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Gail4cruising May 16th, 2010 11:42 PM

Cell phone bill shock from cruise use?
Do most people that you see walking around on a cruise talking dn cell phones really realize what the cost are that they are incurring? My understanding is it is 2.49/min for cell phone use. I was just curious with the number of people I saw on last weeks cruise using their phones..and as usual some people just seemed to be chit chatting. We only use ours for a 2-3 minute call home if there are no internet/phone centers available in ports. Cozumel has places you can call home for .35 cents a minute for example. I can't help but think some of these people are going to have a shock when that bill arrives. Thats one of the things I love about a cruise/not thinking about a phone.

Mike M May 17th, 2010 01:15 AM

I used my phone three times on last weeks cruise. Total cost $18.75. It was worth it to talk to my wife.

Now, if I had been talking on it ten or twelve times for five or ten minutes a pop then it would have been a different story.

Take care,

Manuel May 17th, 2010 01:54 AM

I have to stay in touch with my mom, so I call her everyday. The good thing is that she is a happy with a 2 minute call.


green_rd May 17th, 2010 07:54 AM

Knowledge is power. You do see people who seem to be talking endlessly about nothing. Like maybe they think their group plan applies at sea.

katluc May 17th, 2010 08:11 AM

I learned my lesson the hard way. Even though we had the internation plan, on our cruise to Italy, my daughters ran up a bill to almost 1,000.00 by texting. Now, no phones on cruises. Parents need to be ware of this..

johnthed0g May 17th, 2010 09:10 AM

Don't know if this is correct, but I was told that these complicated phones that do internet & such can be constantly ''doing something'' if left switched on all the time.

by_the_board May 17th, 2010 10:53 AM


Ditto...on my recent Liberty cruise I also witnessed many passengers talking endlessly on their phones. My phone was turned off and locked in the safe.
Dw and I were on R & R and the last thing we wanted was to hear about reality at home. We are senior cruisers and had arrangements made to handle any emergency at home. We use Bellsouth (AT&T) and could have used our phone in San Juan or St. Thomas but decided NO! We were on vacation.

Post cruise depression will kick the phone users in the butt when they receive their cell phone bill.


$1000.00=OUCH! :(

zydecocruiser May 17th, 2010 11:46 AM

I have sometimes asked people constantly talking on their phones if they know how much it costs, and most don't and don't seem to care. Once they got the bill, I bet they did.

$2.49/minute is the standard charge.

ScurvyDog May 17th, 2010 12:01 PM

In the past I have had several occasions to explain phone charges but the talker always argued they had unlimited service and could talk as much as they wanted so now I just let them talk. :shock:

Snoozeman May 17th, 2010 12:31 PM

It makes you wonder about people.:rolleyes:

nlb1050 May 17th, 2010 12:46 PM

We only use our phones at sail away if then. Then turned off and put in the safe until the end of the cruise.

Mike M you had an excellent reason for making your calls and I know that you not call more than necessary. So your bill was not too bad.

Freinds of our used her's one time from Cozumel to call her daughter's just to see how they were. Talked with each one for about 15 minutes and once they received their bill at home no more calling for them while on a cruise. And it was no where near $1000.

fourxbusymom May 17th, 2010 12:55 PM

My cousin used hers to talk to her daughter while on our cruise. The daughter was staying with her dad (cousins ex) and we were amazed at how long she talked, since we were in Mexico. We could not convince her that her cell bill would be outrageous. She kept saying that her bill would be fine, it would be her ex's that would be high. Never heard how that turned out, but I don't think she ever used her phone on a cruise again! My husband does have to keep his on, but the company pays his bill. They are the only ones that ever call him when we are on vacation - and they insist he keep it on. Don't know why no one else can solve any of the problems - but as long as they pay the bill, it doesn't bother me . At least not too much!

ISurfTooMuch May 17th, 2010 01:19 PM

On a cruise about a year ago, the subject of cell phone bills came up at dinner. One of the people there insisted he didn't have to worry because he had Sprint, and his phone used satellites, so he didn't have to pay extra. I tried to tell him that no domestic plan includes cruise ships, but I couldn't convince him, so I gave up. Considering that he had a BlackBerry, I bet his data usage was insane. I just hope his bill wasn't too high.

katluc May 17th, 2010 01:27 PM

The reason my bill was close to 1,000 was because we were in Italy for 8 days and my two daughters texted like crazy. International plan did not help at all for this...:(

