News that a Costa Cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy, toppling to the side and leaving at least six people dead and thousands traumatized is sure to have a chilling effect on cruise ship bookings in the next few weeks. But if you were planning a cruise with your family, don't let this accident stop you any more than you would let news of a multi-car pileup on the highway keep you from taking a road trip.
Cruises are great for families. There's plenty for everyone to do and there's no need to unpack and re-pack to see the world.
Pay attention to safety
What we should learn from the Costa accident is to pay more attention to the safety drills many cruise passengers take for granted.
Before leaving port, ships stage a mandatory lifeboat drill. So serious are they about attendance that they even shut down the bars for the 30 minutes it takes to run the drill. Still, some cruisers show up at their appointed area carrying a drink or bottle of beer, laughing, joking and generally messing around until the all clear sounds and the bars reopen.
The Costa accidents proves that lifeboat drills are important--for the crew and for the passengers.
If you're planning a cruise, set your own safety drill as soon as your board the ship. Call a family meeting to show your kids where the life jackets are kept and, if the kids are old enough to spend time away from you onboard, agree on a meeting place in the event of an emergency.
Then, when it's time for the mandatory lifeboat drill, set a good example and pay attention to the instructions.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.