Saturday, December 29, 2018

Communication with the Outside World When Cruising

It's Cruise Ship Saturday and today we're talking about communication with the outside world while cruising.

Nowadays communicating with the outside world while you're on a cruise ship is more efficient than ever before. Efficient but not necessarily inexpensive.

•Cell phones can often be used on the ship while at sea but high roaming charges may be incurred in international waters. Even if you have an international roaming plan, proceed with caution. Roaming rates at sea are a lot higher than regular international roaming rates. For example, I pay 20 cents a minute for calls all around the world. But once at sea the cruise ship rate kicks in and charges me $5.99 a minute. That cost is set by the cruise line, not by my carrier.

Rather have this?

Or this?

And we're not even talking data! (That's $15 for 1MB - which amounts to browsing one webpage or reading one email. Yikes!)  Many a passenger has come home to an outrageous cell phone bill. Don't be one of them. My daughter who worked for a mobile company tells me she once had a customer call with a bill over $2,000 (double yikes!) because they didn't understand how it worked on a cruise ship. 

Contact your cell carrier before leaving home as they can advise you on the best plans for voice and data while in port or at sea. Otherwise keep your phone in airplane mode, particularly at sea. The alarm, clock, camera, and any stored or downloaded music, movies, games, and books will still be available.

•The internet is a great way to communicate but not necessarily when cruising. Internet is not free and may be slow. (Now if you're sailing on the Caribbean Princess or Regal Princess it's a different story. MedallionNet is super fast and super reliable. Check it out!) Your ship may offer internet packages for a flat fee. Internet services can be accessed either on your own electronic device or at the ship’s internet cafĂ©. To conserve internet minutes compose those emails offline first before logging on.

•Some ships have an app for texting other passengers on the ship. Sure makes it easier to track down the rest of your group.

•The ship has a satellite phone if there is a need to make a call from the ship to back home. This can be an expensive way to communicate and is used primarily for emergencies.

Check into all options before heading out on your cruise. Once on the ship it will be too late. Don't be one of the $2,000 bill people!