What cruiseline will you be with? If NCLA, I'd recommend the wireless card through your cell provider. If any other line, stick with the ships internet. Then again, it all depends on your internet usage habits.
It would be NCLA, going to a job fair on the 31st. Was thinking about buying a laptop if I get the job, then I got thinking maybe get like a sidekick or Iphone instead to stay connected. So my question is how do cellphone and internet access work on the ships.
From what my friend has told me cell phone coverage is pretty good on all NCLA ships when they are cruising and in port, with the exception of a few areas. And I'm pretty sure there are "hot spots" on the ship where you can use Wi-fi for free, but they might be hard to get below decks. I am 100% sure that there are "hot spots" in most, if not all of the ports, so that is always an option.
I just bought a laptop because there are a lot of other uses besides keeping in touch with people that it is going to be good for (movies, music, games, etc.). I'm still taking my cell phone, but if I had to choose I'd go with a laptop. And you will probably want to look into an external hard-drive to bring a lot of entertainment with you.
For NCLA your cell with work in the ports and some, if not all crew areas while at sea. As far as cell phone goes, you have a couple of options:
1 - you can buy a wireless card and connect to your own cell provider to get access that way. this would only cost you your monthly access charge of $59 or so a month. There are a couple of pay sotspots while in port, plus a couple of free ones too you can connect to while off the ship.
2 - you can get get a wireless card and connect to the ships internet on your laptop for 10 cents a minute.
3 - you can connect to the internet on their own computers using their connection for 10 cents a minute.
If you use the internet a ton and want speed, id go with your own broadband card. if you dont care about speed and only use a couple of minutes each day, I'd go with one of the ships options, or just find a internet cafe or other connection while in port.