Note: This article is sponsored by CruisePaks. We were recently sent a kit to review on a cruise and our experience below actually happened.
For what seemed like the tenth time on the trip, Chris reached into his backpack to make sure he had his car keys. When you’re used to having your keys in your pocket, storing them in your backpack during a cruise can make you feel like you’ve forgotten them somewhere.
This time we happened to be rushing into the Orlando airport. After a three-day cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas, my friend and I were headed back home and running late. A long wait at lunch meant we only had a few minutes until boarding our plane.
As he checked for his keys, he barely felt the cut. Something sharp in his bag had nicked his finger.
It wasn’t until the blood started to come — first a couple of drops and then a steady drip — that he realized he had a serious cut.
It turned out that his shaving razor was in the same pocket as his car keys. By reaching in blindly, he cut his middle finger. With the razor so sharp, he hardly felt the slice despite it being deep.
Now we had to figure out what to do. The first thought was to run through the airport looking for a first-aid station. There was no telling how long that would take, especially when we were already running late. That meant the risk of missing our flight.
Then I remembered that I had brought along a CruisePaks.
What Is a CruisePaks?
Check out any cruise packing list, and you’re going to see that it’s smart to bring along some first-aid and comfort items. Things like bug spray, band-aids, seasickness pills, ibuprofen, and more are all essential to bring on your cruise.
Frankly, we suggest that cruise passengers bring along as much as they can to prepare for any situation.
Why bring so much? First, you never know exactly what you’ll run into on a cruise. It could be a sunburn or an upset stomach (or maybe you accidentally cut your finger headed to the airport). With the ship being in the middle of the ocean, it’s tough to go out and grab what you need. It’s smart to instead bring it with you.
Second, every ship will have a small store where you can pick up items like pain relievers, sunscreen, and the like. The issue is that these things are expensive.
We’ve seen prices as high as $17 for a bottle of DayQuil on a cruise. Meanwhile, if you have something come up when the stores are closed, your only option is to visit the ship’s medical center.
This is where the CruisePaks are invaluable.
The pack is a first-aid kit, but so much more. Designed with cruise passengers in mind, it comes with dozens of things to cover nearly any situation you might encounter on a cruise.
Have a headache? There are pain relievers. Upset stomach? You’re covered. Chapped lips? There’s lip balm. Get caught in a rainstorm? The CruisePaks has emergency ponchos. It even has a sewing kit in case you lose a button. Each pack has hundreds of things in one convenient kit, designed to cover nearly any situation.
What’s Included in a CruisePaks
All told, the CruisePaks comes in two sizes — the “Basic” kit with 150 pieces and the “Deluxe” kit with 250 pieces.
Here’s everything included in the Deluxe CruisePaks that we brought on our trip:
- Scissors (1 pair), Strip Bandage (8 bandages), Knuckle Bandage (8), Patch Bandage (8), Spot Bandage (8), Elastic Bandage (1), Gauze Pads (4), Nitrile Gloves (2), Eye Wash (1),Thermometer (4), Large Rain Poncho (2), Safety Pins (4), Sting Relief Wipes (8), Antiseptic Wipes (8), Insect Repellent (8), Sunscreen (8), Hand Sanitizer (8), Hydrocortisone Cream (8), Triple Antibiotic Ointment (8), Oral Pain Relief (8), Lip Balm (8), Surface Disinfectant Wipes (2), Bug-X (5), Skin Lotion (6), Vomit Bag (2), Ear Plugs (2 sets), Splinter Outs (4), Burn Gel (6), Pen Light (1), Device Wipes (4), Lens Cleaner (4), Sewing Kit (2)
- I-Prin 2/Pack (6 packs), APAP Extra Strength 2/Pack (6), Cramp Tabs 2/Pack (6)
- Decorel Forte Plus 2/Pack (6), Medikoff Drops (8), CCP 2/Pack( 6), Diphen 1/Pack (6), Chlorphen 1/Pack (6)
- Alcalak 2/Pack (6), Diotame 2/Pack (6), Diamode 2/Pack (6)
Energy & Recovery:
Medi-Lyte 2/Pack (8), Medi-Meclizine (Motion Sickness) (8), Energy Drink Mix (4)
The kit also comes in a carrying bag that’s the perfect size for tossing in a suitcase. Despite packing in a lot, the bag doesn’t take up a lot of room.
