Category Archives: Reviews

Hands on Review: GL.iNet GL-MT3000 Beryl AX 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.

This in an in depth look at the GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) including setup, speed trials and real world use during travel

Unboxing GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX)

Front of the boxBack of the box


Check Current Pricing:

GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) Pocket-Sized Wi-Fi 6 Wireless Travel Gigabit Router | WiFi Router | OpenVPN, Wireguard, Connect to Public & Hotel Wi-Fi login Page – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


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


Side of the box

A look inside the box. You get the router, a getting started guide, network cable, power cord and international adapters

Quick start guide removed

A look at the included cables and accessories. Network cable, power cord and international converters

Unboxed

Network cable. Since I’ll mostly be using mine with WiFi this isn’t something I’ll generally need.

Power supply. This has a USB-C Connector and then a power block with that accepts international power adapters. You can also power it with any compatible USB charger or, power it directly from a laptop or pc via a USB cable. If you take a look at the power supply specs you’ll see this is a dual voltage device. It accepts 100 to 240v power. That means it can work with 110 volt North American power and 220v to 240v power supplied worldwide.

This is a travel router, so it makes sense that they include multiple international adapter options. So far I’ve used the type c adapter on a cruise ship and the two prong 110 v style. Related: Cruise Ship Power Solutions ‚Äď Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise

Hands on Review GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX)

Top down view of the router

Back of the router. It features a USB C port (for power), a WAN jack, a LAN jack and USB 3.0 (type A). As mentioned previously, most of the time I’ll be using the repeater function of this router. As such, the only port I’ll use back here is the USB C to plug in power.

Bottom of the router. Most of the identifying information has been redacted. My SSID and key are visible. If we happen to run into each other and you find my network… go for it. ūüôā

With both antennas extended

Front of the router, powered on. Notice there’s a small light in the front.

Size comparison next to GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2(Mango)

For size reference next to a bottle of Sun Bum sunscreen (my standard size reference item on Cruise Packing List)

Setting Up The GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX)

After powering on the device I connected to it via WiFi and then used a web browser to navigate to the admin page. Mine was at 192.168.8.1.

Setting an Admin password

The Internet Screen after logging in the first time. As you can see the device is not connected to the Internet.

I clicked “Repeater” and was presented with this screen. In repeater mode the access point gets internet from another WiFi network. It then shares that connection to other clients.

As you can see I’m connected to the internet now. I have my own little network. The name of my host Wi-Fi network has been redacted in this screenshot.

IMPORTANT: UPDATE FIRMWARE! After setting up the router one of the most important steps you should complete is to update the firmware. This is an easy process and important. Updated firmware contains security and bug fixes.

As an added layer of security this router can with VPN services like NordVPN and others

The scheduled tasks tab allows you to schedule the front LED light, schedule a regular rebook and schedule availability of your WiFi network.

The overview page gives some good information about usage and uptime

Speedtest #1

I think speed tests are to be taken with a grain of salt. Point in time measurements are dependent on a lot of things. Overall trends are however important. This is a speed test from a PC connected directly to my everyday wireless network

Here’s a speed test taken conducted on the same pc this time connected to the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX).

Using the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) onboard Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

Here’s the box on the desk in our stateroom

This is a travel router, so it makes sense that they include multiple international adapter options. This is the type c adapter. Using this adapter means I don’t use a precious 110/3 prong adapter. Related: Cruise Ship Power Solutions ‚Äď Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise. Power for this router is really flexible. If you take a look at the power supply specs you’ll see this is a dual voltage device. It accepts 100 to 240v power. That means it can work with 110 volt North American power and 220v to 240v power supplied worldwide (and on many cruise ships). You can also power it with any compatible USB charger or, power it directly from a laptop or pc via a USB cable.

Here it is plugged in and ready to go

As you can see my laptop is currently connected to the ship’s WiFi. Named WiFi-Guest-Odyssey. I’m going to disconnect from that and connect to the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) network.

Flipping the router over to get the password

Connected to the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) network

Logging in to the admin page so I can connect to the ship’s “captive” Wi-Fi network.

Of course it doesn’t have an internet connection because my home WiFi is a little too far away at the moment ūüôā

Clicking on the “switch network” button in the “repeater” section of the page allows me to select a new network.

