Friday, January 14, 2011

Electricity at Sea

Ship's power cord stretches behind the ship all the way to Miami
Does the Ship Make It's Own Power?
If you have been on a few cruises I'm sure you've heard at least one Cruise Director go through his Top 10 list of Passenger Questions.  This question typically makes the list.   The response is usually, "No, we have a long electrical cord that stretches behind the ship all the way to Miami".

Where Did You Hide The Electricity in my Cabin?
Perhaps that's a more up to date question that should be on the Cruise Director's list and it deserves an answer.   On most ships you'll find a limited number of electrical outlets in your cabin.   There may only be one 110v and one 220v along with one special outlet in the bathroom that can only be used for your electrical razor.  Often you need to hunt for the outlet which might be under a desk or behind something on a shelf.

Cabin outlet on Allure of the Seas
Allure improves on Oasis of the Seas Design
We've all heard about the two inch difference between the Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas.   What you might not have heard is that the Allure learned many lessons from its little sister, Oasis.   One of those lessons was that the electrical outlet needs to be visible and it needs to accommodate more than one appliance.

In this day and age where every gadget comes with its own charger, and for who knows why, they all have to have different connectors, it is typical for a traveler to arrive at the hotel room or ship cabin with a bag full of chargers.  With a limited number of outlets, one must "timeshare" to get all their devices charged.

Allure of the Seas has a unique new design.   Three outlets are in a round housing that is mounted on one side of the counter.   While this is an improvement, it still offers a challenge which we've demonstrated in the included image.  Many chargers have oversize plugs (eg. transformers) which take up more room.   Unless you prepare in advance, you could be limited to one or two usable outlets.

In this picture we have three devices plugged in:  the hairdryer that is in the cabin, my extension cord for my PC, and my cell phone charger.    The cell phone charger and the hairdryer are both devices that have over-sized plugs.   We solved that problem by traveling with short extenders that have a normal plug on on end and the outlet on the other.  They are about three inches long and can fit nicely in your bag of chargers.   We travel with three of those typically.   My set of 3 were purchased at Big Lots for $3 and they have more than paid for themselves.

iPod Charging / Playing Station on Allure of the Seas
iPod Docking Station 
Another new feature that Allure of the Seas adopted from her little sister's experiences was the addition of an iPod docking station in the cabin.    When its time to retire to bed for your long (or short) nap,  plug in your iPod for some of your favorite tunes.    The timer will turn the device off after its played for awhile if you like.

If you just need to charge your iPod, dock it on the other side and you don't need any extra wires.    This helps free up one of those precious plugs on the opposite end of the counter top.

Some Devices Should Stay Home
The final point that I want to make is each cruise line has their list of electrical devices which are not allowed on the ship.   They ban devices such as irons which could cause a fire if left unattended.   Fire is the worst enemy at sea so it is very important that you heed the guidelines the cruise line provides.   Each cruise line has the list posted on their website in the FAQ and may also include it in the embarkation documentation.   If you aren't sure about a device, leave it home.

Stay Plugged in at Sea, but Stay Safe 

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