Personal Safety

Proof that Preparedness Doesn’t Take a Holiday



The Carnival Triumph is set to make a not so triumphant return in the early hours this morning.

The story of the engine fire that left more than 4000 passengers and crew-members adrift in the gulf of mexico has been all over the news this week.  With any luck the veritable voyage from hell will soon be over for all of those on board.

Unfortunately  I have a cruise scheduled to debark in just over two weeks and the messages coming from the passengers is not particularly helpful.

See these excerpts taken from the LA times and respectively.

“The messages from passengers on the Carnival Triumph, drifting in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine fire Sunday, came from text messages sent to family and friends. No one was injured in the fire but it left the ship without propulsion.

A tug boat reached the ship Monday and a second boat is expected to arrive Tuesday, with plans to pull the ship to Mobile, Alabama by Thursday, the cruise line said. The ship, departed Galveston last week with about 3,000 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members on a four-day cruise to Cozumel, an island off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Several text messages relayed from friends or relatives of Triumph passengers were printed on, a review site for cruise vacations.

The messages said the rooms are so hot without circulating air that some passengers were sleeping in tents on the deck.

The husband of a woman on the ship said he spoke to his wife Sunday by phone. “At the time I spoke to her, there were no toilets. They were using little red bags. And no running water, no lights, except emergency lighting.”

Others said family members reported that passengers were getting cranky and some were hoarding food.

Another text quoted a woman who joined three friends on the cruise. “She said it was already pretty miserable. No hot food and no alcohol being served. There was still ice being served in soft drinks. None of the shops were open.” ” View original article

” Not being able to sail, though, is just one of the problems. Issues with running water, scarce electricity and more contributed to headaches big and small, according to passengers and their loved ones.

Toby Barlow's wife Ann told him there was “sewage running down the walls and floors” with passengers being asked to defecate in bags and urinate in showers due to a lack of functioning toilets. Food lines ran 3½ hours long and some, like herself, slept outside to keep cool.

“Elderly and handicap(ped people) are struggling,” she texted her husband. “The smells are gross.”

Brent Nutt said his wife, Bethany — who is on board, and whom he talked to Sunday — reported similar problems.

“She said they had no power, no running water, and she said she hadn't been able to eat anything yet. Then you call the Carnival phone number for families, and they tell you that everything is all right,” Nutt told CNN.”  View the original article

It is situations like these that force you to realize that just because you're on vacation, does not mean that you can head out unprepared.

Do I think that the ship I am going to be on will have a fire or any other type of hazard that might cause issues like those above?

No, but then that's why they are called unforeseen circumstances.

Needless to say In addition to sunscreen, flip flops, and swim trunks My bags will be packed with the maximum allowable bottles of water and a good amount of snacks… possibly even a few freeze dried meals and ration bars.

Just FYI for anyone else who might be sailing on carnival soon; you are allowed to bring at maximum 20 canned or bottled beverages ( non alcoholic)  at a maximum of 20 oz per person.

I haven't been able to find any restrictions on snacks or food stuffs, so  I will pack as many as I can…. or as many as my wife will let me pack.

Does this sound paranoid to you?

How to best prepare for and deal when SHTF? Check out these articles to help you get started:

10 Disaster Preparedness Tips You Can Really Use

Emergency Preparedness Supplies: Introduction to Tourniquets

Medical Preparedness: Which Should You Store?

Continue Reading


  1. Quester55

    February 14, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Best to look before you leap. Carnival Cruse Lines, has been racking up some very bad points over the last few years.Everything from, ” water Filtration Systems breaking down to Engine Problems.
    If they didn’t know Better, you could almost think a Rival company was out to sabotage them.
    However, these days, you have as much risk staying home as you do being aboard one of these giants.
    Have fun & hope your ship don’t sink.

  2. Dan Walters

    February 14, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Over-reaction? Consider the following – Our Media does not thrive on news – they thrive on sensationalism! That means bad news and hyping up what it really happening and avoid reporting the positive aspects of any situation. So all we are hearing about is the drudge that the media will let through to make it look and feel like tragedy. Have they mentioned the heroism of the crew in battling the fire, have they mentioned how well the drew is working to make life tolerable or that the Captain has been continuously moving about the ship to calm people and give hope as well as shifting crew to areas where they can be more positive. Of course not.

