What tech can you buy for your cruise vacation that will enhance your trip?
When I tried out Apple's AirTags on a recent Royal Caribbean cruise, it opened my eyes to how certain gadgets can make the experience better. Whether it's peace of mind like tracking luggage or just supplementing the fun you're having, there are plenty of gadgets and add-ons to assist.
Despite my overall geekiness, I'm the first person to be leery of bringing more tech for the sake of tech on a cruise. I try to keep the amount of bulk down, so if something is going to require additional baggage or more effort to bring onboard, it had better make a real difference.
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With all of that in mind, here's my top picks for the best tech travel gadgets you should consider bringing on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
For years I've brought a portable charger with me on a cruise to ensure my phone doesn't run out of power.
Because there's such a greater need for phones to be used on a cruise, battery drainage seems to occur more quickly than ever before. Even compared to at home, I find myself using my phone more often.
Part of the reason is Royal Caribbean's shift to making its app far more critical than pre-2020. The other aspect is simply enjoying being online while lounging at the pool, or staying in contact with friends and family.
With my oldest daughter reaching the age where she has the opportunity for limited "free roaming" during the day, staying in contact with her via text message also takes a hit on my phone's battery usage.
I've always been a fan of Anker's product line for its svelte design, reasonable prices, and durable quality.
The Anker PowerCore 20 External Battery Pack provides enough power to charge an iPhone multiple times before it needs a charge.
Before I ever got noise-cancelling headphones, I foolishly thought there wasn't that big of a difference compared to regular headphones. I especially did not think it mattered to have them on a cruise ship.
I was very wrong.
Not only are noise-cancelling headphones useful outside of an airplane, they make a tremendous difference in being able to enjoy "me time" onboard a ship.
I really love putting them on when I'm on the pool deck so I can enjoy the breeze and sun while laying out in a lounger, without all the conversations, music, and noise you'd have to put up with around you.
Then of course there's the benefit these headphones have while travelling to and from your cruise. I just cannot imagine not having them these days.
For years, I've used and recommended the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless noise-cancelling headphones for over-the-ear comfort and unbeatable noise cancellation.
I know a lot of other people that prefer the Apple AirPods Pro because they offer noise cancelling without the heft and size.
When my wife told me she needed an e-reader in addition to her iPad, I didn't understand why until I saw the difference when we were on the pool deck.
If you're a reader, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is the best option to bring on a cruise so that you can read outdoors when the sun is shining overhead.
I cannot imagine going on a cruise today without an outlet extender.
Even if you cruise solo, the lack of outlets in a cabin is quite annoying. I recently tried the appropriately named "Cruise ship power strip" by Cruise On and was quite happy with how well it worked.
Read more: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked
It takes up one outlet space and offers 3 new outlets along with 2 USB plugs.
A few readers recommended getting an European Travel Plug Adapter instead or as well, since your cabin has those outlets too.
AirTags or Bluetooth tracker
Another item I've converted over to using are AirTags in my luggage.
The AirTag is a small, button-shaped tracking device that can be tracked using Bluetooth right alongside Apple devices in the Find My app.
A single AirTag will cost $29 and a 4-pack costs $99. If you have an Android phone, the Tile Pro costs $92.99.
While AirTags aren't GPS trackers that provide precise location information, they work well-enough to have an idea where your luggage happens to be, especially if you're playing the "is my luggage on the cruise ship yet" game.
Just like noise-cancelling headphones, AirTags will benefit you beyond just the cruise. Peace of mind that comes with being able to have an idea where your luggage is located is worth it.