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  • 27
  • Feb
  • 2013

Will I have cell phone and internet service out at sea?

Yes. Times have changed. Many people think that they will be cut off from the world when out at sea. This isn’t the case. If connection back home is essential for your travel, ask a agent about the cell phone coverage and internet access capabilities on different cruise ships.

Internet coverage can differ from one ship to the next

Happy Traveler Comment
Dear Cesar, Just dropping you a note about our Alaskan cruise. This was Kurt's and my first cruise and we had a great time. Holland America treated us like royalty; we had excellent service. Thank you for all your time and effort in making our cruise an enjoyable vacation. — JoAnn and Kurt W.

These days, most cruise ships have fully wired internet cafes. For a fee, anywhere from 35 cents to $1 per minute depending on the ship, you can check-in with everyone back home, email pictures and yes, even update your Facebook status. If you’ve brought your laptop, you’ll also be able to use the Wi-Fi hotspots located throughout the ship. Web access can also be purchased in bundles, for example, Disney Cruises offers passengers a bundle to buy 250 minutes of internet use for $75.

When purchasing minutes consider that the internet speed on board is not as fast as it is on land. Various factors, such as the ship’s location and quality of bandwidth should be considered before committing to your boss that you’ll be able to check your email every few hours.

Cell phone use is expensive

If you plan to use your cell phone, you can, but it will be very expensive, especially if you use it onboard out at sea. We recommend you make calls from port but only if you make arrangements with your cell phone provider in advance. At, we advise our clients to buy an international calling plan before they leave. For just $6 a month, you’ll be able to make calls for much cheaper and save paying roaming fees. Of course, every mobile phone provider is different, but in most cases, you can simply cancel the temporary plan without any penalties once you get back in the United States. We can even recommend a service that will rent you an international cell phone which is often the cheapest way to go.

Some ships offer stateroom calling, meaning that you can make telephone calls from your cabin to those back on land. Use your cabin phone sparingly because this service, depending on cruise line, can charge anywhere from $7 to $10 a minute.

Recommended tips

• Establish some ground rules with your teens and children before you leave regarding internet and cell phone use when on board.
• If you don’t bring a mobile phone or laptop, there are other ways to get a hold of those at home in the event of an emergency such as internet cafés in port.
• If you do have a laptop and use an email program like Microsoft Outlook, you can log into the internet, download your emails and disconnect. Once you’ve answered all your emails and sent them to your outbox, a quick hook-up will upload all your responses in short order. This will save you tons of online minutes.
• Let friends and family in the U.S. know in advance how often you plan on contacting them while away.
• Spending $10 here and $5 there when trying to connect can add up quickly, so consider purchasing a bundle of minutes.

Call us if you have questions

If you have more questions about cell phone and internet coverage during your trip, ask one of our agents at We can answer any questions you have regarding keeping connected back home and give you our recommendation for your personal situation. Feel free to call us anytime at 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784) or visit our website,

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