Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1
Cruise ship cabin electrical systems are quite complex. We group the cabins together in 3s and 4s.
There are actually 2 systems in each cabin.
The ship's working voltage in accommodations areas is 220 volts.
Since so many people from North America are challenged with the voltage the rest of the world uses, we install step-down transformers in the void spaces between the cabins, to reduce the ship's working voltage to limited 110 volts in cabins.
These step-down transformers are very expensive and can produce 110 volt power with limited wattage.
If passengers plug in too many high wattage machines in to the 110 volt power points, these transformers can overheat. In extreme cases, they can burn. A fire between the walls of passenger cabins would be very hard to extinguish.
You would be amazed at how many geniuses bring - or try to bring - blenders, electric BBQs, coffee makers, high wattage hair dryers, microwaves, electric steamers, etc.
Since we can't fix stupid, we can only hope to slow them down.
Taking away power strips forces the dumber ones to plug in one dangerous device at a time.
Yes, transformers do tend to get a bit warm. Unless the step-down transformers are well ventilated, putting them in the void spaces between cabins doesn't seem to be a very good idea. I can certainly understand the potential for some serious problems, and banning items that draw a lot of amperage is the best way to avoid those problems. But I would think that certain safeguards (i.e. quick-blow circuit breakers) have been wired into the electrical system to keep the risk of fire to a minimum. And although I've never looked before, aren't all of the outlets in each cabin the GFCI type? If not, they should be.