Whether you’re just beginning to research the perfect ship or you’re already on board, these must-have smartphone apps will help you navigate the (occasionally choppy) waters.
With more than 12,000 itineraries on 20-plus cruise lines, the new Cruise Finder app by iCruise has one of the largest listings databases out there-plus plenty of other features to smooth your sailings. Want to preview your digs? Check out the detailed cabin photos and deck plans. Need help locating the port on departure day? The app provides step-by-step directions from your front door. iPhone, iPad, free, requires Wi-Fi.*
It's easy to lose track of all the scattershot incidental costs that add up over the course of a cruise. Typing daily expenses like tips, excursions, and that round of karaoke-lounge mai tais into the Cruise Card Control app each night helps ward off any sail's-end surprises at the purser's desk. Bonus: The app's running tally doesn't require Wi-Fi, so you can watch your spending without going overboard on data fees. iPhone, iPad, $2.
For Insider Advice
The social-network-style Always Be Cruising app provides an instant entry point into the passionate community of die-hard cruisers: After creating a profile and sharing your itinerary, you can connect with other passengers-past, present, or future-and get advice on anything from where to book the best deal and which buffet to avoid, to which cruise director doles out the most upgrades. iPhone, iPad, free, requires Wi-Fi.*
The vast range of activities found on today's megaships can be overwhelming- Waterslides! Rock climbing! Casinos!-but Ship Mate makes managing your time a painless proposition. Set up a daily schedule (for Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, Costa, or MSC cruises), peruse deck maps, and plan excursions using the app's guides, which include prices for each outing. iPhone, iPad, $2 each.
*Cruise ships usually charge for Wi-Fi on board (expect to pay around 75¢ a minute).