Depending on who you ask, you’ll get differing answers about whether you should be staying “connected” at sea. Especially since people rely on their phones now more than ever.
Most, if not all, cruise lines offer a pay-per-day internet package for unlimited wireless connection – some for as little as $5 per day.
If you are one of those people who can’t live without your phone, we have some tips for buying an internet package at sea.
1. Embarkation Day
When you board the ship you’ll want to purchase a time package. There’s usually an embarkation wireless package that gives you free minutes for purchasing on the first day. Head to the internet café or look into the daily program when you board. Depending on the package you can generally receive 10 to 60 free minutes.
2. Draft Feature
Don’t think just because you take a photo that it has to be shared immediately. Consider setting up a draft when emailing, Tweeting, Instagramming, and Facebooking.
By setting up a draft you can log in, and send everything at once. Don’t worry, your friends and family will still enjoy the picture just as much, even if it’s not posted in real-time.
3. Turn off Data
Make sure you turn off your data when you board the ship. If you don’t, you can end up with a $580 cell phone bill – like me. If your data-roaming feature isn’t turned off, your phone will automatically try to fetch your messages and emails – resulting in a huge bill. Keep your data-roaming turned off!
It’s not a bad idea to keep your phone in airplane mode, just to err on the side of caution.
4. Beware of “Cellular at Sea”
Your cell phone will work at sea thanks to satellites flying above the earth, and more specifically to Wireless Maritime Services. But beware, texts can run from $.50 to $1.50 per text, and phone service can run from $2.39 and up per minute – so think twice before using your phone when it says, “Cellular at Sea” across the top.
Cellular at Sea isn’t just a money grab, though. They set up a website, called Connect at Sea, that actually gives tips and advice for saving money on your cruise. You can find it at ConnectAtSea.com.
5. Port Wi-Fi
When you get to the pier, you’ll typically have a few places where you can connect to wi-fi for free. Some popular free hotspots in the Caribbean are usually found at cruise terminals or Starbucks locations. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a crew member. Crew members tend to migrate towards wi-fi signals – it is their lifeline to the outside world.
So, if you’re one of those people that can’t stay disconnected, you aren’t alone. Know there are ways to stay connected that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Feature photo: Paul D, Flickr