Most Useful Things I Brought On My Cruise: No. 4

I’m counting down a list of the five most useful things I packed for a recent 16-day cruise, and here is number 4: an outlet tap.

My outlet tap, doing double duty.

My outlet tap, doing double duty.

Truth to tell, I didn’t know what the thing was called when I packed it, even though I’d had it for years. I Googled it post-cruise. (Google knows all.) An outlet tap is essentially an outlet multiplier — plug it in and turn one outlet into several. And on many cruise ships  (including the Carnival Legend, which carried us from Tampa to Barcelona) that can turn out to be quite handy.

Before we left, my husband warned me that he’d read on Cruise Critic that even the suites on the Legend offer only one 11o-volt outlet, and that we should pack a power strip. I scoffed. How could this be? A modern cruise ship would have multiple outlets in each cabin. And a power strip would be far too bulky. But I packed the outlet tap just in case, expecting not to need it.

But he was right. There was one lonely 110-volt plug in our suite. (There was also a 220-volt European-style outlet. More on that below.)

So what to do if you have  a Kindle, a tablet, a netbook, two cameras and a cellphone? How do you keep everything charged?

You buy an outlet tap. You can get one like mine, with a grounded plug, at cvs.com for $5.99.

Here’s a tip: If you book an inside cabin you may find that you never knew what dark was until you booked an inside cabin. Pack a compact night light (and your outlet tap, of course) so you can see your way to the compact bathroom at night.

And here’s a trick: I mentioned that our cabin also had a 220-volt plug for European guests. Most electronics sold in the United States run on 110 volts or 220; the problem is the shape of the plug. A 220-volt plug converter can give you an extra outlet, as well.

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