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The appeal of cruising is that you don’t have to worry about a thing. Your bed’s turned down, your meals are paid for, and everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips… unless something goes wrong.

Remember when the Carnival Triumph lost power after an engine fire on a 2010 cruise? Its passengers were left without air conditioning or working toilets for days. During a cruise ship emergency, passengers can’t expect to receive anything more than basic amenities. Protect yourself and pack smart with this cruise ship emergency prep list.

Flashlights and glow sticks:

Passengers aboard cruise ships that lost power report being frightened and disoriented in lightless cabins and hallways. Pack at least one flashlight with extra batteries, so you won’t be left in the dark. Glow sticks – available for cheap at dollar stores – are a simple and safe way to light your cabin and identify traveling companions.

Emergency whistles:

While we hope you never find yourself bobbing in the North Atlantic like Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” a whistle can be lifesaving in any cruise ship emergency. They can help you attract rescuers’ attention or locate traveling companions in a chaotic situation.

Emergency cell phone charger:

In a cruise ship emergency, your communication options will be limited. Extend the battery life of your cell phone with an emergency charger, such as the compact Eton Red Cross cell phone charger, which works with a hand crank and includes a flashlight, or the Energizer instant charger for Micro USB phones. Do your research, however, because not all emergency chargers work with iPhones and other smartphones.

Over-the-counter medications:

The medications you take for granted in your home medicine cabinet can be invaluable should you experience a medical emergency on a cruise ship. These should include: anti-diarrheal medicine, pain relievers, cold and flu medicine. Also pack extra prescription medications in case your cruise ship becomes stranded or delayed.

Survival food and water:

While full MREs (meals ready to eat) may be overkill, extra food is a must-have in a cruise ship emergency. Bring small, calorie-dense snacks such as nuts, trail mix and energy bars. Bottled water is free aboard most cruise ships, so grab some extras at the beginning of your voyage and stash them in your stateroom.

Waste disposal bags:

During a cruise ship emergency like that experienced by the Splendor, the toilets stopped working, and some passengers reported sewage flooding the hallways. Bringing your own sanitary waste bags, such as Wag Bags, can make a terrible cruise experience just a little bit better.

Travel insurance:

A solid cruise insurance plan will cover you in case of trip interruptions or delays, a medical emergency on a cruise ship or other unforeseen catastrophes. Protect yourself and your travel investment with innovative travel insurance products by Allianz Global Assistance.

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