We are debating whether to buy two way radioes or rely on cell phones... wondering who has had bad luck with reception. There are six of us using different companies (one with mild alzheimers, so we want to keep track of him). We are doing W Caribbean - grand cayman, belize, cozumel, honduras.
I know one of us has Sprint, another has ATT, not sure of the others yet.
October 1997 Princess (Bahamas)
October 2000 Carnival Tropicale
October 2006 Carnival Miracle
October 2009 Carnival Legend
Cell phones don't typically work unless you are in port. And depending what port, there could be VERY expensive roaming charges. Remember, when you are using your cell phone as a cell phone, you are calling your "home number." Also, there are no cell towers in the ocean! We have international service on our phones, and they still don't work at sea. We had better luck and reliability with a decent walkie-talkie. Plus if it is lost, it isn't a major issue.
Most if not all of the Carnival ships have cellular service antennas on the ship that work 24 / 7 except in ports they turn off their antennas and you have to use a port cell tower. I know our ATT works, you will need to call you service provider and make sure your particular phone will work and the option has been set up on your account....But they can get expensive.
We are debating whether to buy two way radios or rely on cell phones... wondering who has had bad luck with reception. There are six of us using different companies (one with mild Alzheimer's, so we want to keep track of him). We are doing W Caribbean - grand cayman, Belize, Cozumel, Honduras.
I know one of us has Sprint, another has ART, not sure of the others yet.
Your ART phone will work at all times onboard the ship. Wireless communication systems that service all major cell carriers have been in place for well over a year on all Carnival ships. The cost per/minute will be around $2.95 when you are onboard.
When the ship is in or near port they turn off their cell service and you will roam to whatever provider is available. The cost/minute will be anywhere from .99/minute to over $5. Check with your cell provider to see the charges for your itinerary.
If you do want to use your cell phones make sure you call your provider and have them turn on "International Roaming". I know that on ATT and Verizon this service is at no additional cost but it must be on your list of features for you to make a call from outside the U.S.
In regard to walkie-talkies you can use Motorola Talkabout units with FRS and GMRS capability. They work pretty well on the ships but there will be "dead spots" on the ship where you may not be able to send or receive. I.E. Someone on a low deck and someone else on the upper deck. There are more powerful VHF units but they are illegal in most countries and are very expensive.
If you plan on checking on people a lot I would recommend the walkie-talkie route. If it is just for emergency then you can use the cell phones.
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I am commenting only about AT&T. If you want to use your cell phone internationally you will need to contact AT&T BEFORE you leave the country.AT&T will provide you international service under one of two plans. Check with them about the plans and rates. I write all of this with the assumption your phones will work internationally. Check them out on the internet to see if they will work. Your phones will more than likely work in port. The AT&T site gives you a listing of all countries where their international service will work. Many ships sell walkie talkies. They work "somewhat" aboard ship but are not perfect. Too many people "scream" when they are on elevators , "where are you' "I can't hear you". In addition this is a reminder, depending upon what country you are in walkie talkies may be illegal. Check before you go as fines in some countries are heavy and you walkie talkie may also be confiscated.Talk with the AT&T rep and he/she will answer all your questions.
Just came off Miracle. I have Verizon wireless. $2.95 a minute roaming, 50 cents to send a text, 5 cents to receive one. In grand turk they must have turned off(?) their tower as my phone showed no service. Once we left port had roaming again. With worry over one passenger I would say walkie talkies used with without disturbing fellow passengers is way to go. Also forgot to say your carrier will charge different roaming prices on the islands too. Mine first said 69 cents in puerto rico, then said it was part of my domestic plan, told me 1.99 a minute in St Thomas. At & t seems to have service everywhere but where I live (), but I used my Aunt's phone one year in Bermuda and it was $12 a minute. So watch out
We have done both... when using the phones we tried to text only OR we had a preplanned meeting place... i.e. the cabin or lido deck by the desserts - and would call the person's phone and let ring once. They could see who had called and would meet up... Of course in an emergency we just called period. With the Walkie talkies (it's strange how words become WORDS) we found that someone was always on "our" channel. I personally would just make sure the "forgetful" one was always with someone and use the phones - limiting it to texting and "one ring".
Have a great trip...