Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

International calling while IN PORT and ON SHIP question

Recommended Posts

Apologies if there already exists a thread that addresses this.


I will be on HAL ship for 14 days in Carribean in Jan '19. My mobile carrier AT&T offers $10/day international plan for phone/text including access to my plan's monthly data.


Question: if I am in port and on the ship, how do I know if I'm using the AT&T plan through onshore cell towers or using the expensive Cellular at Sea connection? Also, what if the ship is not at dock/pier but instead is anchored offshore for tendering; would the possibility of accessing the onshore towers be unavailable?


My intention is to only use $10/day plan for a few random days while in port, instead of paying for an entire HAL wi-fi plan or for the AT&T $100 cruise plan. I am unsure if I need to be physically off the ship and in town. I was also hoping to rent a car and be able to use my data onshore for google maps/navigating.


Love love love you guys and CC. I've learned so much here. Thank you!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

When in port/close to shore, ships are required to turn off their cellular service. This is to prevent the local population (or anyone on shore) from inadvertently accessing the more expensive Cellular at Sea instead of their own local service.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most smart phones will indicate the service you are connected to. My experience is that the ships turn off cellular service long before the ship is moored in port. I have always been able to connect with local service from my stateroom, but can't say about inside cabins.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
My intention is to only use $10/day plan for a few random days while in port


Verizon recently switched (or my company phone recently switched) to what I think is a similar plan/philosophy.


One thing I learned: put your phone in airplane mode over night if you will be cruising past any other islands. That is easy to do in the Carib. I got billed the $10/day for an island we never visited, but we sailed past. Not a huge deal, but something to be aware of.


edit: I do not know, but assume, that the ship shut off their Cellular at Sea cell tower during the sail-by since we were that close.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have T Mobile which works internationally but is not included with the cruise ship cellular.

The solution is to be able to check which carrier your phone is using. With an iPhone, go to Carrier and turn off “automatic.” This will let you see the carriers available. Do not choose Cellular at Sea or the one with numbers only- sorry can’t remember what they are exactly. You should be able to recognize an appropriate carrier. Choose one and see if it works. Sometimes I need to try a couple but usually one will work.

While sailing near land, turn to airplane mode if you don’t want access to cellular. From lots of experience with this, the ship may turn off cellular when no land is in sight but cellular on land can be picked up.






Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...