A How-To Guide for Using Your Phone on a Cruise


A cruise holiday often means you’re way out at sea, away from all the worries and distractions of home, which is pure bliss for some many. But if, for any reason, you need to use your mobile phone while you’re on a cruise, it can be tricky. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about using your phone on a cruise.

At sea

Phone 3 - Pixabay

Can I make calls from my mobile phone while at sea?

More often than not there will be limited reception while you’re at sea. Whenever there is phone signal you will be able to make a phone call from your cruise ship, however, making phone calls while at sea is likely to be very expensive, as most providers will levy a roaming charge. Some companies can charge upwards of $6 per minute for a telephone call, so be sure to check the rates before you cruise.

If you’re sailing with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara or Silversea, you may be able to buy a cruise ship calling package, and depending on your usage, could save you money.

Can I send text messages?

As long as there is signal, you will be able to send text messages while at sea. Texting will be cheaper than calling, but each individual message will cost you. Find out from your provider how much you will be charged per text before you leave, to avoid any nasty surprises.

Can I use the internet?

Using your data while at sea will be VERY expensive (upwards of £15/MB). Unless you really really need to, we wouldn’t recommend using your phone’s data while on a cruise. You can, however, connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi, which will be comparably cheaper. Most ships do charge for Wi-Fi usage, so compare the costs before you make your decision.

In port

Phone 2 - Pixabay

Can I make calls while the ship is in port?

You’ll be able to make telephone calls through service providers of the respective countries you visit while in port. This may work out cheaper than making calls at sea, as some countries (mainly in Europe) are now covered by some British mobile phone carriers, who have lifted roaming charges in recent years. Check your mobile phone contract and service provider to find out exactly how much it will cost.

Can I send text messages?

Again yes, and you’ll be charged a standard rate per message sent. Check with your mobile provider before you travel.

Can I use the internet?

Data roaming charges will vary depending on which country you’re in, so check with your provider to find out how much. You will often be able to connect to Wi-Fi in ports, in restaurants, in cafés and bars, and even in public spaces like squares and parks, free of charge. However these open networks often have limited to no security, so be careful.

How can I make sure I don’t accidentally incur extra charges?

You may be charged for receiving phone calls and texts if they come through while you’re at sea or abroad, and apps that require an internet connection could be running in the background without your knowledge. Leaving your mobile at home will ensure you avoid any additional fees, but if you want to be able to use your camera, games, and other apps on your cruise, simply set your mobile to airplane mode, which will ensure that you don’t receive calls, texts, or use data while at sea. You’ll still be able to connect to the Wi-Fi on airplane mode too.

Will there be a phone on the ship I can use instead?

Yes, your ship will have a phone you can use to make calls. The price will be high, but it will probably be a little cheaper than using your mobile. Prices vary depending on the cruise line, so it’s a good idea to ask before you book if you intend to use the ship’s phone while cruising.

Now you’re armed with all the knowledge you need to ensure you steer clear of costly roaming charges, head over to the Cruise1st UK homepage. We’ve got a huge range of great deals, sailing with all the major cruise lines, just waiting for you. Alternatively, you can give our friendly team a call on 0808 2746 777.

A How-To Guide for Using Your Phone on a Cruise
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A How-To Guide for Using Your Phone on a Cruise
If you're wondering whether you will be able to use your mobile phone on your upcoming cruise holiday, we've presented answers to all the main questions.

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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