I chose WiFi-Guest-Odyssey to connect the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) to the ship’s Wi-Fi.

Connecting to the network

Here’s the magic… this page popped up right away after connecting the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) to ship’s WiFi.

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.

This is that mechanism in action

Logging in to my (previously purchased) Wi-Fi package

Whammo!¬† I’m connected to the internet via my GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) that is using ships Wi-Fi.

Speedtest #2

This test is using my iPhone connected directly to ship’s WiFi

Connected to ship’s WiFi I got 9.27 megabits down and 3.80 megabits up. As you can see this ship uses SpaceX Starlink

This test is connected to the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) network (which is in turn connected to ship’s WiFi).

Connected to the GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) network I got 9.82 megabits down and 3.79 megabits up.

Conclusions

This is a great travel router. It’s easy to use, compact and I’m happy with it’s performance and features. I’ve found this size on the Beryl AX router to be very manageable. If you want something more compact, consider the GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2(Mango). That model is about the size of a deck of cards. I’ll be trying this with NordVPN soon, so keep an eye out for that update.

What are Other’s Saying?¬† ¬†Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “cruise” – may include reviews for other sizes or variations

GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) Pocket-Sized Wi-Fi 6 Wireless Travel Gigabit Router | WiFi Router | OpenVPN, Wireguard, Connect to Public & Hotel Wi-Fi login Page – 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.

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

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

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!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Cruise Packing List!

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

Hands on Review: Auvon Rechargeable Night Lights + The Problem with Cruise Ship Bathrooms at Night

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.

What about the lack of outlets?

One problem to consider 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.

Some options…

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

  • 220v night light. These utilize an often ignored and unused 220v outlet that is present in many cabins.
  • 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.
  • Rechargeable night light. Since they’re rechargeable they don’t take up an outlet after they’ve been charged.

Rechargeable night lights are particularly helpful when it comes to cabin bathrooms. Very often these have 0 usable outlets…

The problem with cruise ship bathrooms at night

A rechargeable night light 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.¬†

An illustration of the dark cruise ship cabin bathroom

This is a video of me going from my bed into the bathroom with no lights on. There’s not much to the video, except for sound as it’s completely black because the room is so dark. The video was taken on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas in a Jr Suite.

A picture to illustrate. This is the bathroom on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas with no lights on.

This is the door to the bathroom. As you can see, the light switch is on the outside of the door. That’s the case with most/all cruise ship cabins we’ve been in. So, let’s say you get up in the middle of the night and stumble your way over to this bathroom door. In order to have any amount of light in the bathroom you need to turn on the switch before entering. That means you’ve flooded your cabin with light and potentially woken someone up. Beyond that, when you get in the bathroom you’ll be in a completely lit room and that can make it more difficult to fall back asleep.

This is a video of me going from my bed into the bathroom with this rechargeable night light on. As you can see… this is a MUCH better experience. The video was taken on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas in a Jr Suite.

A photo with the night light on. This is a much better experience all around. No fumbling for the switch, no flooding the cabin with light. Just a small amount of always on light .

Hands on Review Auvon Rechargeable Night Lights

Front of the box


Check Current Price, Availability and Specs:

AUVON Rechargeable Battery Night Light, Mini Motion Sensor Night Light, Warm White LED Stick-On Closet Light with Dusk to Dawn Sensor, Adjustable Brightness for Wall, Stairs, Hallway, Cabinet (2 Pack) Рaffiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


Back of the box

It came with a manual and charging cable. I did not receiving a charging box. This can be used with any standard USB charging box.

Auvon USB rechargeable night light

A look at the back. These are magnetic. They also come with an installable base so they can be mounted on non magnetic surfaces. For cruise ship cabins, walls are generally made of metal, so no base is needed.

A look at the controls. The switch on the left let’s you choose between auto, on and off. The button on the right changes the light’s brightness. For the bathroom I set it to on and low light level. Mine easily lasted a week on one charge, leaving it on every night.

Charging the night light


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!


Turned on

All cruise ship cabin walls are generally made of metal. Here’s the Auvon rechargeable night light above the bathroom light switch on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas

Installed on the bathroom door frame on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas

Sitting below the sink on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas

Conclusions

These are a must-pack item when we travel, especially when we cruise. They are small, have a long battery life and are easy to charge. For cruises in particular these are an easy solution to two problems. First, outlets are generally in short supply. These don’t need an outlet. Second, some cruise ship cabins can be a little hazardous at night. Having these to add a little bit of light to dark spots is a huge help. Especially when it comes to the bathroom.

