Whether you're looking for a cruise or looking to find more enjoyment from your trip on the high seas, apps can help. Here are some favorites from experts on the cruise industry. All of the apps work with iOS devices (iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads), and several also have Android versions. Other operating systems are noted.
Cruise Finder, by iCruise (iOS, Android): Helps cruisers find deals. The iPad version features interactive deck plans. Recent enhancements include listings for river cruise lines, cruise price alerts, online booking and itinerary maps. Free
Cruise! A Guide to Ships and Trips, by Anne Chalfant, from SutroMedia (iOS): Assists novice-to-veteran cruisers with filters to sort cruises based on price, pampering, kid-friendliness, etc. Global itineraries include Africa, Alaska, the Arctic and Australia. Chalfant describes the app as providing "the lowdown on everything from how cruise lines make their money (and how you can save yours) to tips on getting the best cabin, the best ship for kids, the right itinerary," etc. More than 1,100 photos are onboard, and Chalfant updates the app frequently. $3.99
Ship Mate (iOS): Encompasses deck plans and itineraries for these cruise lines: Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, P&O, Princess and Royal Caribbean. The app allows travel agents to create client profiles for shared communication. A roll-call feature shows cruisers who will be onboard, and a direct-messaging tool can launch communication before sailing. $1.99 (A comprehensive Android version is in development; free versions of Ship Mate are available for individual cruise lines.)
Deck Director (iOS with an HD version for iPad): Keeps cruisers from getting lost onboard Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean ships. Deck plans for three ships are included; additional plans can be purchased in app. The app itself is free.
WT360 Pro from Weather Trends International (iOS): Weather app with predictive abilities to project weather up to a year in advance. 99 cents (or free for a Lite version with ads)
Voxer (iOS, Android): Allows you to send text, audio and photo messages to friends, family and fellow shipmates. It requires a data connection. Free
The Storyteller App, by Crystal Cruises (iOS): A photo app for cruisers to customize and share photos of their cruise, and it includes an option to create a paper postcard that can be signed and mailed during the cruise. Free
Find-ER by Air Ambulance Card (iOS): Essential app for storing your medical info and emergency contacts and for finding a nearby hospital using your phone's GPS. Free
Whatsapp Messenger (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, Nokia): Allows users to send text messages to a group or individuals without incurring domestic or international SMS fees. A data connection is needed. 99 cents.
TourWrist (iOS): Entertaining app that turns a panoramic photo taken with the iPhone's camera into an interactive panoramic picture. Free
Quilt (iOS): App to create a blog/quilt of memories as you make them on a trip. Share pictures and texts across your own private network with fellow passengers, family and friends back home, etc. Free
Gogobot (iOS): Travel app that allows you to create postcards, see which friends have been there and/or post a question to Gogobot.com for tips on the next port of call. Free
For more cruise apps, check out http://www.lat.ms/13B2uqo