8 Things to Pack in Case of a Cruise Emergency

Going on a cruise can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, but it is important to be prepared for an emergency when onboard. While unexpected snags aren’t very common and help normally arrives in a timely manner when they do happen, cruise-goers and cruise lines have no way to predict unforeseen ship issues and bad weather conditions. When you’re packing your bags for your offshore vacation, be sure to read the following list of eight things to pack or bring in case of a cruise emergency. 

Backup Lighting

While power outages on a cruise ship don’t happen too often, it is best to be prepared for one anyway. Many cruise goers pack flashlights in their bags, which is a wise move, but you also may want to take a headlamp or a battery- or solar-powered lantern instead. A headlamp is obviously hands-free and allows you to maneuver around with a lot of light ahead of you. Many lanterns or similar devices available on the market today can provide enough light to illuminate an entire cruise cabin, so it is worth looking into these before just taking a handheld flashlight. 

Survival Rations

As mentioned, power outages on a cruise ship are no joke, and you’ll want to have some extra food in your luggage just in case the kitchen (or awesome buffet) is out of order for a while. While you probably don’t need to be taking weeks’ worth of survival food, having some extra packages of things like dried fruits, nuts, and granola bars are normally popular picks for rations. Peanut butter and proteins like beef jerky can also be good choices, but ultimately be sure you take enough water, as this is the most important thing you might need. 

A personal water filter is also a great item to take on a cruise in case there’s trouble. They’re small, easy to use, and can clean pretty much anything out of water to make it safe to drink.

Charging Technology

Of course, your phone may not work in the middle of the ocean, but if you are in need of help in an area where you do have service, having a phone run out of battery can be a real bummer. It is always wise to take some sort of external charger or battery pack, and you can also look for a solar-powered charging device that can charge itself while you relax in the sun on the deck during the day. Many of us feel quite lost without our phones and other devices, so having backup power options is a necessity if you are going on a cruise.


Insurance of all kinds is critical to have these days, and cruise insurance is no different. While many plans include the same kinds of things normal travel insurance does such as lost luggage, basic medical coverage, and cancellations, they also may include things like missed port landings due to weather or other unfortunate circumstances and being confined to your cabin in case of an illness. Many policies also allow you to obtain insurance for activities that could be viewed as dangerous, such as skydiving and cliff jumping. 

Keep in mind that it can be quite difficult to give an estimate on how much cruise insurance may cost for you, and it’s best to do some research to find the most comprehensive coverage at the best price for your situation. Prices vary based on your age, the cost of the cruise, your destination, and how long you will be on the ship. Medical coverage for cruise insurance is often higher than that of normal travel insurance, as getting medical care at sea can be much pricier, especially if you or someone you’re traveling with has to be airlifted off the ship. It’s much easier to find just the coverage you need (and not overpay) by using an insurance broker like Aardy.  

Choose From Over 30 Travel Insurance Policies To Find Your Best Option

Sanitizers and Disinfectants

It is an extremely good idea to take some sort of sanitizer and disinfectant on your cruise. You’ll be in contact with a lot of other people and shared spaces, so you’ll want to be sure to stay clean and safe. Cruise ships are notorious for having higher rates of noroviruses, so keeping your hands clean can protect you from a cruise-ruining illness. Of course, having things like baby wipes and waste disposal bags can be useful in the event that the showers and toilets stop working. 


Of course, any time you travel, you should definitely take extra doses of any prescription medications you take in case you’re away from home longer than expected. Most people take at least a week’s worth of extra medication, whereas others prefer to take two weeks’ worth or even a month. While most cruise ships have shops that sell over-the-counter medications (OTCs), they can be really pricey compared to your local drug store. Therefore, you’ll also want to take some OTC medications with you such as ibuprofen and antibiotic gel. You can find great, compact first aid kits that are inexpensive and come full of emergency supplies and OTC medications. 


Most people traveling on a cruise ship will take their passports with them, but even if you’re going to various ports that don’t require one, it’s a good idea to take yours with you anyway. Emergencies can sometimes cause cruise ships to divert to another country that would require a passport in order for you to get home, so you’ll want to save yourself the hassle of trying to return home without it. You can find many compact passport protector cases and sleeves on the market if you’d prefer to keep it stashed and hidden in your luggage during your trip. 

Extra Clothing

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to take some extra clothing on your cruise. While you don’t need to go overboard with this (pun intended), you should at least pack some extra underwear. Lucky for us, many of us already pack way too much underwear, but it is a good idea anyway just in case you get stranded on the ship for a few extra days. Also consider taking extra socks, sweatshirts/jackets, and pajamas in the event that the ship loses heat or it’s just cold in general. Most importantly, have fun on your cruise! 

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