Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

New Dive Cruise Techniques

For our third dive cruise, I’ve developed more techniques for making the trip easier and a total success. These procedures ensure we have a smooth trip, make all our connections, and enjoy our dive vacation. You don’t have to be a diver to appreciate these adaptations to cruising. 

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

1. Charging Electronics!

From re-reading my article 21 Items That Landed on My Cruise Ship Dive Trip “To Do Next Time” List, we knew we ought to bring 220 plugs for the GoPros. What we didn’t realize was how absolutely convenient it actually was to have two additional plugs – especially when each has a two-usb port! 

Great news – we scored FOUR MORE charging options by doing this. The idea came to me because the room stewards use vacuum cleaners with 220 electrical plugs – hey – electricity is electricity, right? Might as well make use of every opportunity to charge.

For this cruise, we had two GoPro Hero 3’s, two Kraken NR-1200 dive lights, two cell phones, two laptops, one DJI Osmo Pocket, one Kraken Hydra 2500 Macro photo light, and one Zhiyun Smooth gimbal stabilizer to charge daily. 

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

We also used both usb ports on each laptop to charge and download photos. That move allowed six items to charge off those two 110 volt plugs. 

In the evening, I used one of the 110 volt plugs for blow dryer or flat iron while downloading and charging over on the 220 side continued.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

2. Paperwork

For every person, I print out all dive releases ahead of time. If you’re not diving, the same applies to all shore excursion waivers for zip lining, tubing, and so on. Just insert the name of your activity wherever I say “dive.” 

Some paperwork is available on dive operators’ websites. For others, I ask that they send them to me in email. If I was a totally wonderful dive organizer, I would go ahead and fill them out for everyone. 

This time, however, I wanted the younger divers in our group to start to have the experience of reading the papers and learning what is normal on dive paperwork and experiencing the legalities involved. For all four of our dives, the information they requested varied greatly. 

Some companies wanted date of last dive, others didn’t. Some wanted dive insurance information, others didn’t ask. It’s interesting to read the documents and determine what’s most important to each operator. 

Each evening, we get together to fill out the paperwork and go over transpiration for the morning. While there was much discussion of wetsuits, since we were diving four different countries in four days, we made the call on the site each time. Once aboard, we checked with the dm for conditions to make the wetsuit decision. 

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

3. C Cards – Dive Certification Cards

For our entire group, I gathered photos of all the fronts and all the backs of our dive cards. Some dive operators want you to bring a photocopy of the cards. 

Using Word, I placed all six fronts on one page, and all six backs on another, and printed twice as many copies as I thought I needed. 

That way, we had enough copies for each dive operator, plus some for consulting while filling out paperwork. In addition, just in case anyone lost their card early in the trip, we had copies. 

C Cards are available online through your certifying agency. However, if your cell phone does not have service…. you might not be able to access it online. What you can do is access it online before you leave the country, and take screen shots. It looks exactly the same and has the QR code if anyone needs that. 

Additionally, is it one more copy of your certification. 

You cannot assume that the dive operators will have access to your credentials online; sometimes Internet in foreign countries is spotty at best. 

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

4. Rolling Bags

We all decided to use rolling bags to head to each dive site. Although they are bulky, it always worked out just fine. On the smaller boat, we left the empty bags in the shop. On the larger boats, we took them with us. 

Mesh shoulder bags are great as well, however, we had a decent distance to travel to each dive operator. Since these bags came into contact with muddy puddles and our dive gear, they will be sanitized just like our gear. We don’t want to harbor any questionable substances that could comprise the delicate sea life balance in our next dive site. 

Above Bill is rolling the Akona Rolling Backpack, with a Diver’s Alert Network dry bag, and a Mystery Ranch day pack.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

5. Use Your Status

If you hold an elevated status with a cruise line – use it! We needed to be on the first tender off the ship for the dive in Belize City.

While I understand priority is given to anyone who books their excursion through the cruise line on which you are cruising, there are more seats on the tender. Also given priority for disembarking are cruisers in top-category cabins like suites.

It doesn’t hurt to ask, though. I asked, and received six passes for the first tender. Had I not asked, we would have stood in lines and maybe gotten off early, and maybe not. Establishing a rapport with your loyalty ambassador or, in my case, the diamond lounge officer, paid off for my group.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

6. Bring a Towel

What?? Cruise lines hand out towels like candy, right? Yes. They are big, they are heavy, and when they get wet; they are even heavier. Invest in a microfiber towel. They are compact, lightweight, dry quickly, and cost less than replacing a lost cruise ship towel at $25 each.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

This one made by Shark was provided on our dive with Blue XtSea in Cozumel. We didn’t have to wait in line to check it out, or wait in line to turn it in, or carry it around wet, either. The Broke Backpacker has some suggestions for the best large microfiber towels.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

7. Research Everything Including Taxis

Research every last detail if you want to ensure a seamless, no-panic, no-surprises cruise.

Make sure you know the going rate for taxis wherever you are in order to avoid paying too much.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

8. Check Receipts

Always check to see if gratuities were already included on anything you purchase.

Our cruising partners discovered they had put a $2 tip for a beer when a $1.80 gratuity had already been automatically added. It wasn’t a huge loss, but when you are cruising on a budget, you might not want to accidentally tip double what you had budgeted for gratuities.

9. Load Apps in Advance

We use Dive Log for logging our dives, and we can mark locations of our dive sites while still in airplane mode. This is very convenient, and we fill in the details later.

Navionics can give you speed and direction of travel, and Marine Traffic allows you to see other ships in your vicinity. Tides shows you exactly that – tides.

