You may have heard that certain items are banned on cruise ships and that power strips are highly likely to be on your cruise line’s list of prohibited items.
What you might also know is that many cruise ship cabins simply don’t have enough power outlets. Particularly now we all seem to have so many different items to charge.
I looked at the items I take on a cruise when it is just two of us sailing. This increases when the whole family is with me!
- 2 iPhones
- An iPad
- 2 Apple Watches
- 2 Computers
- Camera Battery
That means that there always seems to be something that needs charging at any given moment!
Whilst the situation is improving, with more modern cruise ships mostly providing more power and USB outlets, many ships still have facilities for charging in short supply.
So what is the solution if you are sailing on a cruise ship and want to know that you will have enough power outlets, but want to make sure you only take cruise-approved items?
What Happens if You Take Prohibited Items on a Cruise Ship?
If you take a prohibited item on a cruise ship it will be confiscated by security for the duration of your cruise.
When you disembark there will usually be a table of items in the cruise port where you can pick up your items. Every time I disembark a ship I always see a lot of items on that table!
The other consequence of course is that you can’t use that item on the ship.
This is why you need to make sure that you only take a cruise-approved outlet on board. Or you will still have your charging problem!
Why are Power Strips Not Allowed on Cruise Ships?
A very simple reason.
They are a fire risk.
To understand why power strips are a fire hazard on ships, but perfectly fine in homes and buildings on land, let’s take a look at how the systems are different.
Each system has 2 wires but they are different from each other.
On land. you have the traditional 120-volt system with 2 wires. One is live, and the other is neutral (also known as ground).
On a ship, the system is also 120 volts with 2 wires. However, both wires are live and each is 60 volts. There is no ground wire.
If there is a surge of power in a building or house on land this may mean a power outage, but there won’t be damage or a fire risk.
If this happens on board a ship, with no ground wire, this could mean that a power strip overheats. And this could cause it to catch fire.
As fire is one of the most dangerous things that can happen at sea, you can see why surge protectors and most power strips are not allowed on cruise ships.
Here you can see part of the guide that Disney Cruise Lines has of their prohibited items.
This isn’t a complete list but it shows that extension cords, power strips and surge protectors are prohibited.
Many other cruise lines will have similar policies relating to power strips.
So What Can You Bring on a Cruise?
To solve the lack of plug and charging outlet problem here are 3 solutions:
- Cruise Compliant Non-Surge Protector Power Strip
- USB Charging Stations
- Power Bank
I have used all these solutions individually and in combination. I always need to have a power bank with me, particularly as I take so many photos and videos.
Cruise Compliant Non-Surge Protector Power Strip
There are many on the market but this is a very popular choice for good reason.
I bought this power strip several years ago and it is still going strong. I have probably used this on more than 20 cruises at this point.
Note that this is Approved for Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, and most cruise lines, but NOT Disney.
If you are sailing on Disney this is a good option instead
It doesn’t have a cord but plugs straight into the socket. I also use this in my kitchen at home as I never seem to have enough USBs anywhere!
This gives you an idea of its size and how little space it will take up in your carry-on luggage.
I kept the box that it arrived in as this makes it slightly easier to pack – although you could just pack it in your carry-on and wrap it in a sheet of bubble wrap or inside some clothes! Just so that the prongs remain protected and don’t get damaged or scratch anything.
This gives 3 power outlets and 2 USBs and I have found that to be enough to deal with everything I need to charge.
USB Charging Station for A Cruise Stateroom
This is another, slightly more compact option.
This is another good solution for your cruise stateroom which has 3 power outlets and 3 USBs. This is a really good and compact solution that you can easily pack in your carry-on.
Power Banks for a Cruise
A power bank is also a good choice – particularly if you do not think that you will need additional power sockets.
This has the advantage that you can take this off the ship with you so that you can have a power backup in port.
This power bank weighs just over 16 ounces so is definitely light enough to put in your excursion back pack or purse.
This has 3 outlets so you can charge 3 items at once.
Which Cruise Lines Have US 2-Pin Sockets?
To make things even more confusing, if you are sailing with British or European appliances you will also need to check if you need an additional adapter so that you can plug in your favorite hairdryer for example.
A US two-pin socket is found on Disney, Carnival Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard Line, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Fred Olsen Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Only Cunard has British sockets in this list.
|Cruise Line||British Socket||European two-pin socket||US two-pin socket|
|Fred Olsen Line||No||Yes||Yes|
|Holland America Line||No||Yes||Yes|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||No||No||Yes|