WE are traveling on the milli in Feb. and are leaving our kids behind for a week. I was wondering about cell phone versus pay phone vs: on ship calling. I will feel the need to call often (although husband disagrees). Do you have any feedback on this?
cell service is iffy at best, you will be able to get cell service at most ports - but you will get whalloped with international and roaming charges. Pre-paid cards are great if they are international. The "phone stores" on most islands are a good choice- ask the crew where they call from- that's the place to go.
Check with your cell carrier. I spent about 30 minutes yesterday with my Cingular rep discussing this issue. If you have a national call plane (at least with Cingular), then there are no roaming charges AND you are using "Extended" (at least in the Bahamas) instead of local cell service.
However, I *don't* have a national plan and his advise was to turn my phone on when I was in port. If it said "roaming" then DON'T use the cell! Could be as high as $9/minute. However, if it said "cingular extended" it was okay to use because I wouldn't be using a local carrier, or if so, using one that had an arrangment with Cingular.
That all being said, the rep. suggested I just hop off at the first port and buy a phone card! Sounds easier to me!
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
When we were in San Juan last year, i used my cell phone and the charges were minimal since it is considered the "US". I suggest to check with your carrier as well. It is pretty easy to use a calling card such as a Wal-Mart or other store card as well.
My cell service (VoiceStream first, then Verizon, now T-Mobile) never worked in any of the islands. Doesn't work in the Bahamas either.
Ship-to-shore charges are outrageous but like Mike said if there is an emergency at home the $9 per minute charge is not an issue.
I would suggest you instruct the caretakers of the kids to call you only in the event of an emergency where your input is critical. Then if no calls come rest assured the kids are fine and they are probably having a great time too.
I just got back from the Imagination and my son got sick while we were gone and I had to call home alot. My cell carrier said that I would get service while in port but we didn't so we had no choice but to use the phone that was in our room. The good news is that the reception was perfect and that there was a $6.50 a minute "special" the month of Dec. supposibly. My 3 very short phone calls cost $120 off of the boat but I guess when you have kids you do what you have to do. You cannot use calling cards using the ship phones but i've heard you can use them in port at phone places.