8 Free Phone Apps Every Cruiser Should Have

May 2, 2012 | By | 15 Comments

Smart phones make life easier in so many ways, including preparing for and taking a cruise. From helping you pack to mapping a port city, downloadable phone apps have replaced pen, paper and guidebooks as the way du jour to jot reminders and research information. Multiple developers have created similar apps, so we weeded through them all and selected the best free apps for helping you cruise. While most of these apps have advertising-free versions with more features for a fee (usually 99 cents to $2.99 each), we felt the freeware versions were more than sufficient.
Fortunately, many apps do not need live wireless signals, which aren’t always available at sea. Before relying on apps that do require wireless connections (which we’ve noted); check with your cell phone service provider to make sure you have the appropriate service plan, or else you may accrue exorbitant roaming charges.
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Have your own favorite app you use for cruising? Tell us about it in the comments.
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    15 Responses to “8 Free Phone Apps Every Cruiser Should Have”

    1. Mary Douglas
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

      To the author – not everyone has an iPhone or iPad. Please, in the future, identify what platform the suggest apps work on. I have an Android device and several of your suggestions have no comparable app on that platform. You would have saved me some time if you had mentioned you were suggesting apps that work on your iPhone or iPad.

    2. Rodney Dickhute
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

      Very interesting!! Thank you for sharing, even though I don’t have an Iphone I did appreciate you effort, BTW I wasted like 5 minutes of my time too! Some people will complain about everything!

    3. bert
      May 3rd, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

      Try Ship Mate. They have it for all major cruise lines and it gives deck plans, excursions, a count down to your departure, among other things.

    4. Lisa
      May 4th, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

      Try Portpal – it is for the iPhone, but has the itineraries of almost all cruise ships, plus Port information, maps, restaurant and attraction suggestions.

    5. Amanda
      May 4th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

      I agree with Mary Douglas. Not everyone is running ios. It wouldn’t be so bad if this were a list instead of a slideshow, but now that I know the majority of them are not available on Android, it seems like it’ll be a waste of time to watch it at all.

    6. sharonshaw
      May 6th, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

      deck chair hogs last trip people not only saves the deck chair but allday and sat at a table and took up a table all day not using the deck insane rude and HOGS

    7. Cruise Critic
      May 7th, 2012 @ 11:01 am

      Cruise Critic’s assistant editor here, sorry we didn’t mention which platforms these apps are available on. I own an Android phone and just went through to check, and found that the only apps not available on Android were Pack the Bag and USA Today Autopilot. I simply searched for each of them by name in the Google Play Store (which is now the default app store for Android) and had no problem finding the others.

      Happy Travels!


    8. Brenda
      May 7th, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

      @Bert – how the heck do you use ShipMate on an iPhone? I downloaded it and am trying to load my upcoming cruise on Sapphire Princess, but the screen goes blank and returns to the home screen before I can select that ship. This app looked pretty cool but so far it’s just a waste of $2.00!

    9. Ana
      May 16th, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

      I got ShipMate for free for my Android phone. I love it… It gives you the countdown, explore your ship, decks, research excursions, plan daily itinerary and where is your ship and now you can also see where the rest the ships for the same company are. as as example, if u download the Princess you will see where all the Princess ships are. Also the feedback response is quick .

    10. Helen
      May 16th, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

      The USA Today Autopilot sounds great, BUT, read the reviews before you download. Apparently it used to be OK, but with recent software upgrades, it crashes all the time!

    11. Richard
      May 16th, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

      Just downloaded Portpal to my MacBook Pro and cannot get Portpal to open to input a cruise itinerary ?

    12. Chris
      May 17th, 2012 @ 11:29 am

      We just went on the Norweigen Star and I suggested to them and for that matter any cruise line (if they want people using their phones :))
      If they had an app that they could see daily activities to and set reminders for things of interest like show times and dinner reservation reminders would be fantastic for cruising. They could also send out any cruise director messages so you didnt miss anything.

    13. Roberta Gerlach
      May 27th, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

      These sound useful if you need to keep in contact with teens or wandering adults, but aren’t you on vacation?? Lose the electronics and enjoy the real sounds. :-)

    14. Nynke
      April 2nd, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

      Have a look at River mApp, it’s a great app for river cruises.

    15. Nynke
      June 2nd, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

      Rhine River App has been released, Main / Main-Danube Canal & Danube are coming soon.

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