Whether you’re a frequent cruiser or are getting ready to take your first cruise as a family, there are a variety of resources and, of course, mobile apps, to help you make the most of your cruise vacation. While I’ve only taken one family cruise so far (we took a cruise to Alaska a few years ago when the big girls were small), I can tell from playing around with each of these iPhone apps that they would go a long way toward making my next cruise the best it can be. Take a look:
Cruise Ship Mate (free)
If you’ve got a family cruise on the books, download the free Cruise Ship Mate app, which has lots of fun features to get you and your kids excited about your sailing, like a vacation countdown clock and live deck cams. You can even stay in touch with your travel agent through the app, review deck maps so you can find the closest pool before you board, and chat with others who are gearing up for cruises aboard your same ship.
Deck Director ($4.99)
With little ones in tow, you want to minimize the amount of time spent wandering aimlessly around the ship, so Deck Director is a great app to have. The free version (Deck Director Select) features deck maps for the Carnival Fascination, Pacific Princess and Holland America’s Prinsendam. Other ships within those fleets are available as an in-app purchase for $.99 each, but being able to quickly locate the dining rooms and ice cream bars with step-by-step directions makes it more than worth the fee. The full version of Deck Director includes a much wider variety of cruise ships.
Cruise Finder (free)
If you’ve yet to book your cruise, try out the free Cruise Finder app. This is a great app to have on your iPhone, particularly if you’re new to cruising. Simply select where you’d like to go and the app will quickly display options and prices for individual months. Or, choose your port and the app will fill you in on which fleets leave from that port, as well as when and where they sail. The app also features passport requirements, deck plans, port weather and cruise deals.
There are also a number of fleet-specific apps you may want to check into as you are planning your cruise. One is Royal Port, a free app from Royal Caribbean, which is designed to help you shop at ports of call. Meanwhile, Norwegian has several mobile apps offering 360-degree ship tours, weather alerts, flash deals and even puzzles.
Disney is also testing out apps for all four Disney Cruise Line ships as well. Back in September, they released the Disney Fantasy Navigator app for Disney Fantasy sailings-only. It’s a great complement to the paper “navigator” the ship provides each day to manage daily activities, character appearances and featured events on-board the ship.
Do you have a favorite cruise app? Let me know in the comments section below.