    By nature I am a prepper and try to be ready – but more importantly I have not lost my sight of reality and the average american wimps that expect immediate gratification, live on shopping and being catered to and no tolerance or understanding for other peoples problems. I would guess that over half those on board are quietly getting by and not complaining, just taking it with a stoic attitude and looking forward to getting home. I feel for Carnival — and I too have a cruise booked in April for 15 days to Europe — and you know what — it will be better than ever because Carnival is an excellent Cruise Line that strives for customer satisfaction and will try to make it even better for those that stay loyal to them.

    Extra food would in a normal cruise would be like taking a hot dog to a steak buffet! Will Carnival allow this to happen again – my guess is no – they will go out of their way to inspect and insure that all is well prior to any future cruise. It would not hurt to be prepared but my guess is the odds are that you will just carry it home again.

    • Joe

      February 14, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      Bravo! Well put Dan. Thank you for your insight!

      And by the way…. Lucky dog!

      I looked at taking the 15 day transatlantic myself but I just couldn’t leave for that long.


      I have had nothing but great service from carnival as I believe I said in the article that this will be my 4th cruise with them.

    • ROG

      February 14, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      I agree. I wold also take a ‘doodie bag’ along just in case.

  3. Ron

    February 14, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Rather than carry water, you might just want to bring some soft sided water carriers, and empty bottles. Once you arrive on the ship fill them right away, might even want to bring small jar of bleach to ensure water’s safety or a camping filter. another useful item might be a soft bucket and cord, you can retrieve ocean water for the heads (toilets). Jar of P & J goes along way, can probably get bread on ship. A few cans of Tuna might do the trick as well. My 8 year old Nephew and I shared a room on a ship a few years ago, I let him order anything he wanted from room service after awhile we had quite a bit of food and drink stored away in the room because he aways got 2-3 boxes of ceral, fruit, bread, soda, etc….I think one morning he ordered everything on the menue.

    • Peter

      February 14, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      I’m with Ron. I’d bring water carriers and fill them when onboard. Collapsible containers flatten out to near nothing and stow well in luggage. And, you can provide gallons of water for yourself without overstepping the cruise restrictions. Probably a host of food from canned tuna (heavy) to some freeze dried stuff, even fun stuff like fruit, to break the boredom. Maybe even some hard candy, just for enjoyment. And, you might make some friends for bartering. Never know. Three days on peanut butter can be a killer. I’d also take, which I have with me all the time, camping biowipes or personal wipes. No showers or toilets can be a real stinker to deal with (ha), but being able to clean my face and “down below” can add a kick to my step. Those wipes don’t take up much room, either. A little bleach would be good. Perhaps a small first aid kit, too. I have one when I camp that’s in a fanny pack. Lip balm and other items might be perfect. How about a packable hammock? Lightweight and you can string it up on deck. Some 550 cord, too, 50 feet. Most of this stuff won’t take up much more room than small backpack. Just my .02.

    • Joe

      February 14, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Good call Ron!

  4. mike brzoska

    February 14, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I do not think you are paranoid at all! One suggestion: maybe a small water filter or filter tube? Nitro Pak has a McNet on sale this week for something less than 20 bucks. Good job on the blog abd good luck!

  5. JJM

    February 14, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Ron makes some great suggestions. Reminder we should take our BOB with us everywhere for the unforeseen.

    • Ron

      February 14, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Think a BOB might be over kill, most ships only have small shower, BOB might take up entire bathroom – LOL, But guess you can’t have enough fresh water at SEA. I was thinking of the typical camping 3-5 gallon containers.

  6. Jerry Roehrig

    February 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I’d go. We were on the Triumph lasy year with no problems (lucky?) –

    You can bring all the stuff you want.

    Also, I would thing that after a situation like this, all of the cruise lines will have reviewed their safety, etc. programs – nobody wants publicity like this. Just after an incident might be the best possible time to take a cruise!!!!!!!


