Category Archives: Articles

Recommendation: Get Luggage Tags for Your Next Cruise (smoother embarkation, less chance of delayed luggage!)

Generally speaking when you receive your cruise documents you’ll get printable luggage tags that need to be affixed when you drop your luggage off at the cruise terminal. These tell the cruise line staff where to deliver your luggage on the ship and are different from standard bag tags that you would use for flying.

What you’re supposed to do is fold the paper in a certain way and then staple or fold them.

That means you have to pack… tape or a stapler. AND… mess around with taping or stapling when you just want to get to your cruise.

Beyond that, I don’t think this is a very stable way of securing these tags and I’m guessing they fall off on a regular basis. Ever met someone who got their luggage delivered three days into the cruise?

A more secure option that makes embarkation day easier

I highly recommend cruise luggage tag holders. These are sturdier and more secure than tape or staples. They also keep your tags dry (and readable) in the event of rain.

Because your tags are much more likely to stay on, you’re less likely to have delayed luggage on the ship.

Size of these varies based on cruise line. Look for one that’s compatible with your cruise line.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.


How I use cruise luggage tags

Before printing the tags (on a color printer if available) I edit the PDF file I receive from the cruise line using a PDF editor and add my name in the guest name area. Of course, you can just write this on the tag, but it makes the end result a lot neater, because of my poor handwriting 🙂

I quickly ignore any directions that say “fold do not cut” 🙂 and trim the paper so that just the tag portion is left. You could certainly fold like the directions suggest, but it’s not really necessary since the tag holder protects the tag. Trimming also makes it easier to slip the paper into the tag holder.

I print and assemble several bag tags before leaving on the cruise

Cruise luggage tags on my Travelpro Maxlite 5 on embarkation day before a cruise!

If you’re flying to your embarkation port I don’t recommend putting cruise tags on your luggage until after your flight. That’s especially true if you’re taping and stapling vs using luggage tags. Luggage tag holders would probably make the flight okay, but, to me, there’s no sense subjecting these to the wear and tear of airline luggage handling.

Day of embarkation or the night before I pull the tags out and place on all bags that we’ll check with porters at the cruise line terminal.

What happens if I don’t have luggage tags when I check bags in at the cruise terminal?

Typically you can ask a porter for help. They have tags that they can manually write out. This is a nice backup, but… pre-printed luggage tags in tag holders are the way to go.

When will I receive luggage tags for Guarantee Cabins

Because guarantee cabins aren’t assigned at the time of booking you may not receive tags with your cruise documents.

My recommendation is to check for cabin assignment a day or two before leaving on your cruise. If your cabin has been assigned, contact your cruise line and ask them to re-issue your cruise documents so you can print out your actual tags.

It seems like most guarantee cabins are assigned within a few days of the cruise, so most of the time you should be able to get updated luggage tags. But, sometimes these are assigned at the very last minute. In that case your only option is to get tags from porters at check in.

Related: Customized Luggage Tags (different from cruise luggage tags)!

Personalized Metal Luggage Tags with Stainless Steel Wire Loops Pack of 4

Personalized Metal Luggage Tags with Stainless Steel Wire Loops

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Personalized Luggage Tags by PlinChiako: Let us customize your luggage tag with your details and worry no more that your luggage will get lost. Our luggage tags are LASER-ENGRAVED that never fades.
  • Customized Luggage Tags for Suitcases: These luggage tags are made of high-end Anodized Aluminum (3.5 x 2 inches), thick, durable, rust-proof, and reusable multiple times.
  • Luggage Tag Engraved: We utilize laser engraving to ensure that our luggage tags are non-fade and offer them with Stainless Steel loops that keep them firmly attached to your luggage.
  • Cute Luggage Tag: Our luggage tags are available in different designs, in 6 modern colors, and come with stainless steel wire loop. Choose the style you prefer, enter your information, and let us personalize your luggage tag.
  • We are proud to be a Canadian family-owned and operated business.

 

personalized luggage tags

When it came time to replace luggage tags I decided to look for personalized options and landed on these. I’m very happy with them. Since they’re metal they’re heavy duty compared to all the other luggage tags I’ve used. They also come with beefy stainless steel loops to affix them on your luggage. Beyond choosing the color of the tags themselves you can choose the color of the wire loops and you can have them print your name on both sides of the tag.

I went with a 4 pack of blue for easy visibility and had them print my info on both sides. I did not put my address, because… I may move before I have to replace these. Instead I opted for last name, email and phone number.

Personalized Metal Luggage Tags with Stainless Steel Wire Loops Pack of 4 – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

What size luggage should I take on my cruise?

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

FREE… Royal Caribbean Perfect Day at CocoCay Phone Wallpaper

My iPhone 15 in Pelican’s IP68 Waterproof Phone Case

On one of my recent Royal Caribbean Cruises we visited CocoCay which is one of our favorite spots. It’s a beautiful island and such an easy beach day. I snapped some pictures from our balcony and one of them ended up making a great phone wallpaper. You can see it on my iPhone 15 above.

I’m making a high resolution version of the photo available to Cruise Packing List readers.

Royal Caribbean Perfect Day at CocoCay Phone Wallpaper

perfect day cococay phone wallpaper

Related: Royal Caribbean Luggage Tags

Cruise Luggage Tags for Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruise Essentials in 2023-2024

I highly recommend cruise luggage tag holders. These are sturdier and more secure than tape or staples. Having these also means you don’t need to carry along… tape or staples. These also keep your tags dry (and readable) in the event of rain. Because your tags are more likely to stay on, you’re less likely to have delayed luggage on the ship. Size of these varies based on cruise line. Look for one that’s compatible with your cruise line tags.

Cruise Luggage Tags for Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruise Essentials in 2023-2024 – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.

Hands on Review: TESSAN International Power Plug with USB… Use the 220 Outlet on Your Next Cruise!

Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

Hands on Review: TESSAN International Power Plug with USB… Use the 220 Outlet on Your Next Cruise!

 

Many cruise cabins have a common problem… lack of outlets. This has generally gotten better with newer ships, but can still be an issue. Even newer ships that have more cabin outlets, the outlets can be placed in such a way as to limit their usability. If two outlets are too close together… you can only use one.

To accommodate European travelers cruise lines will often include one or more 220 volt outlets. If you’re used to using three prong 120 volt electronics this outlet will most likely go unused.

One way to stretch out the outlets on your next cruise is to… use the 220 volt outlet.

This is a hands on look at the Tessan Type C Outlet Adapter with USB Ports

This adapter will allow you to make use of a European Type C outlet on your next cruise! Note that this is not a voltage converter. Many electronics are designed to operate in the 220 volt range.


Check Current Price & Availability:


A look at the box. As the box indicates this is a Type C Adapter. This is the outlet style that is in most cruise ship cabins.

Out of the box

Mine came with a sticker over the outlet with some important information…. “This adapter does not convert voltage. AC devices must support dual voltage 100-250V. Check from your device surface or label, especially hair dryer, curling iron, CPAP machine.”

