Q: Peter, I'm getting ready to go on a Caribbean cruise in the fall, but I keep hearing about all these crimes. Is it safe to go there?
–Trudy, Valley Park, Mo.
A: Trudy, it has always been my motto that you can feel safe to travel just about anywhere as long as you travel smartly. The same goes for cruising in the Caribbean.
You're not alone though, Trudy. After reports of onboard disappearances, the Natalee Holloway case in Aruba, and the case of a young woman killed in January during a cruise stopover on the island of Antigua, many travelers are questioning how safe it is to travel abroad, especially by cruise ship.
The answers I can tell you are comforting, not scary. The actual incidence of cruise ship crime is incredibly low, which is why when something occasionally happens, it makes headlines. And in the Antigua and Holloway cases, the murders happened on shore, not on a ship.
So what can you do to travel smartly? For starters, when you're on the ship, you have to keep your valuables with you at all times and leave expensive jewelry and electronics in the ship's safe. If you're traveling alone, ask someone from the purser's staff to escort you to your room at the end of the evening. If you do happen to be a victim of a crime, whether it be a burglary, theft or assault, report it immediately — and make sure you write down all the details, including how the crew responded to your complaint.
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