10 Tourist Scams That All Cruisers Need To Know

Let’s accept this truth: all the crowded places around the globe are the favorite spots of culprits and scammers. No matter whether you’re on a cruise port or an airport, both these spots are scam hub spots.

Being a regular cruise, I’ve seen many victims scammed by offenders on cruise ports. Besides purse snatching, there are numerous other ways that these scammers use to snatch your money. 

In this article, I’ve mentioned some scams and watch-outs for cruisers that can help you avoid such suspicious people and scammers. 

1- Women’s Marriage Scam 

caribbean marriage scam

This scam is hilarious and can throw you in trouble. If you’re a solo traveler and sailing towards the Caribbean, you must be especially aware of this scam. 

On a few Caribbean Islands, some women attract solo travelers (males), pretend they are your best friends, and want you to explore the town with them. Once you agree, they will take you to any barren places and force you to engage in sexual activities with them. 

And once she gets pregnant, you will fall into their trap. Now, she will gonna ask for a ton of cash. Otherwise, she will report to the police station. At this stage, you will become clueless and just a bystander.

So the first advice is to avoid such women or ladies. If you’re a solo traveler, I suggest you go with your cruise groups, take part in cruise shore excursions, or book group tours through Viator

2- Credit Card Scams 

You might become a victim of credit card scams on port excursions. Especially if you’re sailing to third-world Mexican countries like Cozumel, Cancún, or Caribbean Islands like Jamaica or Puerto Rico, you must watch out for this scam. 

So, while you’re on shore excursions, you chill at a café or restaurant, grab a few drinks, and when the bill arrives, you put your credit card in it. Then, the waiter or cashier will swipe all the credit card details and siphon money from it.

That’s why, instead of using credit, I always keep native currency in my pocket. The first thing that I always do before any port excursion is visit the exchange office to get some cash. 

Always use AirTags in your luggage, carry-on, and wallet so that you can easily track them after forgetting them in a hotel room. 

3- Luggage Snatching

luggage snatching

This is a common scam that’s even more painful. In the luggage, we got a lot of crucial items like our outfits, documents, and numerous other items. 

You must take care of your handbag, especially if you’re on a cruise port. I’ve seen that people are so careless regarding carry-on and they often leave their bags in cafes and restaurants. And later, any culprit individual keeps that purse. 

Make sure you always have your bags with you. Sometimes, on embarkation days, the scammers disguise themself and pretend to be a humble porter, or even they ask you to carry your luggage for nothing. Avoid such porters, and always hand over your luggage to a legitimate person. 

4- Taxi Scams

Taxi Scams

Taxi scams are easy and common ways to scam tourists. Always use Uber or legit cab booking apps to avoid such scams. 

Or, in case you’re going to hop on a local taxi, decide your fare first and then ride on it.

Taxi meters are another thing to watch out for; always use your Google map to decide the fastest, show that to your taxi driver, and then navigate the ride. 

5- ATM Scams 

Things are advancing, but scammers are still adopting new tricks to scam tourists. Even if you’re using the contactless option on ATMs, you’re still at great risk of scams. 

After using the contactless payment option, your account menu will remain open for the next few seconds, which is a red flag. So always log your account on the ATM before leaving. 

And if someone around the ATM tells you that the ATM slot is not working and the only Contactless option is functional, it’s a big alert signal for you. 

6- Pickpocketing 

When it comes to street crimes, pickpocketing is at the top. The cruise ports that remain busy are especially favorite spots for this cutpurse. 

These folks are pretty sharp, usually rolling in a crew. One might converse with you, while the others sneakily snatch your purse or whatever you carry. 

So, in case someone finds such suspicious individuals around you, hold your purse firmly. For such scenarios, neck wallets are more secure and hard to snatch. That’s why I often use it for my shore excursions. 

7- Don’t Touch Souvenir


This scam is commonly reported in the Caribbean Islands. Unfortunately, scammers often display broken mugs or crafts on shelves. When a traveler touches them, the mug or whole shelf may crash. And shopkeepers ask them to pay a huge amount to cover this loss. 

So, never touch any expensive souvenirs in Caribbean shops; otherwise, you must face the consequences. Always ask the shopkeeper to give you that item to you. 

8- Rental Car Fraud 

Unfortunately, this rental car fraud is the most reported scam that cruisers are victims of. Cruisers always desire to rent a car to explore more in less time during port excursions.

Sadly, some private car rentals hand over faulty vehicles that get stuck after a minute or two drive, and then the car rental owner asks you to pay for that. So before renting a car, always sign these terms and conditions that you’re not responsible for such engine faults. 

Also, use registered vehicle rental services like RentalCars, BikesBooking, booking.com, etc. 

9- Fake Guides

This scam is so annoying, and one of my cruise friends became a victim. 

If you’re following Instagram theme pages for travel inspiration, watch out for scammers posing as local guides. They’ll slide into your DMs, offering enticing tours and asking for an advance payment to secure your spot. 

And whenever you give them advance money, they block you on social media, turning your excitement into frustration. So be aware of such advance payment, folks; this is a complete red flag for you. 

I always use legitimate travel operators and guides; I personally use Viator to book my shore exertion and tours. 

10- Currency Exchange Scam

Ah! The currency exchange scams are a tale as old as travel itself. Finding an official currency on some Islands is challenging, and that’s why people use shortcuts to exchange their currency, and unfortunately, they get scammed. 

Be aware of this scam, especially if you’re sailing to the Caribbean or Mexico. Some local people might offer currency exchange and hand you fake currency notes. Or they might offer you an exchange rate far from the fair. 

Always use official exchange offices or banks to get the best exchange rate and to avoid these scams. 

Final Thoughts 

Cruising is always fun and a way to relax your soul. But what if you got scammed during your voyage? It’s so annoying and frustrating. 

Especially cruisers have faced such challenges at the port of call or during the port excursion. Even onboard, some falcons might keep evil eyes on you, so stay vigilant and always keep an eye on your belongings.

Secondly, rely on official travel apps and legitimate options to maximize your trip. Don’t blindly trust local or private services, as they can easily deceive people.

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