Check Current Price, Availability and Specs:

AUVON Rechargeable Battery Night Light, Mini Motion Sensor Night Light, Warm White LED Stick-On Closet Light with Dusk to Dawn Sensor, Adjustable Brightness for Wall, Stairs, Hallway, Cabinet (2 Pack) Рaffiliate 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.

What Are Other’s Saying?

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

Related:

All About Night Lights for Your Next Cruise!

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

This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Cruise Packing List!

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. review:auvonnightlight tag:tpr

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.

This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Cruise 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. review:tessan220 tag:tpr

Hands on Review: Sailpack Cruise Ship Approved Travel Fan

When looking for a compact travel fan, I can across Sailpak’s USB rechargeable model. It’s about 6″ x 6″, folds flat for easy storage, is USB chargeable (via USB-C and has 5 speeds. Here’s a hands on review of this fan. Includes pictures and videos taken onboard.

In the boxSide of the box. UPC 792671168089, Input 5v/1a, Fan Power 3.5W


Check Current Price and Availability:

Cruise Ship Approved Travel Fan


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 fan. The bottom right button turns the fan on and also has an LED display that shows battery charge levels.Back of the fanClose up of the label on the back of the fanClose up of the bottom of the back of the fan. The left side is a USB-C port for charging. The right side has a label with specifications and such.Sailpack Cruise Ship Approved Travel Fan.¬† Sailpack says this is approved for cruise ship use as of a certain date. Based on the fact that it’s compact I don’t see any cruise line turning this away however you can double check with your line to make sure if you have any concerns.This fan has a stand that can be folded flat when not in useHere’s the fan running. Keep reading for some videos. You can see the bottom right shows charge %. You need to hold down the power button to turn the fan on and off. That’s a good feature because it means it’s less likely to get turned on by mistake when packed away in a bag. After it’s on a short press changes speed.For size reference next to a bottle of Sun Bum sunscreen

Onboard Trials

Here’s the fan onboard Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the SeasThis has a 6 to 10 hour stated battery life. You can also plug it in to extend that. Here is is plugged in to this European Travel Plug Adapter. See: Cruise Ship Power Solutions ‚Äď Making Use of the 220 Volt Cabin Outlet On Your Next Cruise for more information on using this outlet Here it is running onboard

Here’s a video of the fan to give you an idea of how much sound it puts out

By our bedside on Odyssey of the Seas

Running on my night stand

Conclusions

This is a compact easy to use travel fan. It produces a nice breeze and some background noise. Considering the limited availability of outlets the fact that this is rechargeable is a huge plus. This isn’t a huge fan, but I wouldn’t want it to be as I don’t have that kind of room and many lines ban large fans. This purpose built travel fan solution is a great option for cruising and land based travel.

Cruise Ship Approved Travel Fan Рaffiliate 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 cruise packing including some solutions for the outlet problem check out our complete packing list.

This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Cruise Packing List!

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:fanreview tag:tpr

Hands on Review: HOXIS Mesh Beach Bag

Prior to a recent cruise we decided to up our beach game bag. We really didn’t have a travel beach bag per se. We we would use whatever we happened to have with us and… sometimes that wasn’t pretty.

When I started looking for a beach tote I had a couple of things in mind.¬† First, I wanted something compact enough that it didn’t take too much room when it came time to pack. Second, I wanted a mesh bag so sand could easily be removed.

After some searching I landed on the HOXIS Mesh Tote. It fit my two main criteria, looked good and was well priced. We went with gray but it’s available in a number of colors.

In the packaging


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!


Close up of the tag. The tag reads Material:100% Polyester+Nylon. Washing Instructions: Wash by hand. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Do not iron.Out of the packagingFor size reference next to a bottle of Sun Bum sunscreen (my standard size reference item on Cruise Packing List)A look inside the bag


This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Cruise Packing List!


