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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-29-2008, 12:41 PM
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My husband and I are taking the RCL Brillance on 8/21. I have had a wonderful experience planning our self-guided excursions through this site. Now, we're down to our last 2 issues...overseas phone service(I know the ship is exhorbitant) and ATM/credit card advice. I would appreciate any input on these 2 topics or where I should look. thanks!
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:57 PM
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There will be an ATM aboard the ship. You can also always get cash from the casino cashier against whatever card you register with the ship, that's what I usually do so I don't have to carry a lot at the outset. They just add it to your tally at the end that you'll sign for with gratuities and other charges onboard. I've heard some lines charge a small fee for cash advances but have never been charged by RCCL fo doing it this way. That way you don't even get hit with ATM charges.

For the phone situation, it is very pricey to use your phone aboard the ship and some plans have high roaming charges off the ship as well when overseas. This is a question for your cell provider. Also they can provide you a map of where their cell towers are for coverage. There may be towers accessible that are out of network, but again there would be add'l fees on some plans for out of network access. If it appears the costs of your plan for such call is going to be prohibitive, you may want to research international calling cards and use pay or public phones. Another option for staying in touch is to research any free wireless hot-spots and bring your laptop. You can use it for email that way while at port or there are some pretty inexpensive wireless phone programs that will work from your laptops speakers and mic. You can make calls with these programs with your laptop and never have to use your phone. The wireless hot-spots are becoming more common at hotels, resort, coffee shops etc. worldwide in industrialized countries.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:35 PM
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Thanks Neil,
I assume the ship's ATM will give us US money. How about Euros? We will research international calling cards. Bringing our laptop is just another bag.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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Forget about the ATM aboard the ship as they charge a high fee and dispense dollars. We have also noticed that they are often out of order. You are going to need Euros, and the best deal is using ATMs ashore. They are everywhere, work on the STAR,Cirrus, Visa and about every other net. You should notify your issuing bank of your itinerary, and have a 4 digit PIN and know that PIN in numbers (not letters). Many banks do charge some fee for using an ATM, but the fee and rate of exchange work-out as the best rate as long as you take out larger amounts (we seldom take less than 200 Euros). There will be a daily limit which is normally 300 - 500 Euros depending on your bank. VISA and MC are also widely accepted (AMEX is less accepted). You should also notify your credit card companies (usually through your bank) of your itinerary to avoid any possible security issue. As to phones, we still find the best rates are by using phone cards. Depending on the country, there are different cards although you can also use universal cards that give you toll free numbers for each country. Its also possible to use some cell phones (you need to arrange this in advance with your cell carrier) but the prices are quite high. We are out of the country nearly 6 months a year, and seldom use phones since we prefer to use e-mail (internet cafes are everywhere). Also be aware that travelers checks are becoming obsolete and harder to cash in Europe, but they do cash them for free on all the cruise ships.

Hank
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hank:
Forget about the ATM aboard the ship as they charge a high fee and dispense dollars. We have also noticed that they are often out of order. RCI will usually set up a desk to sell Euros (for dollars) but they do not give a favorable rate. You are going to need Euros, and the best deal is using ATMs ashore. They are everywhere, work on the STAR,Cirrus, Visa and about every other net. You should notify your issuing bank of your itinerary, and have a 4 digit PIN and know that PIN in numbers (not letters). Many banks do charge some fee for using an ATM, but the fee and rate of exchange work-out as the best rate as long as you take out larger amounts (we seldom take less than 200 Euros). There will be a daily limit which is normally 300 - 500 Euros depending on your bank. VISA and MC are also widely accepted (AMEX is less accepted). You should also notify your credit card companies (usually through your bank) of your itinerary to avoid any possible security issue. As to phones, we still find the best rates are by using phone cards. Depending on the country, there are different cards although you can also use universal cards that give you toll free numbers for each country. Its also possible to use some cell phones (you need to arrange this in advance with your cell carrier) but the prices are quite high. We are out of the country nearly 6 months a year, and seldom use phones since we prefer to use e-mail (internet cafes are everywhere). Also be aware that travelers checks are becoming obsolete and harder to cash in Europe, but they do cash them for free on all the cruise ships.

Hank
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:30 PM
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Thank you, Hank, for the excellent information. You are definitely an experienced traveler, and everyone can benefit from your input. Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:26 PM
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If you are taking a laptop with you, install Skype on it. Just need a set of headphones and you can call anywhere in the world over the internet. Did it in Jun 08; plan to do it again in Oct. Even with the ships per minute charges (if you buy bulk) and the .02 per minute Skype charge, you are way ahead of the game. Works like a charm.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:33 PM
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Hi ftroute,
Unfortunately, we do not plan to take our laptop..just another piece of luggage, Do you have any other suggestions for overseas phone service?
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:52 PM
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Hello. Last year in north africa, and in south america the year before, we just used the coins in local currency, and went to a pay phone. There were alot of "phone kiosks", everywhere. All you need to know is the country code, of the country you are calling. Of course, you can't receive calls, unless you give them the number and time to call, and hope no one is on that certain payphone. I thought it was very cheap to call home this way. They were always very helpful also, if we had questions or concerns. We told our family to email us, for emergent issues. We checked our email everyday, at a internet cafe. Otherwise, we just called home every few days. Its just a thought. Hope this helps. Lil' Lori
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:31 PM
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Thanks for the advice. It sounds much easier to use coins in a pay phone for a quick call. Onboard, we will use our free internet minutes to communicate with my sister.
 
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