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Please tell me about the safety and security measures onboard the cruises?


During the past two decades, North American cruise lines have maintained the best safety record in the travel industry, and safety standards on cruise ships are stricter and more consistent than in any other segment of the travel industry. The cruiselines that we use for our guests support and adhere to stringent, internationally-agreed standards for the design, construction and operation of ocean-going cruise ships as set forth by the International Maritime Organization (a specialized agency of the United Nations) in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. This document has been ratified and is enforced by virtually all the major "seafaring" nations of the world, including the United States. The SOLAS agreement prescribes, in great detail, safety specifications in all areas of passenger vessel operations, including design, construction methods and materials, refurbishment standards, life-saving equipment, fire protection, safety training and drill procedures, among dozens of other precautions. All materials from hull steel to upholstery must comply with IMO standards that result from extensive material and type testing by IMO's special technical committee.
Since SOLAS was first drafted in 1948, it has been continually updated and expanded to increase the safety requirements as based on practical experience and/or scientific research. In North America, the cruise industry also cooperates fully with the U.S. Coast Guard, which is empowered by Congress to inspect all foreign-flag vessels operating from North American ports and to issue a Control Verification Certificate, without which a foreign-flag ship would be prohibited from embarking U.S. passengers.

All of the inspections test all watertight doors, firefighting equipment, fire- and smoke-detecting systems, fire screen doors, communications systems, alarm systems, lifeboats and liferafts, lifejackets and buoys, distress signals and all navigational equipment. These inspections are accompanied by extensive lifeboat, damage control and firefighting drills.
In addition to these required inspections and drills, ongoing safety programs have been implemented. Boat drills and fire drills for crew and boat drills for passengers take place weekly. Passenger boat drills -- at which attendance is taken and life jackets are worn -- take place in most ports of embarkation before departure and never later than 24 hours after departing the port of embarkation. Watertight doors and fire detection systems are tested daily; other equipment weekly. In addition a safety video covering lifeboat, fire and general safety is aired on the in-cabin television system for passenger viewing.

A cruise ship is comparable to a secure building with round-the-clock security. Since cruise ships operate in a strictly controlled environment, access can be tightly regulated. Every person on board, including passengers and crewmembers, is placed on an official manifest and may leave or enter the ship only after passing through strict security measures.

In the aftermath of the terrorism attacks of September 11, 2001, in December 2002 SOLAS was amended and the International Ship Security and Port Faculty Code was enacted with an effective date of July 1, 2004 for implementation. Security measures already in place by the cruiselines we have chosen for our passengers meet or exceed the requirements of the Code; and the cruiselines continually review and enhance security procedures to ensure the safest possible travel environment.

Also, please keep in mind that all of the voyages offered by All Christian Cruises are bathed in much prayer. We know from scripture that God is our ultimate provider and protector (Psalm 91). Please tell me about embarkation. What time do I need to arrive at the pier? Should I arrive the night prior to the cruise?

Boarding the ship generally begins 4 to 5 hours prior to the sailing time indicated on your cruise ticket. You are going on a cruise to unwind, so the last thing you want is to be rushed. Sometimes people experience traffic or flight delays, and that is why we recommend to those planning to arrive the day of the cruise to take a morning flight out (preferably the first flight of the day) and for those who are driving to get an early start as well. We think it is best to arrive at the cruise terminal by noon, because lunch is provided when you get onboard and getting an early start will make your trip more enjoyable. Reservations for the cruise will be held approximately one hour prior to departure without risk of automatic cancellation. Please don’t cut it that close though.

We always reserve group space at a hotel near the airport of the departure city (specific hotel varies for each cruise but it is generally a Holiday Inn or one of the Hilton family hotels such as Hilton or Embassy Suites), and do our best to negotiate the best group rates possible. Those who plan to arrive the day prior to sailing and stay with the group at a hotel will receive a letter from the group leaders upon check-in reminding you the exact time to meet in the lobby the day of the cruise. A shuttle will bring the group to the cruise terminal. There is generally a modest fee for the shuttle.

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