We will be traveling on the Oasis of the Seas on Saturday (March 6th), and I was wondering if our cell phones will have a signal while at sea? Will we have to update our service to international for them to work in St.Thomas,St.Maarten, and in the Bahamas?
Welcome to Cruise-Chat,
Your phone may work at sea, but it will be picking up the ship's cell phone service. It could be very expensive. You may or may not be able to use it in the islands. I was able to use verizon in Puerto Rico at no extra cost. You should check with your provider to find out what is included with your service.
I had to communicate with Verizon on my first cruise and they seemed extremely interested in my convenience, and gave me all the time I thought I needed to understand how the at-sea calls would work. I've never had any problem with Verizon's CS department in as much as finding out how and where my phone will work. Interesting.
The service is through "Cellular at Sea" you can look them up on the internet if you wish. Sonny has the correct rate, its $2.50 per minute or 25 cents a text. These are the "international roaming rates" that Verizon charges. Which is what Cellular at Sea charges for on board cellular service. Its cheaper than ship to shore from your cabin phone if you need to call someone, but it is not the same rates as your local plan. Also note that if you don't have international roaming enabled on your phone and you want to use this service on the ship, you need to call Verizon before you leave and enable it. (I don't think they charge you to enable it but its not on by default)
1) this charge is the same even if you are calling someone on the ship with you. Its treating as a normal cellular call.
2) If you have a smart-phone, make sure you turn the data feature off or turn your phone off once on the ship. If your phone is on, its going to be checking email etc.. and you will be charge international data rates for the privilege of receiving male enhancement emails through-out your cruise..
3) They are supposed to shut the on board cellular system off when entering port, but verify that you are not roaming on the ship system before making a call in port.
4) while not specifically on board coverage- be aware that in most ports (except maybe Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), you are not covered under your local cell plan and will most likely be internationally roaming there also. Watch yourself...
Definitely be careful of the useage, and turn off the data plan if you have a smart phone. Our local newspaper (in Canada) posted a story this summer of someone who spent 2 weeks in Trinidad (not on a cruise) and ran up a $10,000 cell bill by texting and going online (e.g. facebook). He was using the phone the same way as he does at home and didn't realize that those international charges can really add up!
Detroit Mark, You were right, I contacted Verizon Customer Service, and they couldn't have been more helpful. They wanted to know all of the islands that we would be visiting, and what ship we would be on. He knew exactly what rates would be charged at what location for phone calls and text messaging. Thanks for your help.