The Unexpected Device First-Time Cruisers Won't Regret Packing

In the era of smartphones, old-school wrist watches might seem a tad archaic — at least in terms of everyday living. Sure, they look sharp, but when you can see the time simply by glancing at your phone screen, wrist watches are a redundancy. Fortunately for fans of this once-staple accessory, traditional watches are still the best way to keep track of time while you're traveling through different time zones — particularly on a cruise, whether visiting the Caribbean's best ports or spending a week touring Hawaii in style. In many ways, an analog watch is one of the most essential travel accessories for a cruise ship.

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Unless you're planning to change your phone settings, most smartphones will automatically adjust for whatever time zone you're in, a feature that can be pretty handy when it comes to things like Daylight Savings Time or driving across a state line. But this can also lead to a good deal of confusion, particularly when you're not sure if your phone is still synced up with the cruise ship. 

As Cruise Critic user beachbum53 warned, "Do NOT rely on your smart phone's clock, as it may set itself to whatever the local time is in port. More than a few have missed the ship's departure because of this." But with a standard wrist watch along for the journey, you can easily sync up your time with your cruise ship's time and itinerary so you don't have to worry about missing anything important — like your ride home.

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A watch is your temporal security plan

If nothing else, a wrist watch makes an excellent backup solution if something goes wrong with your phone. Assuming you've replaced your watch battery a reasonable length of time before your trip, you don't have to worry about it dying and leaving you stranded without the time. When you're on a cruise ship, chances are pretty good you'll end up using your phone for everything from wake-up calls to snapping vacation pics. Since all that use can zap your battery, having a watch means you've got a fairly reliable back-up plan for keeping the time in case your phone dies and you didn't bring a portable power source

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Most watches are also a good deal more durable than a smartphone, particularly when they're waterproof. And if you lose your phone or you rather unfortunately have it stolen while you're traveling, a wrist watch could be the only thing standing between you and an unplanned and unwanted extended stay in a port country.

Why you should consider going completely analog on your next cruise

There are also a few other practical reasons you should consider leaving your phone in your cabin and just using analog solutions like a wrist watch and standard digital camera. From a functionality standpoint, using your smartphone on your next cruise ship shouldn't be a problem since you should be able to get reception on your phone and shouldn't have any trouble charging it. But using your phone to make calls or texts on your trip or even access data could turn out to be one of the biggest — if easiest — mistakes you'll ever make on a cruise. In fact, one cruise goer reported a bill of more than £1,186 after leaving her phone in roaming mode on a Caribbean cruise.

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Perhaps worse depending on who you're asking, smartphones can significantly interfere with our enjoyment of a vacation since it's all too easy to pick up your phone to check the time or snap a pic and then get sucked into a doomscroll or short video rabbit hole. As Will Hatton of The Broke Backpacker advised, "Talking to strangers is a necessary part of travel. It's where the best stories are found... You want to come back with epic stories. But you want the right kind of stories: the ones you tell your grandkids. Not the ones you post on Insta."

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