I would appreciate any suggestions as to the best way to call home from European ports. By "best" I mean (1) least expensive. (2) least hassle.
My experience has been that the ships crew monopolizes pay phones at ports. And, of course, I don't blame them.
Anyone with any experience renting a cell phone?
Use AT&T phone card from Sam's Club. Basic cost for domestic use is $.035/minute. Also that rate covers US possessions; San Juan, St Thomas, Hawaii, Alaska, etc. Last time in Europe was June, 2000. The card worked fine. Called from Spain and Portugal. Teh cost was basic rate X8 ($.28/minute). Service was excellent. Also used it from Tahiti and the other Society islands. Worked great bu I don't recall the rate. I should point out that in the past 2 years we've found that the local phone companies in many countries have altered their phones so that you can only use phone cards purchased from them.. I don't know how you can check it out.
Thanks for your comments. We'll carry an AT&T phone card and see what happens, although the trend appears to be toward local phone cards. I'm happy with using the internet, but my wife wants to hear voices from home.
An international cellphone is a good idea and a calling card is also an excellent idea! I have a Sprint card and it does an excellent job of connecting from most payphones in Europe. Be sure to check the toll-free access number from Europe before you leave and read the directions on the phone - it takes a couple of times to get connected on the first attempt, but then, its easy!
I am going to rent a GSM cell phone through AT&T for a month. They deliver it to your door in a week and the phone # is the same as your regular cell phone. Cost is $95/month. Check with your cell phone company!!