Just returned from the Monarch of the Seas. We can prepared wtih the best radios for the price.
Motorola just came out with a new model #SX700R
These radios are the same size as the Talkabouts, but with more power. They operate at 2 watts instead of 1 for some radios and 1/2 for others. This is very helpful on a large ship with lots of metal around. This model also has extra sub channels so we selected sub channels that most other radios do not have. Even though we saw a bunch of other radios being used on the ship, we never received any interferance from anyone else on our radios. We also switched on the filtering feature that only allows Motorola radios to come through.
We had 4 radios and they worked well on and off the ship. For example, it was fairly easy to contact one of our party who was staying on the ship while we walked the streets of Ensenada (we were outdoors at the time).
The radios came with rechargable batteries. We just placed the radios in the charger each night and hod no battery problems.
I don't know how groups can communicate without these. With the radios, we could always break into small groups and do our own thing and then get back together at any time. This was the most important result of having the radios. People were able to do what they wanted to do and were not tied to being all together all the time. So they seemed to enjoy themselves even more. That was worth it.