Close up of the meshA closer look at the carrying strapPacked with some stuff in our cabin on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the SeasThe bag in action at Cas Abao Beach in Cura√ßao. Related (more beach pictures):¬† Hands on Review: Airalo e-SIM – use your phone internationally!Beautiful day at the beachSpotted: This beach tote kept showing up towards the top of search results when I was shopping around. It’s a popular bag. Here’s someone else’s bag sitting in the Solarium on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas.On Eagle Beach in Aruba!I really like the fact that the carrying straps on this tote are flexible enough to tie together to secure the bag.Here we are just off the ship, walking to the beach on CococayHolding three beach towels with room to spare!

Conclusions

This is a great bag that fit out needs exactly. It’s light and compact for easy packing all the while being large enough for and sturdy enough for a beach outing. We’re happy with this purchase and looking forward to taking this on our next beach vacation.

Check Current Pricing, Color Options and Availability:

HOXIS Mesh Beach Tote Shoulder Handbag – 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.

This post may contain affiliate links. We may make a commission when you use our links. This will never cost you extra. Thank you for supporting Cruise Packing List!

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

Hands on Review: Airalo e-SIM – use your phone internationally!

Airalo is app for iOS/iPhone and Android smart phones that makes it easy and inexpensive to use your compatible phone internationally. They partner with local and regional providers to provide short term coverage in many parts of the world.

What’s a SIM Card?

SIM is an acronym stands for Subscriber Identity Module. It’s small card that fits in select phones that’s basically the digital identification for the phone. You can theoretically quickly change phones by swapping out your physical SIM card.

What’s an eSIM Card?

Fast forward to eSIM cards. eSIM stands for Embedded Subscriber Identity Module.  Instead of a physical SIM card an eSIM is a logical identity for select phones. No need for a physical SIM card.

The part where the magic comes in… Some phones also allow you to have multiple eSIM cards. So you can actually have multiple phone numbers on a single phone.

What devices support Airalo eSIM?

To use an eSIM, your device must be carrier-unlocked and eSIM-compatible.

Airalo provides a regularly updated list of supported devices.

An eSIM example…

Here is a screenshot from my iPhone. On the top left you’ll see my primary carrier Verizon. Below that is my secondary carrier Tello. I use two carriers, one for business the other for personal. If you want to give Tello a try use referral code P3XR5K8D and earn Tello dollars.

Using Airalo for international coverage!…

We recently went on a cruise to Aruba, Curaçao and the Bahamas. I decided to give Airalo a try and purchased e-SIM cards for Aruba and Curaçao.

Purchasing an e-SIM card for Cura√ßao. I went with 1 GB of data. We were in Cura√ßao for about a day. The e-SIM I purchased was valid for up to 7 days. This was a data only e-SIM meaning I didn’t have a local phone number. I didn’t need to use the phone if I had to I could have used Google Voice, WhatsApp, Skype or FaceTime. Of course there are other apps that can utilize a data connection for phone calls and video chat.

Purchasing an e-SIM card for Aruba. Also 1 GB data and 7 days.

Here’s my phone after purchasing and installing both e-SIM. As of this update iPhone 15 can handle up to eight e-SIM with a maximum of two active e-SIM cards at any one time. Note that my Verizon and Tello numbers have been redacted.

Using Airalo in Curaçao

I enabled my Curaçao e-SIM card and disabled all other e-SIMs installed on my phone

Whammo I’m connected

I fired up Google Maps for directions to the beach we wanted to go to.

We made it to Cas Abao beach!  It was beautiful!

I tried Blue Curaçao.  It was pretty good.

I tweeted from the beach to test the connection. It worked great. Connect with me on X!

Let’s be friends! Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | RSS

When I bought the e-SIM card the carrier was named Dushi wireless. I had no idea what that meant, but learned when visiting. visitaruba.com says… “Dushi ‚Äď This is such a dynamic Papiamento word. In Aruba, ‚Äėdushi‚Äė is used to describe food as ‚Äėsweet‚Äė or ‚Äėyummy‚Äė tasting, or to indicate that a sensation is good (think of pleasant smells or nice music), but it is also used as a term of endearment for your lover, translated as ‚Äėsweetheart‚Äė or ‚Äėsweety‚Äė.”

Speedtest. The connection was quite zippy. This test shows 58.4 megabits down and 46.6 megabits up.


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!


At the end of the day I still had 700 MB left. It’s worth noting that you can also buy longer eSIMs with more data AND you can purchase eSIMs for entire regions instead of a single country.

