Security on a Cruise Travel





Providing the appearance and sensation of safety is often more necessary than actually providing physical security.

Indeed, security guards within Europe are mostly employed to deter vandalism, prevent minor violence, and minimize damage. In a short and general sense, they keep the peace. They cannot use violence, are often unarmed, and have little hope of stopping a determined criminal.

Most security guards have unfavorable perceptions linked to their work. This is because the word “security guard” entails the denial of admission, illegitimate control of public space, and the use of force without authorization.

People always hope, though, that if a calamity strikes, security personnel will assist and come to their rescue. However, an ill prepared security officer is more of a deterrent than a solution when it comes to calamities and criminal behavior.

In the tourism business, leaders and managers should be mindful of employing security personnel. Well trained security personnel can be the difference between life or death in a number of scenarios.

Security professionals at war zones and governmental buildings, as well as many other important locations, structures, and institutions, are sometimes highly trained and well-compensated. One could argue that such highly trained security guards are needed in many cases outside of these locations.

Why aren’t tourist attractions included?

This is a tough topic. Maybe you’re located in a low-profile part of the tourism sector. While an over-reaction to security would give criminal activities an unnecessary role in an already over-anxious life, we should also remember that stopping criminal activities is never just the responsibility of the government and policing organizations. Every individual, especially security guards, have a responsibility to protect the well-being of the people around them. This concept pertains to tourist attractions specifically because tourists are generally seen as easy and unsuspecting targets for criminals.

Passengers are often afraid of robbery, criminal behaviors, and violence, as well as the possibility of illegal boarding. While robberies and violence are always reasonable fears for individuals in new environments, it is very rare for someone to try to enter a ship if they do not belong there.

Despite these cases being extremely rare, some guests do not feel comfortable or safe without a security guard on board. Pirating and hijacking stories in the media combined tend to give passengers a false perception of how dangerous cruises are, so it is up to the cruise line to pacify that fear.

Having a security guard or someone who can consistently patrol the entrance of a cruise ship, usually makes guests feel much safer. The sight of a security professional who is well dressed, friendly, and highly attentive to their job is often enough to calm most guests. It shows them that they have an easily identifiable and trustworthy staff on board at all times, and it reflects that the cruise they are taking cares about their safety.

Major companies have automated security systems that enable ship officers to see who is on the ship at any given moment, by merely pressing a button or scanning a card. Other cruise lines are implementing preventative steps such as access control, crowd management, and patrol on foot by security guards contracted from private security companies to prevent episodes of robbery, vandalism, and violence from occurring. Every single cruise line needs to have some form of security system in order to protect their services and benefit their brand. Luckily, security needs can be tailored to each vessel, especially when they are managed by a security service with experience on large superyachts.


Onboard security varies from line to line and ship to ship. Some cruise lines hire former military and naval personnel to implement and oversee their security, while others hire private security firms or former law enforcement officers.

Our personnel solely monitor the risk potential and work with the ship’s crew to ensure that all required safety protocols are implemented. This unified understanding of security is key to implementing emergency services in an immediate manner whenever they are needed. Everything is checked accordingly, including the historical risk of security incidents, smuggling threats, illegal imports, port security activities, and so on. A passenger in an unauthorized area, an unexpected face in a crew area, a guest in an off-limits location, or a bag found somewhere it shouldn’t be are all things that our personnel are trained to detect and deal with.

Although we are talking about security services on river cruise ships, we provide security services on yachts at sea as well. These vessels radiate a sense of wealth and luxury, making them targets for serious criminal activities. Our professionals are trained to understand and effectively respond to these risks in any situation, assuring security for parties at sea of any size.

Therefore, all our security professionals are trained Ship Security Officers and Port Facilities Security Officers with a developed understanding of the International Ship and Port Facilities code (ISPS).

The (STCW ISPS) Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA) Course that all our security professionals need to attend before boarding any ship is fully approved by the UK Department for Transport (DfT), Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), and certified under our Strategic Partner, a fully MCA Approved Course Provider.

