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Top 5 things you can buy for a cruise that are totally not worth it

14 Jul 2020
Matt Hochberg

When it comes to planning a Royal Caribbean cruises, there are plenty of accessories and add-ons you can buy for a cruise vacation, including a few things that I think are simply not worth getting at all.

With so many different buying choices for a cruise, I wanted to highlight a few that I would never buy and explain why I do not think they are worth it.

RFID tags for luggage

One of the big trends in tech is leveraging Radio-frequency identification (RFID), which allows different devices to interact when in close proximity, and there is a new generation of RFID trackers created for luggage. (Affiliate link means I get commission. No extra cost to you)

The idea is you place a RFID tile in each luggage you have, and that way if your bags get lost in the transition from shore side to stateroom, you can track it down.

While this sounds like a neat idea, I feel it is ultimately unnecessary.  No one wants to lose luggage, but I think the chances are very, very low of that occurring and even when bags get delayed, they do eventually show up. 

Portable wireless hotspot

One of the most troublesome issues for families or large groups is how to communicate onboard. There are a variety of ways to stay connected while onboard, including some people that opt to buy a portable wireless hotspot to use your phone onboard.

The idea is this device allows you to connect your phone to these, and the device provides a less-expensive means of being able to place calls or use data wherever you go.

While mobile hot spots like this might work well in Europe, in the Caribbean, they are an expensive option that sporadically work with less than stellar performance.

Given the high price to get one initially (plus the per GB cost for data used), and the fact Royal Caribbean's WiFi is reasonably priced, I think this product is just not necessary.

Vacation clubs

Every so often, someone will mention to me saving money on booking cruises by buying into a vacation club.

Vacation clubs are similar to a timeshare, where you buy into the program with an initial price, and then pay dues for access to "discounts" on cruise vacations.

The saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't" holds true with this situation, because cruise pricing is pretty standard across the board. The idea anyone can offer deep discounts beyond what the cruise line is offering is simply not reality. While sometimes group space can bring prices down a bit, you do not need to buy into a vacation club to net lower prices.

Travel routers

A travel router is a portable device you can buy to simplify the process of connecting and managing devices on public Wi-Fi networks. It means the router connects to the WiFi, and then all of your devices can connect more easily, as well as boosting the WiFi signal around your stateroom.

Unfortunately, travel routers on cruise ships are most often used to bypass the device restrictions that Royal Caribbean establishes when you purchase a WiFi plan. 

In addition, Royal Caribbean has greatly simplified its WiFi to make signing on super easy with customizable usernames and passwords (instead of long PIN codes to remember).

Concealable flasks

Concealable flasks, cruise runners, or whatever you want to call them are products meant to sneak alcohol on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and they are not only something I would never buy, but they are flagrantly against the rules.

The idea is you fill these up with booze, and then can more easily sneak them on the cruise because you wear them inside your clothes so they cannot be detected by X-ray machines.

It should go without saying these are morally wrong, and I will go one step further by saying if you can afford to book a cruise, you can afford to buy drinks (or a drink package).  If you want to keep costs down, take advantage of some great strategies for drinking on the cheap while on your cruise.

Your thoughts

Have you bought any of these items? Is there something you can buy for a cruise that you think is not worth the cost? Share your experiences in the comments!