Mom’s Love for Cruise Ship Tracker During My Vacation – A Tale of Continuous Updates

Woman on a cruise

Being a 90s baby with a very protective and watchful mother meant that she always knew of my whereabouts despite the limited technology available then. The launch of Find My Friends and the option to share locations must have been one of her best days. Although I’m close to 30 now and she is less worried, that protective nature never subsided. So, it comes as no surprise that she was ecstatic to learn about cruise ship trackers when I informed her about my upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise trip earlier this year.

There’s a slight reversal these days; she is the grounded one while I am always on-the-go. But let’s keep things in perspective: This is a woman who rang up my college dormitory assistant because she feared something bad may have happened to me when I failed to respond to her morning text. In reality, a class had been canceled so I slept in. So, when I informed her about my cruise trip, she began to worry and think up of worst-case-scenarios.

I decided to mollify her fears by utilizing a cruise ship tracker during our three-day journey. It could prove beneficial if you have family members out at sea, or if you’re on a cruise and have anxious family members back home. Here’s our experience using a cruise ship tracker.

Related: The #1 Unexpected Thing To Pack When You’re Going on a Cruise

A cruise ship tracker functions exactly as the name suggests. Similar to flight trackers or Amtrak trains, a cruise ship tracker lets you view the location of an active ship either via an application or website. According to Cruising Earth, Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, a requirement set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for most ships weighing more than 300 tons, makes this tracker possible.

The accuracy and regularity of a ship’s tracking updates are determined by its distance from the shore. It could be slower in transmitting its location to data points when crossing large bodies of water.

Thanks to the requirement that major cruise lines report their location through AIS and VHF radios, as cited by Cruise Critic, it is rather straightforward to track them on a cruise tracker. The accuracy depends on the distance it is into the ocean, but it’s generally a safe bet that a three-day cruise from Florida to the Bahamas will be pretty accurate with numerous AIS data points.

Although Royal Caribbean does not have an official cruise tracker, there are multiple websites to choose from.

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CruiseMapper is user-friendly, and Royal Caribbean is one of the first lines you can select so you only see their ships. You can search the ship name you’re on (such as the Icon of the Seas, their largest ship). The website reveals the ship’s location, docking status, and destination, along with the expected arrival date and time. Other details like weather and water conditions are included, which adds a fun element. CruiseMapper even provides a ship’s route, allowing you to see its past and future paths.

Another good platform is Cruisin, which allows you to select your cruise line and ship’s name at the outset. It also displays your journey’s past route, inclusive of dates and timings.

Cruise Hive may not let you search your cruise line like others, which can be inconvenient if you don’t know a ship’s location. But, if you’re aware of its docking position, it’s easy to locate. The navigation is quite user-friendly once you find the ship. You can activate alerts for the ship after locating it. Cruise Hive is rich in ship page content, offering 3D maps, the last port calls, and more.

Marine Vessel stands as a top cruise ship tracker due to its ability to select your cruise line at the top, coupled with its straightforward operation. Upon locating your ship, you can click “Track” to trace its path, or click “Details” to open a new window providing a comprehensive rundown of the ship, including its recent port calls (brief docking locations).

While exploring the Apple Store, I tested numerous apps. Many were ineffective or demanded payment for basic functions – a significant downside for those desiring a mobile app for cruise ship tracking. MarineTraffic presents a viable solution. It operates similarly to Cruise Hive, albeit without a filter-based ship search. However, you can search for a ship in the search bar. Once found, it’s saved in your log for easy reference. You can view the ship’s destination along with the scheduled docking date and time. It also discloses the latest update received regarding your ship’s journey – a handy feature if you question its accuracy. Despite numerous paid features, it seems to duly cover basic ship tracking needs.

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As revealed earlier, my mother is a fan of Find My Friends, as am I. Naturally, that was her first choice, however, it had an unfortunate malfunction, giving me all the more reason to appreciate having forwarded her cruise tracking apps beforehand.

When my mother utilized the Find My Friends application, there were technical issues and it erroneously reported my location as Brooklyn… Brooklyn in New York, to be precise.

Initially, I was taken aback; could we have drifted that far north? It was an improbable situation given the short time span, the warm weather, and the fact that we had to be in the Bahamas by the following day. As you must have inferred, reader, we hadn’t wandered off that far. This bizarre episode left me feeling bewildered and provided a good laugh for my girlfriend and me. I monitor their locations via Find My Friends as well, and it reported identical information for both of us.

The cruise tracker that my mom decided to use, which proved quite helpful was the MarineTraffic – Ship Tracking app for iPhone.

She explained to me post our trip, “I thought it was very exciting to keep tabs on the ship’s coordinates at sea. I noticed when it neared the island, and the other assorted details were equally intriguing. It also provided me with the distance from my location.”

Even though a Royal Caribbean cruise is a safe place and we adhered to our planned itinerary, the cruise ship tracker allowed my mom to relax. She was aware she could check on our docking or sailing location, particularly when the Find My Friends was acting up. 

Coming soon: My #1 Unexpected Favorite Thing Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Newest Ship ‘Icon of the Seas’–REVIEW

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