What is crowd control management?

Cruise ships are a place where people gather in groups. This huge milling can lead to unwanted problems and difficult situations. The concept of crowd control has emerged as a solution to this problem and crowd control management essentially forms a part of the effective management of risks and emergencies involved in cruise ships.

Crowd control management is a specific training program that all our security professionals need to learn when they join our team. Crowd safety is not just about trying to merely control the crowd, it involves using the right kind of communication and effectuating the perfect leadership skills to manage the crowd. These skills resolve difficult situations and calm individual’s worries simultaneously.

Some of the main instructions imparted in the program can be enumerated and elaborated as follows:

  • In case of any emergency, panic is the first reaction. In cruise ships, in case of complications, the element of panic will be on the higher side. This is why crowd managers in cruise ships need to have the knowledge to pacify a crowd and provide them with the necessary information to resolve a situation, in a manner that does not cause them to panic further. This is also why all our operatives hold firefighting qualifications as well, to assist the crew in case of fire.
  • Leadership skills, as mentioned above, are also an aspect devoted to the crowd control for the cruise ships program. A leader is a person who is able to guide others without being rude or incoherent. In a situation of extreme exigency, the people on the cruise ship will want to listen to someone who is able to give them clear instructions and reason things in the calmest manner.
  • Understanding the psyche is another area that the safety program looks into. On a cruise ship, lots of people are around, so the problem of communication differences and other minor conflicts arising is natural. Our security professionals need to pay close attention to people so that they can prevent such conflicts from arising and thereby avoid a stressful scenario. “Conflict Management” is one of the basic training segments that our operatives go through while attending Door Supervisor training.

Similarly gauging the psyche of an individual will help the communication better between the individual and the security guard, as the latter will be in a better position to know the needs and requirements of the individual.

In terms of leadership qualities in cruise ships, the Y theory is preferred to the X theory, where the former refers to democracy in leading while the latter refers to autocracy in leading.

All personnel on board ships and port state staff are assigned security duties, which are different for people of different levels. This cross communication ensures that all needs are heard and cared for, creating the most comfortable cruise experience for all individuals on board.

However, we are not part of the ship’s crew, we are security consultants and assistance to the captain if necessary.  Our primary focus is on the safety of our clients, your passengers.

For any of the security levels, these are our general duties and responsibility when we provide security on Cruise Ships:

  • Checking the identity of all persons boarding/wanting to board the vessel
  • Segregate checked persons from those unchecked for ease of operation
  • Segregating embarkation and disembarkation
  • Identification of access points to be secured against unauthorized access
  • Providing security briefings on possible threats in every city prior to docking and sightseeing
  • Secure Transportation
  • Close Protection on sightseeing tours
  • First Aid


Most cruise ships always follow extremely tight security protocols and practices.

Even though criminals are well aware of the amount of money tourists usually carry with them, cruise ships have long been secure when it comes to robberies and criminal behavior.

While we’re at it, let’s have a look at some of the basic aspects of cruise ship security;

Big Brother is watching

Did you know that ships are constantly monitored by surveillance cameras? Visual surveillance of practically every location on the ship is available for security personnel, officers, staff, and crew. Entry and exit points for passengers (such as the crew areas), as well as all areas where cameras can see or detect movement (corridors, public rooms, entry points to the “out of bounds” areas for passengers, machinery spaces, and common deck areas such as the promenade and pool areas), are equipped with cameras. This allows security personnel to identify issues as or before they begin in an effort to resolve threats as quickly as possible. Footage from these cameras can also be used for the review of situations as a learning opportunity, allowing for the continued improvement of security systems.

