Things to Avoid on a Cruise

Cruise Ship at Sea
Cruise Ship at Sea
"Cruise to Costa Rica" photo © iStock

Ah, cruising is the life.

You’re practically waited on hand and foot.  With all of the cool activities on board (IMAX, gambling, facials!) you’re never bored; there’s yummy food galore; and the booze is flowing.  And with more and more cruise ships docking at both Pacific and Caribbean ports, there’s even more reason to go.

But before you leave port, here are a few pointers you should know to avoid getting sick or injured at sea:

Not Planning for Disembarkation

Set car rental up in advance, so the agency will meet bring the vehicle to the dock and the journey can begin immediately.  Have the route planned and the first night’s accommodation booked to start this part of the vacation stress-free.

Don’t Go Without Your Shots

The CDC urges cruisers to make sure they’re up to date on routine vaccines like measles/mumps/rubella, since you’ll be living in close quarters with crew and fellow passengers from countries where these diseases are more common.  You should also look up each of the ship’s destinations to check for health alerts, and any additional vaccine or medication recommendations.  Bring insect repellent to use day and night to keep any pesky mosquitoes at bay.

Don’t Get Too Paranoid About the Buffet

"Self-serve meals might give you the heebie-jeebies, but you can trust that the food served on American cruise ships is safe to eat", said Sarah Krieger, MPH, RDN, a nutritionist who specializes in food safety issues.  Dishes are held at the proper temperature and consistently monitored.

Don’t Go Crazy at the Buffet

The biggest buffet risk, says Krieger, is approaching it like a personal eating challenge:  "Food is everywhere on a cruise,” she said, "which makes it all too easy to overindulge and come back with extra bulges you didn’t want."

Don’t Eat Too Late at Night  

It never occurs to you to have a pizza snack after dinner until you get on a boat.  Jimmy Minardi, a personal trainer on Long Island, New York, advises his clients to close the kitchen (so to speak) two hours after the sun goes down.

Don’t Keep Busy

Vacation is also about relaxing.  Skip some of the onboard activities to unwind and enjoy the view!

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