We also liked is that you get a little bit of everything, all in self-contained packages. If you were to go buy all of the items in the CruisePaks they’d come with tons of extra packaging that takes up a lot of space. With individual packs, you save a ton of room.
What it Costs
As we mentioned, CruisePaks sell two different options on their website. The Basic kit runs $49.99, and the Deluxe kit is $69.95.
We’ll be honest, at first we were surprised by the price as it seemed a little high. But once we got the kit, we started to do the math. Even if you were to make your own kit at the drugstore (instead of buying the pricey items on the ship), you’re still saving a bundle.
A small bottle of generic ibuprofen costs $3.50 at Walgreens. A single rain poncho costs $2 (the CruisePaks has two). Upset stomach? You’ll spend $5-6 on pills for that. Toothache? It will cost you $8-10 for Orajel. Motion sickness? Expect to spend $4-5 on pills. Even a box of bandages will cost you $5-6.
It’s easy to see how the cost of putting together everything this kit offers would quickly add up to more than you’d spend on a single CruisePaks.
But where we think the value really comes from is that the contents of the CruisePaks cover so many different situations — including those you might not think about on a cruise. With such a varied lineup of items, you’ve ready for practically any situation with one purchase.
As a bonus you can store it in your cabinet at home after your cruise to always have a first-aid kit ready.
Using the CruisePaks on Our Cruise
During our short cruise, we found ourselves digging into the bag multiple times. At one point we needed some ibuprofen to knock out a headache from spending too much time in the sun. Another time the included lip balm came in handy.
But where we had the biggest benefit was when our friend cut his finger right as we entered the airport to get back home. Instead of having to head to a first-aid station – and potentially miss our flight — we found a bench outside and opened up the CruisePaks.
We had everything we needed to get all patched up, including plenty of gauze, a huge assortment of bandages, and disinfecting wipes to clean the wound. Within a matter a minutes we were able to get the cut cleaned up and bandaged, with time to still get through security and catch our flight.
We didn’t plan to have to use the kit like this, but it sure made us happy to have it. That’s why we don’t plan to cruise without it, just in case something else unexpected comes up.
More Questions & Answers
Can I Take the CruisePaks Through Airport Security?
We had no problem taking the pack through security. Despite all the medications, they are in pill form and the things that are liquids like lip balm, ointment for burns, etc. are all in small pouches.
The kit does contain a small set of scissors, but these weren’t an issue for us. If you are worried about them being flagged by security, you could easily take them out ahead of time.
What If I Run Out of Something in the CruisePaks?
It’s inevitable that some things are going to be used faster than others in your CruisePaks. Usually there are more of the items that you’ll use a lot of (such as pain relievers), but even so you might run out of an item or two.
In that case you can pick up replacements at the local drugstore, or CruisePaks actually sells refill packs on their website.
What’s the Difference Between the Basic CruisePaks and the Deluxe Kit?
For most items there are a lot of similarities between the Basic and the Deluxe packs. However, the Deluxe pack has a few more of many things like pain relievers and other medications. If you are traveling solo or as a couple, we think the Basic set would be plenty. Those traveling with more people or families will do well with the Deluxe kit.
As well, all of the following are included in the Deluxe kit that aren’t found in the Basic bag:
Surface Disinfectant Wipes (2), Bug-X (5), Skin Lotion (6), Vomit Bag (2), Ear Plugs (2 sets), Splinter Outs (4), Burn Gel (6), Pen Light (1), Device Wipes (4), Lens Cleaner (4), Sewing Kit (2).