Voltage adapters are generally compact and reasonably priced. Adapters only adapt the plug. They do not convert 220v to 120v. Voltage converters actually step down voltage from 220v to 120v. Those are generally bulkier and more expensive.

A 120v device (only) device will not work on a 220v outlet with an adapter, but… many of your devices may actually be rated for both 120v and 220v.


Related:

Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


A look at the front of the adapter. It sports a three prong North American style outlet and two USB ports. When it comes to USB devices this adapter steps down and converts power and should work with most USB devices.

This is the adapter on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas. Adventure only offers two x 120 volt outlets and 0 USB ports. The 220 outlet is to the right right side of the desk in our Jr Suite Stateroom.

The type C Adapter fits perfectly in the outlet

Close up

This is my 4 in 1 cable plugged into the adapter. This cable has been very helpful since I upgraded to iPhone 15 with USB C charging port. Since some of my devices still use Lightning style ports, this cable allows me to change all of my iOS devices (and more) with a single cable. It goes from USB A or USB C to Lightning or USB C. Whammo!  This is my smaller cable that I essentially keep as a backup. I also have a 3 foot cable and a 5 foot cable.

With my laptop charger, iPhone and iPad plugged in

How can you tell if your device will work with an adapter? Many devices are actually setup to use either voltage. As an example take a look at this laptop power charger. It’s designed to accept 100 volts up to 240 volts.

Side view

The Tessan Adapter installed on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas

The Tessan Adapter installed on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

Tessan also makes a double outlet adapter. Here’s that installed on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

Conclusions

This is a relatively cheap upgrade that makes cabin life easier. It has become a must-pack item for all our cruises. Utilizing the European style outlet seems like magic. Just make sure that your devices support dual voltage which is an easy thing to do.

Check Current Price & Availability:

What Are Other’s Saying?

Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “cruise” – may include reviews for other sizes or variations

More Photos

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.

Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

Pictured: European Travel Plug Adapter, TESSAN International Power Plug with 2 USB, Type C Outlet Adaptor Charger for US to Most of Europe EU Iceland Spain Italy France Germany – See: Hands on Review: TESSAN International Power Plug with USB

Lack of power solutions in cruise ship cabins

Many cruise cabins have a common problem… lack of outlets. This has generally gotten better with newer ships, but can still be an issue. Even newer ships that have more cabin outlets, the outlets can be placed in such a way as to limit their usability. If two outlets are too close together… you can only use one.

To accommodate European travelers cruise lines will often include one or more 220 volt outlets. If you’re used to using three prong 120 volt electronics this outlet will most likely go unused.

One way to stretch out the outlets on your next cruise is to… use the 220 volt outlet.

What style is the 220 volt outlet on cruise ships?

European Type C seems to be the standard style on cruise ships. This may vary, but it seems to be fairly standard.

Voltage Adapters vs Voltage Converters

Voltage adapters are generally compact and reasonably priced. Adapters only adapt the plug. They do not convert 220v to 120v. Voltage converters actually step down voltage from 220v to 120v. Those are generally bulkier and more expensive.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Will my 120v devices work with an adapter?

A 120v device (only) device will not work on a 220v outlet with an adapter, but… many of your devices may actually be rated for both 120v and 220v…

Dual Voltage and World Wide Voltage

Many devices are actually setup to use either voltage. As an example take a look at this laptop power charger. It’s designed to accept 100 volts up to 240 volts.

Another example, as of this writing… “Apple USB power adapters are designed for use with power sources rated to provide 100V AC to 240V AC at 50Hz to 60Hz.” via About Apple USB Power Adapters

Another example Anker’s model A9123 which I own and use on cruises. It is designed to accept 100 volts up to 240 volts.

Many three prong devices are designed to work at a range of voltages including 220v. Those devices will work with an outlet adapter. As three prong cord users we just don’t think about it much. To see if your device is compatible with 220v check the label, product specifications or ask the manufacturer.

What about USB?

220v adapters that have USB ports should step down power to provide USB range DC power.

Example – This USB charger accepts 100-240V AC input and outputs DC 5V

Some Adapters and Devices to Consider:

Related… Hands on Review: TESSAN International Power Plug with USB

Product specifications can change. Double check your product before use.

For lots more about cruise packing including some solutions for the outlet problem check out our complete packing list.

All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions. top:220 tag:tpr

What Power Outlets Are Available on Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas?

Wondering what power outlets are available on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas? This post has you covered. These are the outlets and USB ports that were in our Ocean View Balcony stateroom. I’m assuming setup is similar for all balcony and interior cabins and also assuming that suites will have a different setup.

The desk area has a 220 outlet, two USB ports and two three prong North American style outlets. Here you can see the 220 outlet with a dual outlet power adapter with USB

Related: Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

Continue reading

Setting Up Your Own Wireless WiFi Hotspot on Your Next Cruise!

But First… Read Cruise Lines Terms and Conditions

This article will walk you through options for creating your own WiFI hot spot on your next cruise. That can save you some money and make things a little easier around the cabin. You should also ask… can I do this? When you sign up or sign into your cruise line’s WiFi you will be presented with terms and conditions. I suggest reading through those to see if this is allowed or prohibited. This is going to vary by cruise line.

Next… What Are We Doing Again?

Setting up your own WiFi hot spot allows you to have your own mini network. You purchase an internet plan, setup a WiFi hot spot and then share that connection with other devices. The technologies used to do this will result in a small network that will be available in or very near your cabin. These solutions will not give you access throughout the entire ship.

Option 1: Travel Router

Travel routers are generally small devices that allow you to create a small Wi-Fi network.

The problem with traditional Wi-Fi routers is that they don’t know how to handle “captive networks”. Captive networks are networks that require you to log in before you can access the internet. Many publicly available WiFi networks are considered captive networks. That includes most hotels and cruise ships.

Travel routers are (or at least should be) designed to handle captive networks. You basically log in to the router through a web browser and then log into the captive network using the router’s settings.



Some Travel Router Options:

TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router(TL-WR902AC) - Support Multiple Modes, WiFi Router/Hotspot/Bridge/Range Extender/Access Point/Client Modes, Dual Band WiFi, 1 USB 2.0 Port

GL.iNet GL-SFT1200 (Opal) Secure Travel WiFi Router | AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Ethernet Wireless Internet | IPv6 USB 2.0 MU-MIMO DDR3 | 128MB Ram Repeater Bridge Access Point Mode

GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2(Mango) Portable Mini Travel Wireless Pocket VPN WiFi Router - Access Point/Extender/WDS | OpenWrt | 2 x Ethernet Ports | OpenVPN/Wireguard VPN | USB 2.0 | 128MB RAM

There are other options available  – search Amazon for “travel router” – look for something with good ratings and something that can handle captive networks. Specific mention of being compatible with hotel and cruise ship networks is also something I’d look for.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Option 2: Connectify Hot Spot

Connectify is a program that you install on your compatible Windows laptop. After it’s installed it runs in the background and shares the internet connection that your laptop is using. You handle the captive network business on your laptop browser, so Connectify doesn’t have to specifically handle that.

Set your laptop power plan to always on so the hot spot stays up and going.

