Wednesday, February 11, 2015

*Tent on Wheels ON WATER* Just-in Case Cruise Bag

So, being the daughter of an Eagle Scout, there are two words I've come to live by: Be Prepared.  You could ask my colleagues, the groups I go camping with - even RDB - and all of them would tell you: if you needed something, and asked me, chances are I'll have whatever it is you need stashed somewhere nearby.  I've said before, with my briefcase and what's hidden in the back of my car, Bear Grills ain't got nothing on me!

So, it'a not surprising that I've applied that same 'be prepared' motto to cruising, and after scouring the forums on Cruise Critics, Facebook, and asking Uncle Google, I've come up with a lengthy list of items to take, and have packed them into what I call a Just-In Case bag.  It's about 12"x8"x4" - so it doesn't take up too much space when we pack.

After cruising this past trip, I've put in bold and underlined the things we did use.  So you can get an idea of what was and was not needed or useful on this trip.

The Just-In Case Bag Contents:
Power cord - cabins are notorious for only having one outlet
Bungee Cord - to hold open the balcony door, use as a clothes line
Hand Sanitizer
Glade Car Air-freshener - hang it in the bathroom, well, for obvious reasons
Clothes Pins - to hold down the clingy shower curtain, hang clothes, clasp the window curtains together to block light on an afternoon nap, etc
Large Chip Clips with magnet on back - to hold Fun Times, paperstuff, etc on the metal wall
Light weight draw-string bag  - for an off-the-ship backpack
Earplugs - for the noisy, but well intentioned roommate
Safety Pins
Magnets - to post things to the walls (the ship is nearly all metal) Wish I had packed a few more of these
Small sewing kit
Lanyards - to hold your Sign-and-Sail card (your room key) The Guest Service desk can punch a hole in the card for you
Highlighters - to mark activities on the daily FunTimes
Post-it Notes - to leave notes for friends/family, or your room steward
Old Hotel Key Card - newer ships have an electricity saving device that requires you to leave a card key (your Sign-and-Sail, preferably) to keep the lights on in the cabin. 
Another Hotel Key Card - for your room safe 'key'
Various sizes of ziplock baggies - for a various number of reasons!
Wrinkle Releaser
Single-load Tide Detergent
Set of 5 Dice (for games!)
Over the door shoe holder - truely is the most useful thing we brought (to corral all the little stuff)
Large manilla envelope with a piece of cardboard inside to hold photos we buy (not in the bag, but will be in the suitcase)
Wish I had brought: a Wine Bottle Opener - Our last cruise Carnival gave us one to keep, this cruise, we had to keep asking our room steward or room service to borrow one.

Included in my Justin Case are two smaller bags, so that I can throw them in my backpack when we head off the ship for excursions.  One is a First Aide kit, the other I call an Off the Ship kit.  Once again in this list, I'll put in bold and underlined the things we used.  

First Aid Kit Contents:
        Alcohol swabs
        Various sizes of Band-aides
        Bonine (I took it two nights and it gave me nightsweats - I stopped using it and was fine)
        Pep-to Tablets
        Anti-Diarrheal tabs
        Gin-Gins: ginger candies for nausea
        Cough Drops
        Vitamin C packets
        Aloe Vera Gel

Off-the-Boat Kit Contents:
        Baby Powder (to remove sand)
        Light-weight draw-string bag
        Compact roll of Toilet Paper - you never know!
        Small Sewing Kit
        Safety Pins
        Pencil with aprox. 2' of duct tape wrapped around it
        Sunglasses lanyard

So, did I take more than I needed? Certainly, yes.  Would I have changed any of that? Nope, not at all.  The whole thing didn't take up much more space in my suitcase than a pair of workout shoes would have (and since I wore my tennis shoes boarding the boat, I cut down on what I needed to pack in there anyway.  5-4-3-2-1, ya'll, it works!)

Besides, being (over)prepared means that if the big boots in Cozumel give you a blister, it won't ruin your cruise!

Only picture I had with the back-pack (and the two kits inside)!

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