August 5, 2010

August 5, 2010
Cruise Control - Safety Tips at Sea

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are in Washington, DC this week.

Today we met with our elected officials on the Hill. We are hoping to get more funding for ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program). Florida currently has over 900 men and women on the waiting list for life saving HIV medications. Around the country, we have almost 2,500 men and women on waiting lists in twelve states.

So right now a lot of people with HIV and AIDS feel like they are out to sea without a paddle. Which brings me to the subject for today which is safety at sea.

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 are 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 are 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 are 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.

Cruise ships have no legal or enforcement authorities on board. It is really up to you to be the eyes and ears. And when you go ashore, repeat your report to the local authorities. Historically, cruise lines aren't exactly enthusiastic about reporting incidents.

On board, be aware of your alcohol consumption, and do not visit strangers' rooms or wander alone to dark places on the ship.

When you are on land, make sure you do not travel alone after dark and that goes for men and women. If you are staying at a hotel, keep your passport in the hotel safe at the front desk, not in your room safe, and do not carry large amounts of cash on you. Remember, even the safest cities have areas with high amounts of crime. When you're getting ready to go out, do not just ask the hotel manager or the concierge where to go, ask the maids, the bellhops and doormen where they would not go.

Just keep these tips in mind, and you will be able to rest a little easier on your vacation.

Stay tuned for pictures from our latest adventure. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab