency as change for your purchases). The casino or purser can often change your large bills to small before you disembark. The second spot should be much more discreet and secure, with several large bills and a credit card with a large available balance in case of emergency. This second spot should also have the information for the port agent, in case of really bad emergency.
    – If you must carry a purse, or a camera, lengthen the shoulder strap so the object can be “slung” over your shoulders like a satchel, so they can’t be grabbed by a passerby or taken off to be forgotten somewhere (until you remember you left them behind, that is).
    – Try to skip the tourist trademarks (Hawaiian shirts, wacky prints on shorts, souvenir t-shirts and the classic black nylon socks with sandals) and instead dress in comfortable solid colors (kind of like the locals might wear) to make yourself less of a target.
    – On a similar note, while belt packs are a relatively secure method for carrying items, they are also a sure fire sign that you are a tourist, and that there may be some good stuff in that belt pack.
    – On another similar note, unless you’re part of an active shore excursion, those tags and cruise cards (and sometimes even passports) hanging from that lanyard around your neck sure don’t help lower your profile to predators.
    – In the end, remember to enjoy yourself! By taking simple steps to “harden the target” you have already made yourself quite unattractive to predators, especially in a cruise port full of other folks who haven’t taken the same precautions.

  2. And remember, the crew is not in charge to guard your belongings. 99% of the lost and never found are taken by other cruisers. The fact that you on the ship which leaves the country doesn’t explain why some people turn off their senses and get mugged, lost and even worse on ships or ports of call.
    This doesn’t want to be a critic but an well intentioned advice, some we doing this for years and years and we seen so much.

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