Other programs allow you to add maps, or search for free wifi once you are in port. Be sure to load these applications in advance and experiment with them a bit before you travel.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

10. Take a Water Bottle

More and more cruisers are carrying their own water bottles. Instead of paying $3 for a bottle of water to take ashore, and creating a demand for more single-use plastics; carry your own. Mine is the Hydrapak Stash that collapses to the size of a hockey puck!

When you refill it at a drink station, you might have to use one of the ship’s cups to fill it – but that’s not a big deal. Don’t put the mouth of your refillable bottle on the machine. Some ships will not allow you to refill reusable bottles directly from the machines due to health concerns.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

11. Matching T-Shirts Help

On of our group insisted we remember to bring our dive club t-shirts for this trip so we could get photos in them, and publicize our club.

I’m glad we did – the unexpected advantage was that it was easy to spot and count our group while transitioning from ship to taxi and on return. Plus, our dive operators who were looking out for our group could find us easily.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

12. Make Use of What’s Offered

Many ships have a gym. While it seems counterintuitive to hit the all-you-can-eat buffet then work out; what better time?

Ship’s gyms offer several benefits. First, they have a great view! Usually they either face the bow or face aft, overlooking the ocean.

Next, their machines and equipment is usually fairly new. This trip, I discovered that I much prefer their mats to our own. Theirs are far sturdier, while ours are more lightweight and need replacing every few years. Any equipment that can withstand hundreds of users a day for years is pretty durable.

Heat rooms, saunas, thermal rooms, relaxation rooms – if they are available, why not enjoy and appreciate them. There’s nothing better than the feeling of a great workout followed by a bit of time in the steam room and sauna, then out to the adults-only pool and hot tub. Ahhhhhhh!

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

13. Royce’s Law: Half the Luggage, Twice the Cash

Follow Royce’s Law strictly. Spread out all the clothes you plan to take. Pick out half of them. Avoid duplicates, and choose items that can be worn a couple ways.

Remember that you can wear some items more than once. Plan your color scheme in such a way that you can use the same shoes for all your outfits. On the left you can just see the Tripped Compression Packing Cubes Bill gave me recently. They zip all the way around to compress clothing. I’ve only used them once so far, and I’m already a huge fan!

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

14. Luggage Size

Do consider clearances when choosing your rolling luggage. On one dive trip, my dive partner Bill brought a fabulous Blackhawk Dive Bag. It was wide enough to create a problem in the cruise ship hallways, especially when the carts and other luggage are in the passageways.

Now we use Akona Roller Backpack taller, narrower bags for our main bag. I use a smaller Akona Less than 10lbs bag seen above for my dive gear.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

15. Dry Bag and Day Bag

Also, don’t forget to bring a small backpack or bag for carrying a few items to the pool with you. A dry bag gives you even more flexibility and security.

My Stream2Sea dry bag was the perfect size for all my sunscreen, bathing suit or foundation garments, sunglasses case, a book, and a few other items for excursions to the pool or gym. My discount code “KimW” gets you 10% off everything.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

16. Parking

We finally learned a new trick – drive by the port, and drop off all people and bags. Then have only one person drive the car to the parking and return by shuttle. Some shuttles even offer a discount for “driver only” transportation. 

Why have all six people on the shuttle? Even for the two of us, it was easier to drop off our big dive and clothing bags, then take a small backpack, park, and ride the shuttle straight to the ship. 

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

17. Take a “Throwaway” Book

Sneaky tip – take a great book, one that you know is a page-turner and that you will finish. When you complete it, leave it in the ship’s library for a future cruiser. Randy Wayne White’s “Cuba Straits” was a page turner!

The second part of this tip is to bring a second, thinner book to bridge the gap between finishing the one and departing. My “throwaway” was a hardbound book. I was glad of the extra space and weight saved, as I had picked up three t-shirts to contribute to dive club raffles.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

18. Rash Guards

While rash guards are becoming more and more mainstream as utility wear, make sure yours is made of either recycled fabric or ethically-sourced materials. This one from Stream2Sea is constructed of Econyl, which is a material manufactured from ghost fishing nets and other recycled plastics. Don’t add to the plastics problem by buying more first-use plastic wear. You can apply code “KimW” for 10% off your entire order.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

19. Legal Sunscreen and Body Products

Many vacation destinations are banning toxic sunscreens containing ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinozate. Check the list here for unhealthy ingredients.

I always use not only reef-safe sunscreen, but also shampoo, body wash, and leave-in conditioner. Stream2Sea offers all these in tested fish friendly products, but also packages them in completely biodegradable containers. Their lip balm and sting relief as well as mask defog also are reef-safe and ecoconscious choices. Don’t get in trouble while traveling abroad! Use code “KimW” for 10% off your total order.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

What to Read Next

21 Items That Landed on My Cruise Ship Dive Trip “To Do Next Time” List

This was the first list, and I sure did look back at it and make some changes before we traveled this time. Now our system is even more refined! We followed all of those recommendations, and added the new ones in this list.

We do now carry our own First Aid Kits with us every time we go ashore. Also, with most dive boats not having any requirement to carry First Aid Kits, we believe it is worth it to go to the trouble of bringing our own. One of the benefits of bringing our own is familiarity with the contents.

The Boat Medic First Aid Kit shown above is housed in a waterproof, crush-proof container; very desirable on a dive boat. For 10% off at MyMedic, use the link here to save yourself just a bit as a reward for thinking safety first.

, Cruise Ship Hacks // 19 New Dive Cruise Secret Techniques // Charging Electronics on a Cruise

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