Ron May 17th, 2010 03:38 PM

I never use a cell phone on vacation. I call my son when I get to the ship, put the phone in the safe and there she stays. If I'm at sea, why do I want to know every time someone at home walks the dog or passes gas?? Sorry if aunt Molly or uncle Fred is feeling bad, but what can I do--does it help matters for me to call them every few hours to see how they are? Probably aggravates the hell out of them and does me no good either. I can get bad news 24/7 all the time when I'm home--when I'm gone, surely the world can revolve for a week without my input.
On our last cruise a few weeks ago some dim wit lady was strolling around loudly talking about having---- no---- not a good time --- but ---having a bad case of diarrhea! I can't imagine calling someone at home from a ship and paying several dollars to tell them I have diarrhea--Like I'm sure they give a crap anyway!
I guess privacy and modesty went out the window when the cell came in the door. But, if people are so naive as to think things will come to a stop unless they check in every few hours for the week and don't have a clue as to what it's costing them, then more power to 'em. Their time and money.
Just my nickel's worth. ;) ;)
Happy sailing, happy celling and all that !!

Paul Motter May 17th, 2010 04:06 PM

I have also seen people using their cell phones like they were on land and it didn't matter. Just crazy - it can cost as much as $5 minute when you add thr ships charges and your carriers roaming charges.

I love that texting story.

Yes - some phones like iPhone have a feature called "push" where they stay on and keep downloading content from pages like CNBC which offers real-time stock quotes. You have to be careful they are not logging into the network to do that - an iPhone should be put in "data off" while on a cruise ship. That way you can get a phone call in an emergency, but no email.

O have used a verizon blackberry on a cruise and the bill was not nearly as high as my iphone. One email from Mexico cost me about $12 as I recall. On a Blackberry that would cover an entire day. That was MY personal experience, though. I can't say that is always true.

Actually - if you have an iPhone (from AT&T) you can use this chart to see how much a cruise ship phone call will cost you:

Wireless International Rates - Wireless from AT&T

Dave Beers May 17th, 2010 04:09 PM

I have a dim view of unbridled cell phone use - no matter where it happens. Sometimes I think people sit at home and make lists of who they will call once in their car and heading down the highway or while ambling down the shopping aisles. It is insane.

I'd love it if people got their cell phone bills at the same time they received the onboard charges printout on debarkation morning. The loud screams and shouts of disbelief would provide an amusing respite while waiting to leave the ship.

Paul Motter May 17th, 2010 04:11 PM

iPhone Travel Tips
Print this page
iPhone Tips for International Roamers

iPhone Tips for International Roamers

When using your service outside the U.S., Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands (for either voice or data), international roaming rates apply. Your iPhone provides access to email, Visual Voicemail, Web browsing and other applications that can use a significant amount of data, so remember-international data roaming can get expensive quickly.
How iPhone Users Can Minimize International Data Charges:
  • Turn Data Roaming "OFF": By default, the setting for international data roaming will be in the "OFF" position.
    To turn data roaming "ON/OFF" tap on Settings>General>Network>Data Roaming
    • – Turning "OFF" data roaming blocks email, browsing, visual voicemail and downloads, but it will not block text or picture/video messages.
    • – When abroad, international roaming rates apply when you send text or picture/video messages.
    • – To access audible voicemail when data roaming is “OFF”, tap on Phone>Voicemail. International roaming voice rates apply.
  • Utilize Wi-Fi Instead of 3G/GPRS/EDGE: Wi-Fi is available in many international airports, hotels and restaurants to browse the web or check email.
  • Turn Fetch New Data "OFF": Check email and sync contacts and calendars manually instead of having the data pushed to your iPhone automatically. This way you can control the flow of data coming to your iPhone.
    To turn off the Auto-Check functionality, tap on Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Fetch New Data, Change Push to "OFF" and select option Fetch Manually.
  • Consider Purchasing an International Data Package: Purchasing an international data package can significantly reduce the cost of using data abroad. AT&T now offers four discount international data packages. The 20 MB package is $24.99 per month, the 50 MB package is $59.99 per month, 100 MB package is $119.99 per month, and the 200 MB package is $199.99 per month. See for details and international roaming rates. To add an international data package, call 1-800-331-0500.
  • Reset the Usage Tracker to Zero: When you arrive overseas access the usage tracker in the general settings menu & select reset statistics. This will enable you to track your estimated data usage.
    To reset Usage Tracker to Zero tap on Settings>General>Usage>Reset Statistics

johnthed0g May 17th, 2010 04:26 PM

Never mind ships, I recieved a call once in the Maldives ....£30 for a very short call from someone I didn't need to speak to.

Mike M May 17th, 2010 04:58 PM

I shake my head when people tell me that they won't have additional charges on their phone because their carrier uses satellite or their unlimited plan covers them anywhere in the world for only $49.99/month. :rolleyes: It's a cell phone not a satellite phone.

These people have no idea of how cell phones operate or any real idea of what their plan is. They make these assumptions based on a three minute conversation with the person who sold them their phone.