  7. Doug

    February 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    I agree with Ron and Peter. In addition, you might want to purchase some Klenz Shower in a Towel. Amazon is just one site carrying them ( These things are fantastic. They’re 2′ by 4′ in size, and functions like a super-huge baby wipe. I used these on my trips to Haiti. They hold up really well, stay wet enough to scrub down your whole body, and practically do not dry out. I opened one up at our construction site to let our group wash our hands before lunch. After all, I was itching to see what they were like, and this seemed like as good of an excuse as any. 15 guys used it. Afterwards, I left it out, expecting it to dry up. Four hours later, it was still moist. Totally and pleasantly surprised. Once we got back to the house, we discovered we were out of water. Since we couldn’t shower, out came the towel packets. These are now a staple whenever I go on a trip, regardless of where it is.

  8. Ned

    February 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    It’s a difficult situation and all, but how are these passengers making it any better by whining about what is essentially and Act of God? They are still alive, the ship is still floating, and there isn’t a major storm coming up. On the even brighter side, they’re on a cruise ship floating in the Caribbean, it’s winter (cold) in North America, and their holidays (i.e. not at work) have been extended.
    They all need to just shut up and make the best of a bad situation.

  9. Barry Hall

    February 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    never ever leave home without a doall/swiss army knife of somekind. You can pack in checked baggage and it can save your butt in many different ways. Learned that by being in several hurricanes.

  10. Fred

    February 14, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    I am leaving on a cruise next week too! It’s always been a joke in the house when we start packing a couple of weeks in advance. I already have out my water jugs, filters, & steri pen, etc. Food is next… Thanks to the ideas from this site, my prepping for this cruise will now give us more piece of mind while on this adventure! Now… If I can just hide my stuff from the room steward!

  11. Kelly Keith

    February 14, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I’ve never been on a cruse ship. But I’ve been on many camping trips and theirs always some thing bad happing like falling through ice, spraining an ancle, cutting a leg with an axe,stuff happening all the time so it is best to be a good boy scout and be prepaired.

  12. Wynn O'Meara

    February 14, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I read many good posts, Something I am thinking about investing in for travel (motels,hotels cruises) would be one of those “smoke evacuation hoods” you can get that protect you from smoke long enough to crawl to an exit.

  13. Kay

    February 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    We leave Saturday for a cruise out of Galveston (not Carnival). I agree with Dan, the media is spinning it like crazy. I watched one segment and wanted to slap or shake the “newsman”. It was ridiculous. Pack a filter if you want and a few snacks. Don’t worry, have a blast.

  14. Glockgemini

    February 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    All the major cruise ship problems I have heard of have been on Carnival ships. The food is not as good as Norwegian, which is not as good as Royal Caribbean. They may have slightly bigger rooms and they have had the biggest bathrooms I have found but the mattresses are harder. The quality of amenities and entertainment is the least of all the lines.

  15. DHConner

    February 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    HELL NO!!!

    This exadtly why I would never get on a big cruise ship. Most of the employees are people who do not necessarily share our American values. Why on earth would anybody want to get on a ship to be with 4,000 other Americans? If the peupose of the tip is to disover other cultures and not be surrounded by the very same people (culturally)you left behind at home, why not just slip into some sandals, shorts, shirt and sit on the patio and get on with the party? If you really want something different, tale a trip on a freighter? You’ll see places the cruise ships don’t go, get a taste of the non-cruise parts of wherever you dock, and have time to get to know the seamen. And it’s a lot cheaper than some stateroom buried 100 feet below sea level.
    o, you ain’t crazy–the people who waste $thousands on some “burped and diapered” trip are the bug cases. Oh, they may be very sucessful in other parts of their lives, but I’d rather “live in the economy” as an old friend told me long ago. I don’t care to be met by hordes of prostitutes and drug dealers as is the case in Jamaica. I just want to see how peope manage their daily lives, without some tour director sheparding me around like a lost pup.


    March 14, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Don’t forget the toilet paper. In fact, paper towels serve the same purpose and have more uses. A bottle of olive oil can fuel an improvised lamp and boil water in a soda can if you need to. Alcohol is a fuel for heating and for cleaning your body when there are no showers, but alcohol is no good for lighting. An LED flashlight is good to have. Attach it to a lenght of paracord, and you have a deadly weapon… And a portable radio is a good idea, shortwave is best, but even ordinary AM radio travels long distances at night, and it is easy to add an antenna to get weaker signals. Brush up on your spanish, learn morse code, and you will have a better idea what is REALLY going on. You can’t trust authorities!

    Wife wants to go on a cruise. I will go prepared for a long swim in cold water!

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