Port Security

Europe has always seemed to be most security-conscious when it comes to port security. In some countries, for example, operators are required to follow several guidelines and adopt particular processes and equipment. They must also employ the shipowner to perform similar tasks. Precautions including extra screening processes, identification checks, and a heightened level of general awareness of port security are common when arriving from nations that had recent land-based problems with immigrants and illegal boarding. These secure ports act as strong check points for safety, but having a dedicated security team on board ensures safety throughout the trip.

Controlled Access

It is easy to limit and regulate access to cruise ships with trained personnel at entry points. Passengers and crew are only allowed to enter a ship when it is docked, and passengers are subject to having their IDs and manifests checked by security staff. Additionally, terminals and docking spaces are limited, so it’s difficult to gain access without permission.


Passengers traveling on river cruise ships are occasionally required to go through other ships in order to disembark. Is there anything on board to keep them away from the cabins?

Usually, you will find river cruise ships that stop in European ports, such as Amsterdam, close to each other because of limited mooring space. Passengers who booked a spot on the farthest vessel from the river’s edge often have to go through other ships to get to theirs. That’s why our security professionals are usually stationed in the lobbies and around the ship to make sure passengers are getting to the shore through the correct path, and no one accidentally walks into another ship’s hallway. Also, we usually ask passengers to wear a laminated card with their name on it all the time so they can help us identify those who are not part of the group very quickly.

Are smaller ships at a higher risk for illegal boarding?

As discussed, prior, illegal boarding is a rather uncommon occurrence. Smaller vessels may be closer to the water, but they are not necessarily at higher risk, especially if a professional security crew is on board.

My cabin features a French or a true balcony. When the ship is close to shore or other ships, how does the ship’s docking line keep passengers from boarding?

Depending on the vessel, sensors can be activated on open windows, so staff know when panoramic French balcony doors have been left open. If you travel with another cruise line

you don’t need to worry about someone breaking in, because one of our security professionals is always on the spot.

On the upper deck, anything can happen. Is it possible for intruders to get aboard the ship through there?

On land, our presence is most required to control access to the upper decks although many cruise companies keep the upper decks closed to the public while the ship is docked. One of the unique features, while we are on board, is that the entire ship is patrolled all the time 24/7 in shifts, with check-in locations strategically placed along the way.

While the ship is docked, most river cruise companies restrict access to the top deck through passenger key cards; unlike ocean ships, you’ll need to bring it with you to get through some of the doors going outside. This method has been proven to be extremely effective in maintaining passenger exclusive entry.

Some cruise ships also give passengers a secret security code that is reset weekly to reduce the risk of unauthorized entry.

What about photo card scanners like you see on ocean cruises?

Card scanners are a rarity, although a few cruise lines have them. Some cruise lines also take pictures of passengers when they board, so a photo pops up when the person enters and leaves the ship. This method makes for easy identification of passengers and also improves individual security as it ensures passengers are accounted for every time the vessel docks.

How can I be sure that the staff are reliable?

Cruise staff are subject to the same identity verification methods as passengers, making it impossible for unauthorized personnel to board vessels and change procedures. Our security staff members are verified through identification parameters and their proof of successful security training.

Are there any external security measures in place on my river cruise ship?

Almost all cruise lines employ only access control officers – Gateway Officers while their ships are at the dock. However, we are the only security company in Europe that provides an extra level of security to VIP group passengers.

We provide close protection in sightseeing. If you are a travel organizer or travel agency dealing with high profile people, dignitaries and corporate executives, you should consider applying this type of service to your package.


What should I do if I notice something strange aboard a river cruise ship?

Immediately report anything or anyone suspicious on your ship to the Reception Desk, which is usually staffed 24 hours. Some cruise lines even have red emergency contact buttons in the cabins as well.

However, if you have us on board, you don’t need to worry about any of these things. We strive to predict and prevent suspicious activity, and when it does occur our trained security officers will be the first to diffuse the situation as effectively and calmly as possible. Your cruise deserves to be worry free and secure.

Thank you for reading.
If you have any questions about our service,
contact us with confidence.


Read More

Related Articles

error: Content is protected !!