New governmental warnings by the U.S. and Canada reflects the reality of potential dangers to cruise passengers on ships and in ports of call.
Here are some excerpts from the warning page published by Travel.State.Gov - US Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs:
Before you travel:
- Research your destination to learn about important health and safety precautions to take.
- Check our country information for the countries you will be visiting. Make a list of the contact information of the U.S. embassy and consulates there in case of an emergency.
During your cruise:
- Remain vigilant and exercise normal precautions aboard a cruise ship and on shore, as you would whenever traveling abroad.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Ensure cabin safety and make sure the door and balcony are properly locked at all times.
- Consider storing your travel documents and other valuables in a secure spot, such as a room or ship’s safe.
- Talk to the security personnel on board if you are the victim of a crime. The cruise ship will have procedures in place for handling a crime onboard.
- When you come ashore, follow local laws and customs. If you break the law, you will be subject to the justice system of the host country.
If you think the State Department is overreacting, take a look at this compendium of Cruise Ship Violence: Murders and Other Crimes at Sea .