Paul: Thanks for giving this info for people. Not turning Data off is one way you can unknowingly rack up a big bill.

If someone knows what their potential costs are then I have no problem with them using the phone as much as they want. It's their money, not mine, and they can spend it any way they want. Just don't sit next to me in the theater and give "Uncle Herman" the step by step analysis of the production show.

Take care,

by_the_board May 17th, 2010 06:48 PM

And what's up with people who are wandering around the grocery store talking to someone at home? about what to buy? Paper and a pencil/pen has worked for a number of years. The problem is the talking/walking/shopping people are unaware that there are other shoppers in the store. They will run you over because their attention is directed elsewhere. AND YELLING INTO YOUR CELL PHONE DOES NOT MAKE THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END HEAR YOU ANY BETTER! Sorry for all the yelling. :evil: lol

Trip May 17th, 2010 07:29 PM

We use the phone before we sail away, then, except for one cruise, when we were in Jamaica, my husband and son had to talk about problems at the shop...this went back and forth to the point, that hubby almost wanted to get off the ship to go home...the bill was around $185.00:(

Someone I know had a daughter texting, to the cost of $250.00...not too bad comopared to that $1000.00!

Dave Beers May 17th, 2010 08:01 PM

We'll call my wife's mother once we arrive at the ship to let her know we got there safe and sound (she worries about us). The cell phones then go in the safe and stay there until debarkation morning.

I have a 1st generation iPhone and love it for all the apps. Great personal device, fair to middlin' cell phone!

AF1 May 19th, 2010 06:19 AM

my wife and I have iphones. I fly for a living and travel international. When I go overseas I keep my iphone in the airplane mode unless I have a hotel with free wifi. Also I turn off the "push" notification. So far I haven't seen any unwanted bills on our iphones. My wife just returned today from 12 nights to the holy land. We won't know until about another month if she had any charges racked up. She kept her phone on airplane mode and no push notifications, so we should be good. Someone in my wifes tour group, said he had unlimited texting with sprint. My wife told him, that is good for the United States, not overseas. Don't know if he got the message.

Paul: thnks for posting the iphone info

Ron May 19th, 2010 12:32 PM

They usually get the " message " along with the bill!! :shock: :shock:

T C May 19th, 2010 02:18 PM

I read AT&T's information on iPhone usage and was still confused so I called and spoke to a Rep. Even if the phone is in "airplane" mode , even if the mail notifications "push" is set to off, you will still incur charges. If someone sends a text ... wether you open it or not .. or if someone calls you and it goes to voicemail .. even if you do not play the message, you will be charged the international rate. I was planning on using my iPhone's alarm clock, and timer, and the Ipod while on my cruise, but after speaking to the ATT Rep, the only sure way not to have any additional charges is to turn it off once you leave the U S.


Paul Motter May 19th, 2010 03:41 PM

I hd a 1st geberation iphone too, whixch is why I have a droid now. I really disliked their network (AT&T)

But I also just turned off data roaming when overseas and that was enough not to incur charges. even better, if I really NEEDED my email I could turn it on, but the few times I did that really added up.

Internet guy July 3rd, 2010 04:56 AM

International roaming charges will be conveniently billed to you by your home mobile carrier. Mobile phone service will be available for use while the ship is at sea.
Service Requirements
The mobile networks on your ship are accessible by most mobile phones. The WMS mobile network – WMS: Wireless Maritime Services - A joint venture of AT&T and MTN Satellite Communications – is accessible by most mobile phones supporting both GSM and CDMA technologies. CDMA users should ensure their phone is set to allow roaming.
You must have service with one of the more than 340 carriers worldwide that have a roaming agreement with Wireless Maritime Services. Not all prepaid phones are currently supported.
When the ship is sailing out of range of band-based mobile phone networks, mobile phone service will still be available. When the ship is in port, you can connect to local roaming networks as permitted by your home mobile carrier.
Calls to USA, Canada and the Caribbean
Dial “1”, the area code and number just as you would at home
Calls to Other Countries
Dial “+”, the country code and the full number (Verizon Wireless/Sprint users dial “011”, the country code and the full number).
;) ;)

am588 July 3rd, 2010 11:02 AM

Yep, most people have no idea about how much it costs until they come back and come in screaming at me about their bills lol I always say go with a prepaid if you NEED to keep in touch, because that way there is no way there are any surprises on the bill.

firehoss July 4th, 2010 08:59 AM

Better check your plan first. The data and texting can add up in a hurry. My phone rep said an iPhone left on with streaming data, and no international plan, can hit $1,000-$3,000 depending the country or ship over only a week or so.

We carried our phones on shore just in case but left them off. I made all my business calls from Cozumel as it was 59 cents with my international plan.

Wish I could have left in my truck at the dock.....

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