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daisey 06-20-2011 05:36 PM

Cell Phones
My husband and I haven't been on a cruise in almost two years, so we are having major cruise withdrawal. We took a break from cruising because of the birth of our beautiful daughter. We are planning our next cruise, but our little girl will be only a little over a year old, so we thought it best to leave her with the grandparents (they are ecstatic). I am nervous about leaving her for a week. The last time we cruised with Carnival, they were working on enhancing cell phone service with a new satellite system. My provider is Verizon. Has anyone had experience using cell phones on board recently? I don't think I can make it if I can't call and check on her every day.

penny3333 06-21-2011 06:20 AM

Hi daisey, congratulations on your daughter and up-coming cruise! I think you've made a great decision to leave the little one with her grandparents. Maybe in a couple more years, when she's able to enjoy more of the ship's ammenities-Camp Carnival, the kiddie pool, etc., y'all can take her with you. She'll be hooked immediately:)

Check with Verizon before you leave. We had service in many ports, but they charge a roaming fee. I believe they have packages you can purchase for international calling that would be less expensive than your cell phone, but you could check first. When we were at sea, we did get some signal depending on where we were (like just leaving a port or sailing near islands). Just be sure to check first, so you won't be surprised with a huge bill.

They also have internet packages you can purchase, so that might be an option, too. Satellite service is improved, but can still be spotty. I know the ship to shore radio/phone always works, but is expensive. All ships have to have better access because more and more they rely on on-line services.

We have AT&T, we had service in St. Thomas, San Juan, Antigua, Tortolla, St. Johns, Virgin Gorda, Aruba, Bonaire, Cozumel, St. Kitts, Barbados, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Grand Turk, Nassau, Freeport, and a few others that I'm forgetting. But...most of them had roaming fees.

Hope this helps a little.

susanmaz 06-21-2011 12:24 PM

If you call from aboard the ship, you will be connecting using the ship's satellite . . . will be expensive. If you call from shore - make sure you are far enough away from the ship's satellite that you don't inadvertently pick it up. Definitely check with your carrier what coverage you will have in your ports.

Jim C. 06-21-2011 01:35 PM

We left our oldest at that age for a cruise. SHe had a blast playing with Grandma and Grandpa and didn't even notice we were gone. My wife had a worse time of it than our daughter did. Don't worry about it.

And yes, they have since put Cellular at Sea (you can google on that company name for more info. But I have Verizon service and know the deal. For voice calls you will be charged the International Roaming Rate. I think you can buy a international roaming plan to make this cheaper if you need it but if you don't its $2.50 a minute. Its a quarter to send a text and 5 cents to receive a text. You should call Verizon and make sure they enable you account to use the service (add international roaming which I think they will do for free) We used texts for "emergency contact" and then used email from the internet cafe on the ship to send emails. If you HAVE to talk with the grandparents then the 2.50 a minute is still cheaper than the ship to land phone charges.

Hope that helps

daisey 06-21-2011 06:28 PM

Thanks for the replies. I am sure she will have a great time with the Grandparents, I'm the one that will struggle. I will contact Verizon and I plan on using e-mail as well.

MCPayne 06-21-2011 07:02 PM

One other thing that wasn't mentioned regarding phones. If you have a smartphone, make sure you turn off the data feature. Otherwise the phone will constantly be gathering data (checking for e-mails, etc). and you will be incurring those international data rate charges as well.

Jim C. 06-24-2011 07:52 AM

Yes.. McPayne is correct. I forgot to mention that. I normally turn off data roaming and THEN put the phone into airplane mode before shutting it off. That way when you turn on your smart phone to make a voice call or text its not trying to download your email when it turns on. Remember.. you HAVE to shut it of completely or it will be syncing data in the background when the screen is "off". You don't want to see the bill for a weeks worth of international data roaming...

wooddon 06-24-2011 07:06 PM

We always send text messages from the ship to our family and friends and the bill was not that bad. We never make any phone calls, just tests and it work fine, even out in the ocean. We are with Rogers. They also text me back all the time. It's cheaper and faster than trying to use the ship internet. We gave up trying to use the internet after two attemps.

Wheels87 06-25-2011 04:48 AM

Just a note about texting...I have Sprint and when I was on the Fascination in November, it was $0.50 to send a text and $0.05 to receive a text. Then, on the Elation last week it was now $0.15 to send a text, so the rate changed.

Either way, the cost of sending a few text messages every day are negligible compared to the cost of your cruise and the piece of mind you will get is priceless.

My wife and I have cruised many times while Grandma watched the children for us and we never had a problem, although, four years ago, when we got to St. Thomas on the seventh day and had cell service, we found out that everyone had had a stomach virus and had spent multiple days throwing up. We felt bad, but everyone was OK. Just remember to sign a letter before you leave, giving the caretaker permission to seek medical care on your daughter's behalf. That is very important.

The bottom line is that you really shouldn't have to worry, if you really trust the person you are leaving your child with. If you don't trust them, why would you leave your child with them? Grandma will do just fine!

I hope you have a great cruise!


daisey 06-25-2011 08:05 AM

I have no doubt that my daughter will have a great time and be totally spoiled. I totally trust the grandparents and I have no concerns about leaving her with them. The struggle is going to be for me to be away from her for a week, but I am looking foward to the cruise. Thanks for all the replies. Texting may be a much better option for us. I hadn't considered the data charges. We will be sure to turn off the data option on our smart phone. Thanks for all the help!

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