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Leave your car off-site

Leave your car off-site
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If you’re arriving by car, do not park in the cruise terminal, as they invariably charge a small fortune. Off-site car parks typically cost half as much, offer shuttle service to port, and have your car waiting with the AC on at trip’s end.

Check out these four highlights of modern cruising holidays.

The threat of sexual assault is real

The threat of sexual assault is real
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You’re twice as likely to be sexually assaulted on a cruise as you are on land, a 2011 study found, and two thirds of assailants are crew members. Yet cases are hard to prosecute, with alcohol often involved and police often not on board. Stay safe by sticking with a friend.

We offer more than shuffleboard and bingo

We offer more than shuffleboard and bingo
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As cruise lines compete to offer the coolest attractions, you can now find zip-lines, bumper cars, ropes courses, rock walls and hair-raising water slides on board. Walk a ‘plank’ on the Norwegian Getaway that hovers 180 feet above the ocean. Or try simulated surfing or skydiving on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Chances are there’s even a music-themed cruise to suit you.

Keep an eye on your kid in the swimming pool

Keep an eye on your kid in the swimming pool
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There have been more than a dozen drownings or near-drownings on cruise ships in recent years, and most ships don’t have lifeguards. Disney is a notable exception; it began hiring guards in late 2013 after a four-year-old nearly drowned on the Disney Fantasy.

For any travel with kids, there’s a lot you can plan beforehand to take the hassle out and make sure it’s fun for everyone.

The ship will leave without you

The ship will leave without you
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We may stick around for an extra hour for a busload of tourists. But if we’re missing one or two people, we are gone. And if you miss us, it’s on you to find – and pay for – a way to get to our next stop.

You may not get your luggage right after check-in

You may not get your luggage right after check-in
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Pack a carry-on with your swimming costume, a change of clothes, medication, and anything else you’ll need to enjoy those first few hours on board.

By the way, make sure you pack for all occasions with our handy how-to.

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There’s a hidden bar with cheap drinks just for the crew

There’s a hidden bar with cheap drinks just for the crew
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Crew members say they do a lot of drinking, partying and sleeping together to blow off steam. But if you’re thinking of joining them, forget it – fraternising with guests is the fastest way to get thrown off the ship.

You can bring your own booze

You can bring your own booze
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Most cruise lines allow you to bring one or two bottles of wine on board, though you will probably have to pay a corkage fee. If you are buying wine on board, it’s most economical to buy a full bottle, even if you only want one glass. Your waiter can mark it with your name and save it for the next night.

Yes, people do occasionally fall over the rails

Yes, people do occasionally fall over the rails
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About 20 people a year fall off the ship, according to a website that tracks media reports of passengers overboard. Many of them are either incredibly drunk or they intentionally jump to commit suicide.

Order however much food you want

Order however much food you want
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Can’t decide between two entrees? Have you always wanted to try escargot? Many passengers don’t know that it’s OK to order more than one appetiser or entree. You can also request seconds or thirds. We’ve had people ask for seven or eight lobster tails on formal nights.

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