We had a wonderful time in Curaçao!

Using Airalo in Aruba

I tweeted from Eagle Beach to test the connection. It worked great. Connect with me on X!

Airalo’s partner in Aruba was blazing fast. Here’s a speed test.¬† This test shows 114 megabits down and 26.9 megabits up.

We had an amazing time in Aruba!  This was our first time doing a Southern Itinerary cruise and it was one of our favorites!

Conclusions

Airalo worked flawlessly! I paid $9.50 per eSIM card. Each card had 7 days of validity. That’s much cheaper than my carrier’s international coverage. Going forward Airalo will be a regular part of our international travel!

Pelican Marine - IP68 Waterproof Phone Pouch / Case (Regular Size) - Floating Waterproof Phone Case For iPhone 15 Pro Max/ 14 Pro Max/13 Pro Max/12/S24 Ultra - Detachable Lanyard - Black/Hi-Vis Yellow Related: Pelican’s IP68 Waterproof Phone Case – affiliate link, note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

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: FREE… Royal Caribbean Perfect Day at CocoCay Phone Wallpaper

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:airaloreview tag:tpr

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.


About This Review:

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 have updated to include new information and tips from more recent cruises.

Update: No Gluten Free Beer ūüôĀ

Soon after our first sailings Royal Caribbean stopped carrying gluten free beer. I’ve contacted them many times about this and am regularly told that they do carry gluten free beer… Daura Damm.¬† Daura Damm is not gluten free. It’s gluten removed. In fact, it cannot be labeled as gluten free in the US.¬† With as many great truly gluten free beers that are available it’s mind boggling to me that they offer exactly zero options.

Update 5/8/2024:

Toward the beginning of 2023 Royal Caribbean introduced new themed menus. It’s my understanding that the goal of these new menus was to streamline service and reduce overall dining time.

Prior to this change the general process for a gluten free cruiser (and other dietary issues) was to…

  1. Speak with a head waiter and talk about dietary needs.
  2. Find out which venues on the ship could accommodate the need.
  3. Pre-order for the next day’s meals.

The pre-order could be a modification to an existing menu item OR a special request. I have had head waiters completely disregard the menu and ask me… what would you like to eat? This offered a lot of flexibility.

This was actually also true for guests without special dietary needs. You could request something and generally they would make it for you the following day.

With the 2023 menu change… Special requests are no longer allowed or accepted. This means that options are limited to what’s on the menu. Some items can’t be made gluten free so that is a further limitation. Even more frustrating, in my experience, the dishes that can be made gluten free aren’t prepared as well. I would generally characterize what comes out as kind of a half hearted effort. Beyond dietary needs it’s my opinion that the overall quality of included food has gone down. Also, selection is severely limited. Beyond all this, a less serious criticism is themed menus are just kind of odd.

Less training… I also have the impression that training is not as good as it once was. On one cruise I was served San Bernadino vanilla ice cream. Later in the cruise I spoke with a supervisor in the Windjammer with the hope of getting a scoop of ice cream from a new container. He looked at the ingredients and all options said “contains wheat”. He then called the pastry chef and had them look at the provisions list. There were 0 gluten free ice cream options on board. That’s two problems. First, I was served non-gluten free ice cream. Second, no gluten free ice cream options were available. When I brought this up with my head waiter, he insisted the ice cream was gluten free and they continued to serve it to me throughout the cruise. Two notes… I didn’t eat it and the soft serve on board was gluten free. I sailed on the same ship a couple months later and they no longer offered me ice cream. They apparently changed course.

After years of cruising gluten free and many gluten free sailings on Royal ships I do think Royal Caribbean has taken some solid steps backwards. No menu markings, less choices, less flexibility and in my opinion lower food quality and less training. This while other lines are upping their games.

In fairness, I think the overall experience on Royal Caribbean is still good and better than many land based options. For the time being, I will continue to sail with Royal Caribbean with the hope that the trend downward reverses.


Related: Gluten Free Translation Card

Gluten Free Translation Card


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!


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Eggs Benedict with perfectly, I mean perfectly done eggs.  Delicious.Chicken Salad sandwich Рpulled 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 ūüôā 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, I don’t think you can say that See: The Celiac Patient Antibody Response to Conventional and Gluten-Removed Beer

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.

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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