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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