Wireless Communications on Cruises

Old Aug 5th, 2010, 11:21 AM
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Wireless Communications on Cruises

Our HAL brochure conveniently tells us that we can use our cell phones on board their ships. I followed up with our cell service provder (mine is AT&T Mobile) and learned that our cell phones would have to have to be adjusted for the month our cruise takes place costing $20 per phone, a one-time charge and we would be charged $1.99 per minute for phone usage for all calls my partner would make to make to each other (eg. "Honey, where are you? Meet me on the Promenade deck in 5 minutes"). The customer service representative suggested text messaging as a possible cost saver. I'm thinking possibly using a pair of inexpensive, short range two-way walkie/talkie radios both on board ship and when we venture ashore.

What kind of rates and charges have you had using your cell phones at sea and while ashore? How reliable is the service provided by the ships and when you are ashore on excursions?
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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While you are at sea, if the ship provides any type of cell phone service, you will be paying an international roaming charges. I have seeen 2 ways radios and my opinion is that it doesn't work all that well based on what I understood from people who had it. I am led to believe that the range and the interference is a problem and I also question the batteries life.

It is best to meet up at a certain place at a certian time.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Normally you pay up tp $4.99 per minute to use a cell phone on a ship, so this strikes me as a relative bargain. But text messaging rates will also be more than the usual expensive rates AT&T usually charges.

Two way radios are popular and common aboard ships these days. They could be a reasonably priced alternative.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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On top of what others have said, I have found it doesn't always work that well both with phone and computer.
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 02:14 AM
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I had similar concerns and questions, especially when we cruised with our teens. In the end, we did no wireless communication and it worked out - so add into the mix whether or not you really need this. Arrangements such as setting a time to touch base or meet for lunch was enough. An occasional note left in cabin covered the rest. Assess the downside - do you want to be lounging on a quiet deck, and have the radio squawk at you "what are you doing now?"

Not passing judgement - really - since I am one who feels naked if I am not reachable 24 hours/day by family - but you might just want to live with a slightly lower level of reachable-ness onboard. I was surprised how relaxing it was.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 07:52 AM
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A lot of the two-way radios (especially the inexpensive ones) don't have the "signal strength" to penetrate the steel walls of the ship and are good for only a couple hundred feet. Even though they may be advertised as having a range of say "5 miles" that generall means if you are standing on a mountaintop on a perfectly clear day with an unobstructed line of sight to the other unit which is in the valley below where you are standing.

I guess I'm old fashion but I never could understand why some people feel the need to constantly be in touch with others in their party. For us, simply setting up times when and where to meet works well. we don't need voice to voice communication.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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The phone in the cabins usually has voice mails. There are house phones by most of the public area. I have travelled with family and friends and we set time to meet up for breakfast or dinner. Maybe meet up at a bar or at a show. None of us really wanted to be with each other 24/7. An occassionl daily contact is all that is needed.

As to me and DW, we are always together with few exceptions and we tell each other where we are going before we go on our own and how long we will be gone for. I really don't see a need for cell phone, two way radios etc to stay in touch. What is the worst case scenario? You don't see each other till bed time. If one of you is missing from a shore excursion, they will be paging.
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Old Aug 13th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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Thank you one & all for your comments. I can see it's not worth it to use your cell phone for casual communication. We can do without cell phones during the cruise.
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Old Aug 13th, 2010, 07:14 PM
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The rates charged by the US carriers to use your mobile on cruise ships varies a little. All the major carriers except tmobile charge $2.49/min. Tmobile charges $4.99 min. I'd say use sms if you really need to use your mobile.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 01:01 PM
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mrcamp, Please excuse my ignorance, I don't know what sms is. Thank you for educating me.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 03:40 PM
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sms is short for text messaging
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 03:41 PM
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sms = short message service
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