Can I take my CPAP on a Cruise Ship?

Can I take my CPAP on a Cruise Ship?

Read time: 5 minutes

What’s inside?

  • Do all cruise ship companies allow CPAP machines?
  • Can I just plug my CPAP in and go?
  • Can I take my CPAP humidifier on my cruise?
  • What about air temperature… how hot is too hot?
  • What’s your Plan B?


Summer time… and the living is easy…

Only it may not be if you can’t reliably use your CPAP machine wherever you go.

This week, we look at how cruise companies treat us CPAP users…


Do all cruise ship companies allow CPAP machines?

The short answer is… probably.

When researching for this piece, we spoke with 16 major cruise companies and every one of them welcomed CPAP users.

So, why only say ‘probably’?

Well, while all these major companies seemed pretty switched-on as to the needs of CPAP-using customers, there are always going to be some that don’t have enough experience to know what to do when someone with sleep apnea turns-up and starts asking about distilled water.

Although the main message is good news, it always makes sense to double-check before your book.


Can I just plug my CPAP in and go?

Every cruise company we contacted could accommodate the standard 220v and 110v AC. However, even different ships in the same cruise company can vary around the 220v/230v and 110v/115v/120v range.

If you have a modern CPAP machine it will be rated to a minimum and maximum range. For example, my Resmed Airsense 10 has an operating range of 100v to 240v AC with a frequency range of 50Hz to 60Hz. So, it can operate on pretty much any infrastructured mains supply.

Most cruise ships seem to work on a 60Hz frequency but, again, it is worth checking the finer details before giving them your money.

Reaching the plug socket may be a stretch from your cabin-bed though.

All cruise companies made it clear extension leads were welcome. However, some were also adamant surge-protected extensions or plug-boards were not to be used onboard. The reasoning given was they could interfere with the ship’s electrics.

How true is this?... Absolutely no idea. But given you’ll be the one stuck at sea if the ship’s power supply goes wonky, probably not worth testing.

So… another one worth checking with your cruise company before booking.

A simple hack for all travellers, not just CPAP users, is to carry just one multi-travel adapter that covers the majority of global wall sockets (or 2 if you really want to cover your bases). Couple this with a plugboard (a 4-gang usually fits well into a suitcase or backpack) from your home country that you can simply plug your own appliances into, and you are set.

Just plug the extension plugboard into the local wall using the appropriate plug adapter from your multi-adapter and… voila. You is done.


Can I take my CPAP humidifier on my cruise?

The simple answer is yes, as it will work just fine.

However, almost every cruise company said they would not supply distilled water. Feedback from past customers indicates individual ships are often more helpful than this, but it probably isn’t one you want to rely on.

So, if you really do need your humidifier AND you’re a stickler for distilled water, it may be prudent to try sourcing this around your port of departure. Carrying a 5-litre carton of water with you could be impractical, especially if you are flying to your departure port.

Although this is not advice, it could be handy to remember most CPAP users are happy to use bottled water for their humidifiers while travelling. Personally, I’ve done this in the past with no visible issues in the water tank, hose or mask.

From an availability perspective, all cruise companies we spoke with said they could supply bottled water. Few would confirm whether this was chargeable, though.


What about air temperature… how hot is too hot?

Out on deck, you may be enjoying the cool sea breeze as the sun shines down on your happy life.

Back in your cabin, your CPAP machine may not be so fortunate.

Using the Airsense 10 as an example, the operating temperatures range from 5C (41F) to 35C (95F). This may seem a wide range but if you are in a particularly warm part of the world, maybe around the equator, and there’s no air-conditioning in your room… that temperature could be reached – even overnight.

The solution?... Check your cabin will have air-conditioning and ask what they would do if the air-con failed during your trip.

It always helps to have a Plan B.


And that Plan B should include…

Any spares you can find space to pack.

Being a few days into a 2-week trip and finding your hose has sprung a leak won’t be good.

Yes, some things could be botch-repaired on the hoof, but issues like a ripped mask are likely to spell a lot of nights without your CPAP machine.

It should be easy enough to pack an extra hose, mask and filter. Maybe even a back-up battery, just in case.

Plan for the worst and you’ll have more time to concentrate on the best.


Happy Cruising!

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