HELENA, Mont., (March 15, 2013) – In light of several recent high-profile incidents involving cruise ships, AAA reminds ocean-bound travelers to keep safety a priority before setting sail.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), last year cruises hosted more than 17.2 million passengers, and a passenger total in excess of 17.6 million is forecast for 2013.
“AAA urges the cruise industry to take steps to mitigate future similar events, as cruising remains a popular travel option,” says AAA Travel Agent Stauna O’Reilly. “While recent incidents have been out of consumer control, AAA offers safety tips for those travelers taking to the seas.”
Tips for smooth sailing:
• Travel with a small waterproof pack that can be easily secured around the body in the event of an evacuation. The pack should include passports, cash (including local currency), credit card, necessary medications, a small flashlight, cell phone, nutrition bars, and a bottle of water if possible. Prepare the pack upon boarding the ship so it is immediately accessible in the event of an incident or emergency.
• All cruise passengers should actively participate in and pay full attention during the ship's muster drills as evacuation procedures vary by cruise line. Currently, ships are required to hold safety drills within 24 hours of boarding new passengers. If the ship's emergency muster drill is not scheduled prior to departure from the embarkation port, take personal responsibility for safety by locating life vests and identifying assigned muster stations.
• Register all international travel with the U.S. Department of State's free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This will enable the State Department to provide better assistance in an international emergency.
• Book all cruise vacations through a trusted travel counselor. In the days following an incident or emergency, your travel agent can be a trusted ally providing critical, timely and valuable assistance. An agent can provide guidance to customers already booked on future cruises that may be affected by the original cruise ship emergency.
AAA MountainWest is dedicated to providing its over 180,000 members in Alaska, Montana and Wyoming with travel, insurance, financial and auto-related services. A fully tax-paying, not-for-profit corporation, AAA MountainWest, Inc. works for the improvement of motoring and traveling conditions and is a leader for travel, civic and safety issues. AAA can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com.
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