Thanks to the power of science there’s a veritable smörgstechbord (new word) of cruise gadgets available to the modern cruise enthusiast. Remember our three-part blog post, the top fifteen gadgets to take on a cruise? Well, we wanted to make a definitive list of our top five in time for the January sales – including a few new ones – that could take your next cruise holiday into the realms of science fiction. Or at least give you some shiny new stuff to play with in the sun. We think there’s a lot to be said for that.
Waterproof e-reader case
Ah, e-readers. What could be better than having your own personal library of tomes, niftily stored away on the digital shelves of a single handy device? I’ll tell you what – one that works even after it may have been… slightly dropped in the pool. Or the bath. Or the Jacuzzi, or the sea. Or, if it’s a particularly addictive read, taken into the shower with you. Fact is, there are just too many bodies of water around on a cruise holiday for your e-reader to enjoy any peace of mind.
But for around £20, you can pick up a snappy watertight cover which not only keeps a pool-bound e-reader nice and dry and non-broken – but also lends you a kind of gritty, survivalist edge that says “Yeah, I’ve read Dante on the summit of Everest. What about it?” …Or maybe not. If you actually are venturing into a mountain snowstorm, and you’re determined to find out just what happened when Billy Blue-hat went to the duck pond, then there are fall-proof e-reader casings too, which could save your entertainment’s life when you’re scaling those rocky heights.
If fish have souls, an underwater camera gives you the perfect way to capture them. Gone are the bulky aqua-cameras of yore; those day-glo monsters hulked around by scuba divers from the eighties. Modern underwater cameras look just like the ordinary over-water cameras that you’d take on a shore excursion – so no one will ever know about your secret ability to snap both humans and crustaceans with impunity.
You can find underwater cameras for £50 or £1000, so it really depends on how pin-sharp and majestically-lit you like your coral. But whatever you spend, an underwater camera is a cracking investment for future holidays – or even if you’re using your cruise gadgets closer to home after your holiday. Water may be everywhere, and not a drop to drink, but you can darn well take some pictures in it. And when the neighbours come round with their holiday snaps, you can whip out some action shots of a high-five with a manta ray.
Language barriers begone! One of the first things you’ll notice on a cruise to other countries is the fact that people speak in a different way – it’s almost like they’re not speaking the same language at all. One way around this is to painstakingly fill an artist’s pad with accurate illustrations of everything you might need, and to show your etchings to the locals with a quizzical expression – like sketches of famous local landmarks, or an oil painting of a burger and a beer followed by a question mark. But this whole show is going to be inconvenient and downright weird for some poor Spanish lady who’s just trying to get to work.
The alternative: a crafty translation device, with thousands of phrases and millions of sound inflections stored in its brainy circuitry, to take someone else’s words and whip it up into English for you. You can find global translators for a tenner right up to £120 and above, and they make a perfect utilitarian companion/shiny new toy for a gadget lover. Just make sure that the landmark that you’re asking to find, that one you’ve desperately wanted to see, isn’t actually just right behind you.
Solar phone charger
What do you get on a lovely cruise holiday in the Caribbean? Lots of shiny sunlight! What do you also get on a Caribbean cruise, when you’re getting snap-happy with your phone? A flat battery! Fret no more, sun-seekers, because there are solar phone chargers knocking about and they’re downright affordable, is what they are. Pick up one for £8 and up (and up), and you could be recharging two lots of batteries while you’re lounging around on that warm white sand.
Many solar chargers also come with a range of plug adaptors (it’s almost like they plan this stuff!), so you could be charging up your tablet too, and any other gizmos those crazy boffins come up with between now and your cruise. You can even find some mini keyring versions if portability is king; or some real Bear-Grylls-style fold-out solar mats to charge your satellite phone – if you’re heading up into the mountains to find your figurative, or actual, snow leopard.
Dancing cat speaker
Well, we’ve covered the handy and the eminently useful. But some people aren’t all that concerned with the things that make sense on a cruise holiday. For you fine, devoted lovers of all things bizarre, we give you the funkiest and furriest of cruise gadgets – the dancing cat speaker.
For too long have we suffered, listening to tunes on our smartphones that went unaccompanied by a dancing cat. For decades, music lovers have demanded to know – “Where is my dancing cat?” Well fret no more, for the audio-visual feline drought is finally over. For twenty pounds and up, you could be plugging your smartphone into a speaker that bops and jives to the latest records on the hit parade. The dancing cat speaker is the perfect companion (could have punned; didn’t) if you’re missing your real cat on your next tour of the Mediterranean – especially when the cats on your trips ashore just don’t cut it. Never has the superficial and superfluous seemed quite so necessary.
Cruising alone? Take a dancing partner. This dynamic speaker dances low, it dances high, it sways to the beat and gets those paws in the air. In fact, one might say it’s got those moves like jaguar. Sorry.
Main image courtesy of NOAA.