Connectify Hot Spot

Other Options to Save on Internet on Your Next Cruise

  • Sometimes cruise lines offer free to discounted internet via their loyalty programs or in certain cabin categories.
  • Sharing a log in. Some cruise lines (I know this is the case for Royal Caribbean) allow you to log in and log out of devices. This allows you to use one account across multiple devices.
  • Get an international plan and access internet on port days.
  • You’re on vacation… don’t get on the internet. 🙂

What Else?

Got another great solution or tip for accessing Internet on cruises?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Related: Using Your Cell Phone Onboard with WiFi Calling!

wifi calling and cruise shipsMy iPhone with Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas Royal Promenade int eh Background. See “VZW Wi-Fi”

Related: Use the 220 Outlet on Your Next Cruise

Will My Phone Work on a Cruise Ship?

 

 

All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

All information provided is deemed accurate at time of publishing, but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. top:wifiap tag:tpr

Will My Phone Work on a Cruise Ship?

will my phone work on a cruise ship?

The short answer is… yes it will work. But that answer has some caveats.

Onboard Cellular

Most larger cruise ships have cellular capabilities. Ships have the equivalent of their own cell phone towers that provide service to people onboard and nearby. This is separate and different from Wi-Fi.

These towers are international no matter where the ship is. If you look on your cell phone carriers website for international coverage, many times cruise ships will be listed by names and show up alongside foreign countries.



Using Cruise Line Cellular

Using cruise line cellular for voice and data can be VERY expensive. Check with your carrier to be sure, but generally, it’s super expensive to use your cell phone (via cellular) on a cruise ship.

I know of no carrier that includes cruise ships in their international plans or international day plans. Example, Verizon’s TravelPass gets you unlimited international coverage in select countries for as little as $10 per day. That’s not available for cruise ships.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Voice and Data

Because of cost, I recommend against using cruise line for voice and data. It’s just too expensive. An internet package with Wi-Fi calling is much more cost effective. SMS messages are a potential exception to this recommendation. Keep reading for more on that.

Using Texts To Communicate While Onboard

While data and voice rates on cruise ships is generally very expensive, SMS messages are generally much more economical. If you’re looking for a way to communicate while onboard, this is an option. Check with your cellular provider to see how much text messages will cost.

Use Airplane Mode

If you choose to use cruise line cellular for voice and SMS. My recommendation is to ALWAYS turn data roaming off while onboard. Or better yet, use airplane mode.

I use airplane mode while on board and turn WiFI on. This allows me to access the Internet (with a package) and not worry about getting data roaming charges.

Full Phone Functionality with Wireless Internet… WiFi Calling!

If you purchase an Internet plan you can use many of the features of your phone like web browsing, social media, video and audio calling (Facetime, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, etc).

There are some activities that don’t work with an Internet only connection – standard voice calls and SMS messages (iMessages do work because they rely on Internet).

You can make standard voice calls and SMS work without a cellular connection by enabling WiFi Calling

With a compatible phone and an internet connection WiFi calling makes your phone think that it has a cell tower. This allows you to place voice calls and send text messages as if you had a regular tower,

I use this and it works REALLY well. I turn airplane mode on and connect to WiFi. Quality is at the mercy of the ship’s internet but in general it has worked great for me.

Again, it’s important to have data roaming turned off. I turn my phone to airplane mode, turn on and connect to WiFi and the phone activates WiFi calling.

See: Using Your Cell Phone Onboard with WiFi Calling! for lots more on WiFi calling

wifi calling and cruise shipsMy iPhone with Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas Royal Promenade int eh Background. See “VZW Wi-Fi”

Setting Up Your Own Wireless WiFi Hotspot on Your Next Cruise!

All information provided is deemed accurate at time of publishing, but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. top:willmyphonework tag:tpr

Cruise Port Days… Should You Take Your Passport Off The Ship?

WHALEZON 5 Pack Clear Passport Cover, Transparent Plastic Passport ProtectorPictured: WHALEZON 5 Pack Clear Passport Cover

Cruising with a Passport vs Birth Certificate?

Most cruise lines will allow you to sail with an official copy of your birth certificate and government issued photo ID if you’re a US citizen and you’re starting and ending your cruise from a US port. Add on a marriage license if your name has changed because of marriage. Double check with your cruise line for your specific itinerary and their policies.

Here’s the problem… If your trip doesn’t go as planned and you’re stuck in a foreign port, you cannot fly internationally with a birth certificate. You’ll be forced to find an embassy or consulate to resolve the issue.

A passport is superior to a birth certificate. Having a passport gives you lots more flexibility if you run into problems.

Should You Take Your Passport Off The Ship on Port Days?

I think the quick official answer is yes. You should keep your passport on your person when traveling in a foreign country. However, I did practice this for years.

I used to think… What are the odds that I’m not going to make it back on the ship vs the odds that I’m going to lose my passport?  Which is the bigger risk?  I normally decided that losing the passport was the bigger risk and left it in the room safe. This wasn’t a great situation.

I realized, we also bring our birth certificates and… as US citizens passports aren’t usually even checked upon re-entry. If you’re not a US citizen, you’re normally going to get back to your embarkation country to work it out from there. I also realized one of the fears that was keeping me from taking my passport to the beach wasn’t that it would get lost it was that it would get damaged. So I got a high quality waterproof pouch and now take our passports when we get off the ship. The only time I don’t take my passport off the ship with me is on private islands.

What About Passport Cards?

I hear some cruise podcasts and from cruise Youtubers talking about passport cards as if they are the same as a passport book. They are not.

As of this writing US passport cards are not valid for international air travel, so leaving your passport book in your cabin safe and taking your passport card with you isn’t a great solution either. It’s not useless but it’s not a 1:1 replacement. Let’s say you got left in Cozumel. Your path to the US with a passport card would probably require you to fly to a city on the US border and then walk across.

From the US State Department: “We began issuing U.S. passport cards in 2008 to meet the needs of U.S. citizens who travel from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Caribbean countries by land or sea. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel”

See: What is a Passport Card?

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability. top:protectpassport tag:tpr

A Great Travel Wine Bottle Opener!

Mini Wine Opener | Travel Portable Pocket Air Pressure Pump Wine Bottle Opener | Assemblable Design Corkscrew 7S Quick Bottle Opening | for Home, Restaurant, Party,Wine Lovers

Most cruise lines allow you to bring a couple bottles of wine onboard. Usually its one per adult, maximum of two per cabin brought with you on embarkation day. Check with your cruise line for specifics.

You can also generally purchase unopened bottles of wine onboard to drink later in the cruise.  This might makes sense if you’re getting a discount. For example, Royal Caribbean offers a hefty discount on bottles of wine with qualifying dining packages. So, getting an extra bottle of wine for later may make sense.

When it comes to opening wine that you brought on board, some cruise lines charge a corkage fee to open a bottle at a restaurant or bar. Enforcement of this policy can be lax, but we have had it happen.

All that to say, it’s great to have a corkscrew or other way to open a bottle of wine one your own.

We’ve used a few different kinds including something like this…

Chef Craft Select Travel Corkscrew

Although that style is compact, I’ve found it very difficult to use. It offers no leverage in terms of getting the cork out.

I ended up picking up this opener and love it. I’m really happy with it. It’s compact and works great. It’s basically a small pump that dissembles and pack

The opener features a needle that threads into a pump handle. Insert that needle into a wine bottle cork and give it several pumps. The causes the cork to push out of the bottle or at the very least makes it come out easily when you pull on the opener. For storage and transportation you unscrew the needle from the pump and insert back into the pump. Whammo!

Mini Wine Opener | Travel Portable Pocket Air Pressure Pump Wine Bottle Opener | Assemblable Design Corkscrew 7S Quick Bottle Opening | for Home, Restaurant, Party,Wine Lovers – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

Based on the look and function of this opener, I would say it’s a checked bag only type of gadget.

What about wine glasses?  There’s no need to take your own wine glasses on board. Just swing by a bar and ask for some.

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability. top:wineopener tag:tpr

Do AirTags Work on Cruise Ships?

What is an Apple AirTag?

An Apple AirTag is a small tracking device developed for the Apple “Find My” Ecosystem. It uses a replaceable button cell type battery along with Internet connected iOS devices to update locations. If you’re within close range of an AirTag you can also find the device using the “Find My App” or trigger the AirTag make a sound.

Battery life is about one year. Apple achieves all of this by using a crowd-sourced network of iOS devices. AirTags themselves do not connect to Internet and update location. They use ultra-wideband to connect with iPhones that in turn update locations. This relationship keeps AirTags small, gives them a great batter life and makes them reasonably priced.

It’s worth noting that any nearby iPhone can update your AirTag location. It doesn’t have to be your iPhone. This is all done automatically and anonymously.


Check Current Price and Availability:

  • Apple AirTag  – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link
  • Apple AirTag 4 Pack  – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

Apple AirTag for cruise ships


What Can You Track with AirTags?

Well… lots of things. As far as travel goes we use AirTags on our travel backpacks, carry-ons, purses/handbags and checked bags. I also use them on my keys and vehicles.

Do AirTags Work on Cruise Ships?

Hey, here’s an AirTag on a towel animal from one of our cruises!

Yes, they work, well… kind of. With some caveats.

Since AirTag location is updated periodically when AirTags are in range of connected iOS devices there can be a disconnect of sorts when you’re not right by your AirTags.  You normally do not see this on land because items are either stationary or physically with you.  Since the ship is moving lack of location updates can make it seem like AirTags have been left behind.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. At the point this screenshot was taken the blue dot is where the ship is located. As you can see my bags and keys appear to be 21 miles back somewhere in open ocean. If this happens to you you can relax… your bags are probably still in your cabin.

You can also see your bags “catch up” with your ship if someone with a connected iOS device gets close enough to your cabin. That lets the AirTags update their locations and may make it seem like they’ve caught back up with the ship.

The other caveat is the AirTags have no awareness (at least presented to the user) of elevation. So, an AirTag that has recently updated location on a stationary ship would should the position of the AirTag on the ship with no indication of what deck it’s on.

Notification that items are left behind.My Apple Watch letting me know my bags have been left behind in the middle of the ocean 🙂

Conclusions

In spite of the quirkiness of their operation while at sea AirTags work great. They offer little benefit while moving at sea, but after you get on board with your stuff, you really don’t need location updates. Your stuff is… probably in your cabin. They are extremely helpful while traveling to the ship. You can know that your bags have made it on the plane or on the ship, or if something was left behind while in transit. Beyond that, these have given us peace of mind when bags have gotten lost. We’ve been able to provide the carrier with information about their location.

After using AirTags for quite a while, I like them very much and wouldn’t go back to traveling without them.

Check Current Price and Availability:

  • Apple AirTag  – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link
  • Apple AirTag 4 Pack  – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

What About Android Users?

If you’re not an Apple user, consider Tile Trackers

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.

Apple AirTag for cruise ships

Apple AirTag

What size luggage should I take on my cruise?


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All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

Omeet EU 2-pin Plug - Portable Plug-in 0.7W Travel LED Night Light with USB Wall Charger - 2 Pack of White Pictured: Omeet EU 2-pin Plug – Portable Plug-in 0.7W Travel LED Night Light with USB Wall Charger – 2 Pack of White

A lot of cruise packing lists, blogs and videos recommend packing a night light for your next cruise vacation and for good reason cabins can get dark at night, especially interior cabins. A night light can help prevent you from bumping into things.

The problem is… Traditional night lights take up an outlet. Outlets can be a precious commodity in your cruise ship cabin with some cabins having as little as… 1 outlet. This has generally gotten better with newer ships, but can still be an issue. Even newer ships that have more cabin outlets, the outlets can be placed in such a way as to limit their usability. If two outlets are too close together… you can only use one.

Fortunately there are some alternatives.

  • USB night lights – These plug into a USB port. That means no outlet taken up. They could go on a laptop, USB wall charger or power bank.
  • 220v Travel Night Light – Many ships will have both 110 and 220 outlets. I’ll venture a guess that most US travelers leave the 220v outlet unused. This night light fits into compatible 220v outlets and as a bonus gets you a USB wall charger.
  • Rechargeable Night Lights – Charge as needed, no outlet used!

Rechargeable Night is also great for one particular trouble spot in your cabin… your cabin bathroom. Some cabin bathrooms are completely dark. Like… completely dark. Also a lot of times the light switch is on on the outside of the bathroom. To avoid being trapped in a small dark box you need to turn on the light before entering and potentially disturb your cabin mate. Also that much light can have a tendency to wake a person up. Okay, so… plug in a night light? Think again, most cabin bathrooms don’t have an outlet.  Put one of these in the bathroom and turn on before going to bed and… problems solved.

For lots more about cruise packing including some solutions for the outlet problem check out our complete packing list.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

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My Cruise Reservation Tracking Spreadsheet!

My Cruise Reservation Tracking Spreadsheet

When you start racking up future cruise reservations juggling emails starts getting complicated. I’ve kept a spreadsheet to track these for a long time. It makes it easy to see what’s up, works as a to do list and makes it easy to check prices.

Here’s an explanation of how the spreadsheet works

The first section has basic information about each cruise… departure date, embark port, scheduled ports, cabin type, seating times, reservation number and cost.

The next section is for reservation requests and acts as a to do list when setting up your reservation. I actually have some more items here, but those are particular to me. Add items you regularly want to double check to this section.

The next section has final payment date along with three key dates… Check in, cruise planner entertainment available (or check to see if it’s available) and notify cruise line of shareholder benefit. Each has a box below it to note if you’ve added a reminder to your calendar.

Below that is a link to easily check prices. I like to Cruise Plum for this. That tool makes it super easy to check prices and you can link directly to a specific sailing. For the Cruise Plum price I enter the current price for my cabin category as it shows up on the Cruise Plum page at the time of booking (or re-pricing). That way I have an easy at a glance way to see if the price has changed.

The next section has spots to track prices of other related purchases for easy comparison and as a note to yourself that you’ve completed that task. Again, you can tweak this for your particular needs

After that I have a section for things that we commonly purchase onboard. When tracking a price here, I put down the price before taxes and fees at the time I purchased it. By excluding taxes and fees I can an easy at a glance reference to see if prices have gone down.

After that there is a section for notes and a section to track previous cruise prices. I’ve saved a lot over the years by tracking and re-pricing cruises and this section allows you to see what’s happened with a particular sailing.

At the very end of each column there is a variables section that allows you to change the number of days used to calculate dates in the reminders section. Since cruise lines vary, this allows you to easily tweak these calculations.

Other Notes and Download

There is a sample data tab that illustrates how the spreadsheet works. Track your cruises on the My Cruises tab. Easily check for the current version by clicking the link on the version tab. The current spreadsheet is in Microsoft Excel format. I also plan to do a Google Sheets version.

My Cruises Tracking Spreadsheet

What Else?

If you have a question or suggestion for this spreadsheet, let me know or leave a comment on this post.

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


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Eating Gluten Free on a Royal Caribbean Cruise

This review and guide is written by Will. Will is a Cruise Packing List Contributor and has Celiac Disease.


This original review was written after sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas in 2017. Allure sailed from Ft Lauderdale to Labadee Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.

Since that time I’ve taken many Royal Caribbean cruises. Some sections are updated to include new information and tips from more recent cruises.

About me: I have Celiac Disease and as such I must eat a strictly gluten free diet. Not by choice but by medical necessity.

This write up will focus primarily on the food and service we experienced not so much the ship itself or the ports we visited.  However, I would like to briefly say that The Allure of the Seas is beautiful.  It’s a massive ship (one of the largest in the world), modern, very well maintained and offers diverse dining and entertainment options.  Even though the ship accommodates 5,000 or 6,000, we very rarely felt cramped.  There is ample room to move around and it was always easy to find a lounging chair.  We’ve taken a good number of cruises, although this was our first Royal Caribbean cruise.  We were very, very impressed.  Overall, this was our best cruise experience ever.  On to the food…

But First… Fresh First

For the reviewed cruise (any many cruises since) we embarked from Fort Lauderdale. Fresh First is a dedicated gluten free restaurant that puts a healthy spin on comfort foods. If you eat gluten free (or even if you do not) Fresh First is worth a visit! The food is delicious and the staff is amazing. I cannot emphasize how great Fresh First is. We’ve eaten here many times. This is a great place, run by great people… go to this place!

Omelet, Waffle, Griddled Red and Sweet Potatoes and… a Chocolate Chip Pancake.  Just outstanding.  I would nearly hop on a plane to go get another one of these pancakes.  Get the pancake!Eggs Benedict with perfectly, I mean perfectly done eggs.  Delicious.Chicken Salad sandwich – pulled chicken breast, Granny Smith apples, celery, dill and vegan mayo served on a delicious GF bun with potato leek soup.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas…

Note: I purchased this cruise with my own money.  Beyond that I did not identify myself as a travel writer or contributor to Cruise Packing List.  I was an anonymous full fare paying passenger on this cruise.

Before the cruise

Contact customer service and let them know you need a gluten free meal. This is supposed to be done 90 days before embarkation. My guess is that this factors in to food orders. You can also email [email protected] but I’ve found phone to be best as email typically takes a long to to be answered.

On the cruise

As someone with special dietary requirements your main point of contact on the ship is generally your head waiter.  They take orders for the next day, answer questions about food on board and can help with special arrangements.  It seems people are generally directed to get with their head waiter after boarding.  I was unable to do that until our first dinner at which time I identified myself as having Celiac Disease.  I asked several questions and got the answers.  Notable things I found out…

  • I would pre-order main dining room meals after dinner each night.
  • All specialty dining venues had gluten free options and were considered safe by my head waiter.
  • When dining at a specialty restaurant, you should ask to speak with a supervisor for assistance.

We had chosen My Time Dining.  Even with MTD, I always had the same head waiter each evening.  Our head waiter, Adina, was one of only a couple female head waiters on that particular sailing.  She was… amazing.  Really, actually, literally amazing.  Keep reading for an illustration of that, but she was amazing.


Update: After many cruises I now always choose a set time seating instead of My Time Dining. Getting the same wait staff is important to me. Sometimes getting the same staff with MTD can be a hassle.


I don’t have a lot of pictures of food, because I have a tendency to want to just eat the food when it arrives, but I did take a few…

Burger in the main dining room.  Do you ever have those questioning moments, where something looks so good, you’re worried that it isn’t gluten free.  That was my reaction for the first time I saw this bun.  It was very tasty and, the lab I keep built in to my body 🙂 also confirmed that it was gluten free.

A note about Johnny Rockets: I tried to eat at Johnny Rockets for lunch one day.  Can you, as a Celiac or otherwise gluten intolerant, eat there?  Probably yes.  After speaking with the supervisor I learned that the fries were fried in a shared fryer and that my burger would take 30 minutes because they would bake it.  They also weren’t sure if they had a GF bun or not.  So, 30 minutes for a baked burger in a lettuce wrap and no fries?  I appreciate the safety and all of the clear information, but I got up and went to the main dining room.  The Royal Burger is delicious and the fries are safe.

Fries from the main dining room.  Delicious steak-fry cut, fried in a dedicated fryer.  Umm… yes please.


Update: I’ve gotten lots of different types of fries, Sometimes fried and sometimes baked if a dedicated gluten free fryer was not available.


Gluten free bread from our dinner at Chop’s Steakhouse.  I had the filet and couple sides and our meal was outstanding.


Update: Royal has since gone to pre-made bread… for the most part. What your ship will have exactly… will vary. Sometimes they’ll still bake something fresh, but what I’ve gotten mostly on recent sailings is pre-package bread.


Head Waiter Heroics… While we were profusely enjoying our dinner at Chop’s I wondered how I would pre-order my meals for the next day.  Towards the end of the meal, our head waiter Adina showed up with the next day’s menus.  She had noticed we hadn’t shown up in the main dining, looked in the reservation system to find where we were…. dressed up in a Chops uniform and showed up at our table to take my pre-order.  Umm… wow.  That level of care and service is amazing to me.

A carnitas taco (with table-side guacamole) at Sabor.  Sabor was our first eating experience on the ship.  Several reviews I read indicated that Windjammer Buffet (Did someone say buffet!?) was the only venue open for lunch on embarkation day.  That’s just not correct.  At least on the Allure of the Seas, several venues were open, including Sabor.  The fryers at Sabor are not dedicated, however, they will heat up a kettle of oil when you order and fry you up some fresh chips.  It takes a little while to get the first order, but it’s pretty amazing that they do that.  Our food at Sabor was delicious.  Both times we went (one lunch and one dinner) we got table side guacamole.  Great venue with great food!


Update: Unfortunately Sabor seems to be on it’s way out. On the handful of ships that still have it, table side guac is gone and I’ve been regularly served hard shell corn tacos instead of soft corn tortillas.  On the plus side, I have had good experiences with what appears to be Sabor’s replacement El Loco Fresh. I’ll speak with a supervisor to talk about options and ask for food from the back to avoid cross contamination.


I read great things about the (gluten containing) roast beef sandwich at Park Cafe and I also read it was possible to get a gluten free variation and indeed it is.  After talking to the supervisor… Adel (not that one, but a superstar nonetheless… Thank you Adel) he made me a sandwich himself.  When he started warming up a toaster, I objected asking if that had been used to toast gluten containing items.  He pointed out the sign on the top of the toaster.  You can’t see it very well in this photo (click to zoom) but it’s clearly marked gluten free.  Nice!  They pulled a fresh pan of roast beef from the kitchen and assembled the whole thing right in front of my eyes.

Park Cafe Roast Beef Sandwich on Udi’s Bagel.  Pay no attention to the extra roast beef on the side.  I asked for extra roast beef and they obliged.  Delicious GF roast beef sandwich!


Update: This has mostly continued to be my experience although on some ships they don’t have gluten free bagels and on some ships I have been told the roast beef is not gluten free. Again, always talk to a supervisor


Another plate of gluten free bread I received.  In all, I had three types of bread (not counting buns) on the cruise.  The topmost one was the most common and my favorite, it has some sort of nut in it.  The bottom-most one was good too, it had a combo bread/cornbread feel to it.  The third variety I received (only once), was extremely white and had very little flavor and the texture of styrofoam.  That was only on one occasion and even then, I had two other good choices on the same plate.

The Royal Shrimp Cocktail was a nightly appetizer for me.  Remember you can order as many appetizers, entrees and desserts as you’d like.  Portions tend to be smaller, so this isn’t as bad for you as it sounds.

Here is the breakfast menu from the main dining room.  I think it’s the same menu daily, at least for the most part.  Do you see gluten free pancakes as an option… no, they are not an option.  Keep reading.


Update: The menu has changed multiple times this this first review. Most recently Royal has gone to theme nights for dinners. I have been on multiple sailings when these were in use including the very first cruise that Wonder of the Seas had with the new themed menus. From my perspective these are a step backwards. They’re fine, but fewer options are available. Breakfast and lunch menus haven’t changed much at least that I’ve seen. Keep in mind you can also special order items not on the menu.


Gluten free pancakes.  Whammo.  Pretty delicious too.  My amazing head waiter special ordered these for me every day.  You could also do gluten free waffles or french toast.  Here’s a secret… your headwaiter can make just about anything (food-wise) happen for you.

Here’s my standard breakfast.  Gluten free pancakes and the “Classic” with eggs over medium, bacon and hashbrowns.

Although I’ve never seen them on any menu you can also order gluten free french toast and gluten free eggs benedict. The eggs benedict is particularly good if they have gluten free bagels. Otherwise it’s usually served on toast, which is okay too.

A visit from Chef Brad… One morning during breakfast one of the Chef’s visited my table.  Remember… I did not identify myself as a gluten free blogger or as a writer, at all.  Chef Brad stopped by my table and introduced himself and said that he was one of the Chef’s responsible for gluten free cuisine.  He told me how important it was to him and Royal Caribbean.  Gluten free peoples of the world… Where does this happen at??  That’s amazing service and it also shows that Royal Caribbean and… Brad really care about gluten free and the health of gluten intolerant people.  Bravo!

This is an aerial shot of the Boardwalk.  Sabor is toward the end of the Boardwalk on the right side.  “Cups and Scoops” is also on the right side.  It serves cupcakes and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  I stopped in to Cups and Scoops one day to ask about gluten free options.  The worker quickly listed off gluten free flavors… Yay!  I asked about getting a serving from an unopened and uncontaminated container in the back and the person was unable or unwilling to do that.  I didn’t really push it and if I were, I would have asked for a supervisor, like I was supposed to do anyway, and I’m assuming they would have made it happen.

Odds and Ends…

Does Royal Caribbean have Gluten Free Beer?

The answer is unfortunately… No Royal Caribbean does not have gluten free beer. As you can see from the picture from the menu above at one time they served Dogfish Head Tweason’ale which IS gluten free. That is long gone. I haven’t seen it since my first gluten free sailing on Royal Caribbean.

What all Royal ships I’ve been on since service and try to pass off as gluten free is Daura Damm. In spite of what they say… this is not a gluten free beer. Daura Damm is a gluten removed beer.

Is it safe or appropriate for people who eat gluten free as a dietary choice… yeah, probably.

Is it safe or appropriate for people with Celiac Disease or other serious gluten related condition?  No it’s not.

In the US Daura Damm cannot be labeled or marketed as gluten free yet this is the only “Gluten Free” beer on many Royal Caribbean ships.

I’ve contacted Royal about this several times including speaking with the head of food and beverage for the entire line and haven’t gotten anywhere.

It’s a shame that with so many truly gluten free options out there that this is what Royal chooses. In my opinion, this is ridiculous.

Fortunately there are other options – wine, cider, seltzers and mixed drinks.

Here it is Dogfish Head Tweason’ale.  Really a pretty tasty beer and actually gluten free. Alas, I haven’t seen this served in years. Royal Caribbean please offer a truly gluten free beer.

Labadee Beach BBQ – Food on Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private resort, comes from the ship.  My head waiter told me what was gluten free and directed me to talk with a supervisor at Labadee.  I did so, and the supervisor kindly got me an uncontaminated plate from fresh food.  I had ribs and beans and rice along with some fruit.  I also had the option of pre-ordering a specific meal from the ship.  You can also return to the ship to eat lunch.  Everything is pretty close, so you could do that without too much hassle.

Update: Cococay – I have since visited Cococay many times. The larger buffet options can do gluten free burgers, hot dogs and fries. Some sides are also gluten free. I ordered a gluten free pizza on one cruise and that was a mistake. It was a gluten free crust, sauce, topped with slices of American cheese. Disturbing. The fries and burgers are generally good. Again, talk with your head waiter and supervisor on duty. The Cocoa Beach Club (an admission required club) has had plenty of options. All of our meals at Cocoa Beach Club have been delicious.

Eating at other ports – I usually eat a large breakfast each day before leaving the ship and take along snacks and protein bars.

A note when traveling to foreign countries – This is an important tip.  The formula for products you know and are familiar with can be region specific.  For example, Ruffles and Doritos are (as of this writing) gluten free in the sense that they have no gluten containing ingredients.  That’s in the US.  All bets are off when you hit the border.  I almost purchased and consumed both Ruffles and Doritos while in port at Cozumel.  FORTUNATELY…. they both called out the fact that they have gluten in the ingredient list.  Why would Ruffles have gluten in them?  Why?  Ruffles and Doritos in Mexico are… unsafe.  Keep the fact that formulations can change by region in mind when you are traveling.

Udi’s Single Serve Cookies – Promenade Cafe usually has Udi’s cookies.  You just need to ask at the counter.  I received both chocolate chip and snicker doodle and both were nice snacks.

Sorrento’s Pizza – On this first cruise I did not try the pizza. Since I’ve eaten at Sorrento’s several times with great results. Again, talk to a supervisor to see what your options are and double check that they can prepare safely on your ship.

Chops Steakhouse – Chops is great! Plenty of protein options available. I will say that at times I struggle at Chops with sides and desserts. Options can be limited. I recommend visiting the day before your reservation to talk about options and pre-order items if appropriate.

Izumi – I have been able to eat at Izumi many times and love it. Again, always let them know what you’re dietary needs are and they will let you know what your options are.

Windjammer Buffet – When I eat at the Windjammer I ask for a Chef. The Chef will walk around with you and let you know what’s gluten free. After deciding what I want I typically ask the Chef to get it from the back so that it’s not cross contaminated.

Special Ordering Food

You generally are not limited to what is on the menu. You can special order something off menu. This is true for anyone, not just people with dietary needs or allergies.

You do need to do this at least a day in advance and… be flexible. Not everything will be available or possible. Again, your head waiter is the person to talk to about this.

  • Gluten free pancakes/blueberry pancakes
  • Gluten free french toast – I ask for a gluten free bagel
  • Hash browns – these are one of the trickiest things for whatever reason. Sometimes they say the standard hashbrowns are gluten free, sometimes they say the standard hash browns need to be special ordered and sometimes they so no hashbrowns are gluten free. If you have a problem with this you can pre-order hand made hash browns.
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu – mine appeared to be baked, it wasn’t great but it was Chicken Cordon Bleu
  • Fish and chips
  • Onion rings – I haven’t tried this one myself but I’ve been told by others this is possible
  • Cheesecake
  • Mushroom soup – this goes back and forth between being gluten free by default and not gluten free. If their current recipe is not gluten free I have been able to pre-order a gluten free version.
  • What else, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list so your fellow gluten free cruisers know what options are available.
  • Jerk Seasoned Pork Chop – this is another tricky one. More often than not when I’ve pre-ordered this I’ve gotten a plain grilled pork chop with gravy on it. Zero things are jerk flavored about it and it’s generally not even the same cut of pork chop, thin vs a nice thick cut. If you try to pre-order this, bring up the cut of meat and the specific preparation to your head waiter. It is possible to get something a lot closer to what’s on the menu but you need to talk to them about specifics.

Royal Caribbean Quick Tips

  • Make sure and request a gluten free meal 90 days prior to your cruise. Also let reservations know of any other food allergies or requirements.
  • Email [email protected] with special requests or questions
  • Talk to your head waiter about options and to pre-order meals for the following day.
  • Always speak with a supervisor when ordering outside the main dining room/MDR
  • Visit specialty restaurants the day before your reservation to go over options and pre order if appropriate.
  • If you don’t see something you like on the MDR menu, you can special order off the menu.

Final Thoughts…

This was an amazing vacation that I would relive in a heartbeat.  I was encouraged that a company would take my eating limitations so seriously.  Royal Caribbean does gluten free right.  Thank you to RC and to your awesome staff!  You’ve won a lifelong customer.

Be kind, thankful and generous… Let’s face it folks, we are non-gluten eaters in a gluten filled world.  It takes extra care, effort and cost to safely serve us.  A main concern we have is eating safely.  Be kind and thankful to those that are going out of their way to serve you.  Spread the word about great companies like Royal Caribbean and be generous.  We left the automatic tips on our account and then tipped an extra cash amount directly to our entire dining room staff.  How much is it worth to you to feel well for an entire week of eating away from your home.  For me, that’s worth a lot.

Thank you Royal Caribbean and keep up the amazing work!  You went beyond my expectations and I look for to returning.

Update:

After years of cruising gluten free and many gluten free sailings on Royal ships I do think Royal Caribbean has become less friendly to people who need to eat gluten free. Menu markings showing gluten free items are gone. They no longer have gluten free beer, With the new themed menus there are fewer options and I really feel like staff have less training and knowledge of gluten free than they had when I first sailed after being diagnosed. That’s too bad. I hope this trend reverses.

Having said that, I still believe Royal Caribbean does a great job overall and a good job serving gluten free.

A Great Resource For Gluten Free Cruisers…

Cruising Gluten Free is a great resource for gluten free cruising. Lots of helpful members that can answer questions and help.

Related:


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Don’t Pack This If You’re Flying To Your Next Cruise…

don't pack this for your cruise

We strive to make the most up to date and comprehensive cruise packing list available on the Internet. Along those lines we’re continually researching, testing and reviewing.

We recommend a good number of rechargeable items in our list – night lights, battery banks on and more.

I stumbled across this being recommended for cruise travel. It looks like a great fan. It’s rechargeable so you don’t need to occupy a precious outlet and it has a beefy looking clip for easy placement.

But… if you’re flying to your embarkation port. There’s a problem. The fan is rechargeable and features lithium batteries. Since you cannot put lithium batteries in checked baggage, you’ll need to put this in your carry on bag. Looking at the fan it’s pretty chunky. I don’t know that I’d want to lug this around in my backpack.

Make sure and look at the battery types being used in your cruise gear. Good old alkaline are a great option for checked items. We picked out this trimmer for exactly that reason. It uses regular, easy to find alkaline batteries.

On the other side of the coin. I’m a big… water flosser user and my travel flosser does have Lithium batteries. For me, it’s worth it to carry that in my backpack.

Update…. Not so fast…

As of this update in October of 2023 the TSA says…

“Spare (uninstalled) lithium ion and lithium metal batteries, including power banks and cell phone battery charging cases, must be carried in carry-on baggage only. Lithium metal (non-rechargeable) batteries are limited to 2 grams of lithium per battery. Lithium ion (rechargeable) batteries are limited to a rating of 100 watt hours (Wh) per battery. These limits allow for nearly all types of lithium batteries used by the average person in their electronic devices.”

The way I read this is that this means many devices with installed lithium batteries can be checked.

Check the TSA for current information and clarification… What Can I Bring from the TSA


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Cruise Ship Power Solutions – Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

The Most Powerful Tool for Finding Cruise Deals…

find cruise deals

Once upon a time we were looking for a suite on Royal Caribbean. We were close to moving up a level in Royal’s Crown and Anchor Society and we were considering a suite to, among other things, make the jump more quickly. The problem was that in order to get suite pricing I had to drill into every search result to get actual costs. I started looking for a tool to more easily find suites pricing.

I found that and so much more when I stumbled across cuiseplum!

cruiseplum allows you to search by almost every aspect of your cruise… cruise line, cabin type, length, ports visited, ports NOT visited, price per day, embarkation month, embarkation DAYdebarkation day, embark part, depark port and lots more.

cruiseplum also shows you an historical pricing chart for your sailing. We’re booked on Celebrity Ascent after it starts sailing. The chart above is from that sailing.

After entering your criteria you’re presented with a list of results. You can sort that list by total cabin price, and cabin price per day and more. When you find a sailing you’re interested in you can look at the historical pricing for that cruise.

The other thing you can do is create a bookmark to a specific cruise. Most cruise line websites don’t allow you to easily bookmark a specific sailing, You have to go through the search process to get back to it.  I have a field in my reservation tracking spreadsheet were I put the cruiseplum link so I can easily click on it to see current pricing.

