Here at Unintended Domesticity HQ, we’re getting pretty excited about our next big trip: a 7-day Alaska cruise out of Seattle, with passage through the picturesque Tracy Arm Strait. We can’t wait!
This will be our third cruise overall, and while I’m always a little OCD about creating a packing list in advance of a trip (without one, I always forget something…usually the hubby’s socks or my cell phone charger), something about cruise vacations in particular brings out a manic side to my packing planning that may just verge on crazy-armageddon-prepper-territory.
I fully blame the news for this. Every few months there seems to be a story about a poop cruise, a norovirus cruise, a stranded cruise, or some other cruise ship disaster. And then, right after we booked this cruise, ALL THE STORIES came out about how Seattle is essentially a ticking time bomb just waiting to be crushed by a monster earthquake.
So, when putting together this cruise packing list, I thought it prudent to add in a few extra items. In addition to the variety of clothes and toiletries that all travelers usually take, we’ll also be packing:
- A can of Lysol – Some people take the grocery-store variety Clorox Wipes thinking these will save them from the norovirus. But here’s a twist for you: regular Clorox wipes don’t actually contain Clorox bleach – they just contain alcohol, which isn’t enough to kill norovirus. As soon as we get to our room, I spray down all the surfaces and doorhandles, just in case.
- Whistles and LED keychains on our backpacks – If “the big one” really does hit Seattle while we’re in port, the biggest initial risk comes from falling buildings and debris. (If a tsunami strikes while you’re trapped, well…at least you’ll go quick.) But if you find yourself alive but inaccessible, then these two small, cheap gadgets could just alert a rescue crew to your whereabouts…and they take zero extra space in your luggage. Plus…don’t act like you didn’t see the end of Titanic. Yay for whistles.
- A comprehensive first aid kit – The dinky first aid kits you find at the supermarket have a couple band aids and alcohol wipes, and maybe a few aspirin if you’re lucky. You’re protected from a paper cut, but not much worse. My cruise first aid kit includes a variety of bandages, gauze, antiseptic ointment and tape; Advil; naproxen sodium; Benadryl, Claritin and Flonase; Dayquil; Immodium AD, Tums, Pepto Bismol, and motion-sickness wristbands. There’s no pharmacy at sea, and a trip to the ship’s doctor can set you back several hundred bucks, not to mention result in you being quarantined to your cabin if he thinks you might have something contagious. I’d rather have my own medicine cabinet available if necessary.
- Battery-Powered Headlamps – Although we have a balcony room, if our cruise ship was to lose power or have some other problem at night, we’d likely find ourselves traversing through window-less hallways and staircases. The headlamps we take camping are small, LED-powered devices that take up virtually no space to also throw in the cruise suitcases. Seems like a given.
- Collapsible Water Bottles and Iodine Tablets – These bottles are so useful, they can hardly even be considered “emergency” gear. We’ll take them on shore excursions, drink from them overnight instead of the teensy hotel room water glasses, etc. But if we were to get lost while hiking on one of our shore excursions and/or there was a problem with the ship’s water system, we’ve got at least 3 days of drinkable water at our disposal. And since they’re collapsible, they also take up nearly no extra space.
So that’s it. Am I a crazy prepper? Maybe. What are the odds that we’ll actually *need* any of this stuff? About the same as us striking it rich in the on-board casino. But knowing that we’re not completely helpless should the worst case scenario hit lets me be a little more relaxed while on our vacation. If that makes me nuts…well…I’m ok with that.