National Cruise Week 18 - 25 September 2011

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The row centres on whether the City of Liverpool's cruise terminal, funded by public money on the basis it would not compete with other privately owned and funded ports, should be allowed to operate turnaround cruises. If the restriction is lifted Cunard may return to Liverpool to exploit the Northern market, potentially causing harm to Southampton's local economy which thrives on the cruise industry.

Simon Calder of the Independent has used national cruise week as an excuse to explore the potential of mini-cruises, a try before you buy for those yet to dip their toe into the cruising world.

Whatever cruise you choose this national cruise week, don't forget to stay safe and consult a specialist travel solicitor if things do go wrong, either before or after sailing. Cruises can be very expensive so the importance of everything being just right should not be underestimated. I am often instructed on cases where the cruise company has misrepresented or failed to provide adequate information before travel. Here are my 5 top tips for staying safe on a cruise:

1. Avoid taking expensive items with you. While it is all too tempting to show off your best jewellery or watches and to have hi-tech electronic gadgets at your disposal, they only make you more attractive to potential thieves, particularly when in port.

2. If you do have valuables on you then keep them within eyesight; it is too easy to fall into thinking everything and everyone is safe just because you are all on the same boat.

3. Be sensible about alcohol consumption, particularly when spending time in the sun or in unfamiliar surroundings.

4. If you have an accident ensure it is fully reported to the ship's authorities, take photographs and ensure any medical notes recorded by the ship's doctor are accurate. Remember, if the cruise company is potentially at fault, they will want to protect their position just as you do.

5. Use common sense. A cruise ship is no different to any hotel resort you might otherwise holiday at and so the same level of vigilance is required at all times of the day.

If you haven't cruised before then maybe national cruise week will inspire you to make that booking; if you've already booked then happy cruising!

 Chris Deacon

Solicitor - Travel team

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