Day 14 on your cruise countdown! Today you have to decide if you are sailing the high seas connected! To help you decide you really need to research ahead of time costs, costs and more costs. No matter where you are traveling, what country and what cruise line, the service you get from your cell phone carrier needs to be researched. There is nothing like coming home to a $500 cell phone bill after your lovely cruise. And Wifi on every ship is different!
Cell phones can be used in so many ways on your cruise. But you need to be aware of any and every charge. You can get texts only and be in touch with each other while on the ship or everyone back at home. You can have your onboard wifi packages assigned to your smart phone for all your wifi needs. You can get calls and make calls while out to sea. It’s your camera, flashlight and so much more! But just know that unless you are in airplane mode EVERYTHING COSTS!!! What you really have to learn is if you are using your own cell service, or are you on the ship’s CELL AT SEA, or Cellular at Sea where you will be charged a lot!
Cruise cell service
Call your Cell phone carrier and ask:
- What is your coverage in the countries you are visiting? Roaming charges?
- Is there a good International Plan you should get?
- Does your cell phone carrier have any Cell phone plan for Cruises?
- What are the exact charges for texting, using your wifi and taking or making calls out of the country?
- Is there a good texting plan that would work and how do you use your phone for texting only?
- How will your data plan be affected while using it out of the country or aboard the ship with wifi?
EXAMPLE – AT&T has a CRUISE PACKAGE that works in conjunction with the Cellular At Sea aboard 10 of the major Cruise Lines. But find out what that includes and the exact costs and restrictions. Just because it is called CRUISE PACKAGE, doesn’t mean it is going to be cheap. You need to know exactly how you will be charged with this plan and how to properly use it.
HINT – In your 30 day countdown to your cruise we are going to have you call your cell phone company at least two to three times to confirm that the information and plan they put you on is the correct one. Why? Inevitably we have been given the wrong prices and cell phone plans too often. Or, we totally misunderstood the package we signed up for. Three calls and three different reps seems to be the magic number to getting the correct information and plan in place! While you are at it, ask them to make notes in your file as to what you requested and the plan they put you on.
Cruise ship WiFi
WIFI – Most cruise lines now have WiFi on their ships. Some of them even offer it to you for free. A majority of the river cruises wifi is free. Some of the higher end cruise lines give you a certain amount of free Wifi minutes. What we have found is that if you pre-order your WiFi packages before you sail, you often can get it up to 20% cheaper.
You need to know that some cruise lines have excelled in having amazing WiFi onboard with very high speeds, and others are back in the dark ages and feel like dial up! And you are charged per minute used! Some ships have WiFi accessible all over the ship and others only in their Internet Cafes.
There are packages onboard that charge by the minute or have special daily or voyage long packages. Some have tier plans of what is included in your rate. It could be as simple as Social Media Channels like Facebook and Instagram, to your mail programs, web searching, Skype and video or music streaming.
Go to your Cruise Line’s Website and and see what WiFi they offer
HINT – If you are onboard and have had a terrible experience with no connection and your minutes and dollars are ticking away, go to the Purser or Guest Relations Desk and let them know you would like credit back. Most ships will do this IF you ask nicely.
HINT – We have some tricks that we use for our WiFi. We bring our iPad and download all of our emails, then we turn off the wifi, answer our emails, or write new ones, turn back on the WiFi and send! This saves us all of those minutes of actually writing the emails or reading the incoming ones.
HINT – Most cruise ship ports out of the country have great internet cafes that you can use. Ask any crew member, they use them all the time. Just be aware that you may be taking chances! We don’t ever use a password protected site out of the country. The last thing you want is your private information or passwords stolen. So DO NOT enter a password while connected at portside internet cafes.