Cruise plum also maintains a hot deals list, a last minute deals list, a list showing today’s price drops, suite search and a search to help solo cruisers find deals.

cruiseplum is a game changer that helps you more easily find the cruise you’re looking for and find deals.

cruiseplum.com


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Easy Communication on Your Next Cruise… Using WiFi Calling

wifi calling and cruise shipsMy iPhone with Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas Royal Promenade int eh Background. See “VZW Wi-Fi”

Thinking back to our first cruises communicating back home was… brutal.

We had young children and really needed to check in on a regular basis. Options were slim and expensive. Onboard calling was out of the question financially. Onboard internet was horribly slow and expensive, albeit not as bad as ship to shore calls. We did, periodically, race the clock and try to get an email through. Typically we would try to call back home from port. We’d find an internet café or a business offering international calls by the minute and give it a go.

Times have gotten a lot better. Ship internet is much, much, much better and generally reasonably priced. This makes it easier than ever to stay connected when you need to.

Onboard Cellular

Most larger cruise ships have cellular capabilities. Ships have the equivalent of their own cell phone towers that provide service to people onboard and nearby. This is separate and different from Wi-Fi.

These towers are international no matter where the ship is. If you look on your cell phone carriers website for international coverage, many times cruise ships will be listed by names and show up alongside foreign countries.


Related: Use the 220 Outlet on Your Next Cruise


Using Cruise Line Cellular

Using cruise line cellular for voice and data can be VERY expensive. Check with your carrier to be sure, but generally, it’s super expensive to use your cell phone (via cellular) on a cruise ship.

I know of no carrier that includes cruise ships in their international plans or international day plans. Example, Verizon’s TravelPass gets you unlimited international coverage in select countries for as little as $10 per day. That’s not available for cruise ships.

Voice and Data

Because of cost, I recommend against using cruise line for voice and data. It’s just too expensive. An internet package with Wi-Fi calling is much more cost effective. SMS messages are a potential exception to this recommendation. Keep reading for more on that.

Using Texts To Communicate While Onboard

While data and voice rates on cruise ships is generally very expensive, SMS messages are generally much more economical. If you’re looking for a way to communicate while onboard, this is an option. Check with your cellular provider to see how much text messages will cost.

Use Airplane Mode

If you choose to use cruise line cellular for voice and SMS. My recommendation is to ALWAYS turn data roaming off while onboard. Or better yet, use airplane mode.

I use airplane mode while on board and turn WiFI on. This allows me to access the Internet (with a package) and not worry about getting data roaming charges.



Full Phone Functionality with Wireless Internet… WiFi Calling!

If you purchase an Internet plan you can use many of the features of your phone like web browsing, social media, video and audio calling (Facetime, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, etc).

There are some activities that don’t work with an Internet only connection – standard voice calls and SMS messages (iMessages do work because they rely on Internet).

You can make standard voice calls and SMS work without a cellular connection by enabling WiFi Calling

With a compatible phone and an internet connection WiFi calling makes your phone think that it has a cell tower. This allows you to place voice calls and send text messages as if you had a regular tower,

I use this and it works REALLY well. I turn airplane mode on and connect to WiFi. Quality is at the mercy of the ship’s internet but in general it has worked great for me.

Again, it’s important to have data roaming turned off. I turn my phone to airplane mode, turn on and connect to WiFi and the phone activates WiFi calling.

My iPhone with stateroom balcony in the background. See the “VZW Wi-Fi” on the top of the screen along with the airplane icon. This says A. my phone is in airplane mode and B. It’s using Verizon WiFi calling. The phone behaves as if it was connected to a tower back home!

Enabling WiFi Calling

More About WiFi Calling from Carriers

Test WiFi Calling Before Leaving Home

One thing to note is that you should activate and test this before you leave home. At least with Verizon, we were unable to activate it with only a WiFi connection. Maybe that’s changed, but it’s best to test it ahead of time anyway.

A way to test this is to activate WiFi calling, turn on airplane mode and connect to WiFi. Try placing a regular call. If the call goes through, WiFi calling is working.

Does WiFi Calling Cost Extra?

Generally speaking WiFi calling is free or counted the same as domestic minutes. But, check with your cell phone carrier to double check availability and pricing.


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


Related: FREE… Royal Caribbean Perfect Day at CocoCay Phone Wallpaper

Setting Up Your Own Wireless WiFi Hotspot on Your Next Cruise

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What size luggage should I take on my cruise?

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage with 4 Spinner Wheels, Lightweight Suitcase, Men and Women, Black, Checked-Medium 25-InchPictured: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside 25-Inch

Disclaimer: Bag size is largely a personal preference type of thing and if you have something that works for you… go ahead and check out our complete list for some more recommendations and tips.

Bag Sizes

The general bag sizes are 29″, 25″ and 21″. That measurement refers to the bag height and can range a little bit. For the medium size bag you’ll see bags from around 24″ to 26″.  Bags in the 29″ and 25″ ranges definitely need to be checked when flying. Bags in the 21″ range can usually be carried on depending on the airline, aircraft and the bag.

Luggage Features and Construction

Beyond size, bags are made from different materials and have different features.

  • Soft side bags – are made from fabric like woven nylon.
  • Hard side bags – are made from hard plastic.

Hard side have the general advantage of being more robust and they can be wiped down for cleaning. Soft wide bags are more expandable and can have zipped outside pockets.

Bag features can include rolling wheels (yes!), telescoping handles, extra pockets and compartments and more.

What size luggage should I take on my cruise?

My recommendation is… as small as possible. Figure out what you need – our complete packing list – along the items that will make things a lot easier and get a right-sized bag. Too big equals extra cost and weight and stuff sloshing around as you make your way to your cruise. Too small equal… too small.

Downsides of Bigger Bags

Sure the larger 29″ size checked bags are appealing because you can get so much stuff in them. But, when you get so much stuff in them… you have that much stuff to lug around.

Weight = work. If you use and need all of the stuff, that’s one thing, but what if you can have just as good of a time without the extra stuff?  Why spend part of your vacation lugging around extra stuff you don’t need?

The other thing about huge bags is that it’s tough to actually fill these up without surpassing airline weight limits. If they’re half empty your stuff gets to bounce it’s way around to the next cruise.

When 4″ = 2,481 sq inches

25″ to 29″ sounds like, uh.. 4″. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is. Using Travelpro’s Maxlite 5 as an example the 25″ bag has about 4,950 cubic inches of interior space while the 29″ bag has about… 7,431 cubic inches of interior space. That’s just over 50% usable space. That’s a lot.

For Us, Medium Works Best

Personally we prefer medium sized checked bags in the 25″ range. We both each have one of these or direct from Travelpro.

The fact is people are going on cruises everyday using carry on size bags in the 21″ range. We’re not willing to go that far, but for us, the medium size 25″ bag is a reasonable size for most cruise vacations.

For lots more about what you should pack for your next cruise check out our complete packing list.

Related: Amazon Best Sellers in Luggage


This article may contain affiliate links. We may make a small percentage if you use our links to make a purchase. You won’t pay more and you’ll be supporting Cruise Packing List and more content like this. Thank you for your support!


All information provided is deemed accurate at time of publishing, but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. tag:watchsizeluggage tag:tpr