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What's the best way to stay in contact with the people your traveling with since roaming fees prevent most people from using their phones on board.

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Not walkie talkies.  this has been discussed many many times on these boards.  there is too much steel in a ship, they don't work and are quite annoying to others around you.  Ask on the board here for the cruise line you are sailing, as most lines have an app or internet program that allows testing, etc.  EM

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Tell them where and when you will meet them.  If you change the meeting time/place, leave a note in your cabin.  Low tech works.  What do you think that people did before electronics?

 

DON

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You don't tell us which cruise line you will be on.  Most major cruise lines have some sort of app which includes (sometimes for a small fee) a chat feature.  Using these will not incur roaming charges, as they work off of the ship's wifi.

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We're going on Carnival, don't we have to by the internet package to use the HUB and my understanding is that only 1 device can be contacted at a time to the wifi per stateroom since even if all occupants buy a package.

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I agree that walkie talkies are NOT worth the effort.  We cruise Carnival often and the few times I've seen people try these it's always a fail. All I hear is the lovely sound of someone shouting into the radio with nothing but static coming back. Very annoying and results are nothing more than people turning around staring at the offender.

 

The worst offender was a man at breakfast in the Lido who left his radio volume turned so high it was just this side of feedback volume. He spent the entire hour we were there keying the mic with hopes that someone would come back to him.  No one did, but we all got to listen to his static and keying noise.  Radio operators will know what I mean.

 

If you're not willing to use the HUB app text feature, then you'll be stuck using post-it notes and messages left on the cabin phone.  Good luck.

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Every stateroom has a phone you can always leave messages for others in their cabins.  Public phones are in every lounge and all over the ship as well.  Its not hard. Also you can leave sticky notes in your cabin or slide notes under the doors of your companions.  You'll have a Fun Times every day, you can peruse and figure out what you'll be doing the next day and let people know ahead of time.  You'll figure it out, not even need to have the phone turned on.  I leave mine in the safe until disembarkation day.

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13 hours ago, Tracey.kinney425 said:

What's the best way to stay in contact with the people your traveling with since roaming fees prevent most people from using their phones on board.

First, because of all the steel, your standard radio will not work. No mater how big the ship is, keeping tabs is not that difficult. The cabins have phones and you can let others know your plans. No matter what size ship, you quickly learn that people will frequent the same places on a daily basis.

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Even tho the ship APPEARS to be HUGE...the public areas aren't THAT big...tell each other your plans...and you will know where to look for the others.  You'll find that folks tend to gravitate to the same places over and over...and if you know that your spouse likes the pool, and you like the casino....that's a good starting point.

Agree to meet for lunch or a snack...and you can give everyone the new plans!

It's really not as hard as you're imagining it to be!

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When we go to separate activities, we discuss where we are going and agree a meeting place and time. Agree consumer radios do not work on ships, unless you are in sight and generally only on outer decks.

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On 3/15/2019 at 5:29 PM, Tracey.kinney425 said:

We're going on Carnival, don't we have to by the internet package to use the HUB and my understanding is that only 1 device can be contacted at a time to the wifi per stateroom since even if all occupants buy a package.

 

No.  The devices must connect to the ship's wifi (at no charge) to allow the HUB app to operate (you can do this in airplane mode so that you aren't incurring any cellular charges).  If you wish to use the HUB app's chat function, it is $5 per person for the entire cruise.  You need to leave the app running in the background (don't close it) to receive any messages.  It actually works pretty well.

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Leave a note on the door, plan times to meet, and stick to them. Also, the staterooms on some ships have 2 phones you can take with and use like walkie talkies to call each other. We do this with our kids sometimes - they take one and we take one. They know if they don't answer, they are in big trouble 🙂

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1 hour ago, angie7911922 said:

Also, the staterooms on some ships have 2 phones you can take with and use like walkie talkies to call each other. 

 

Which cruise line is this?  OP is going on Carnival, and they don't offer this feature.  It might be nice for someone else to be aware of, though.

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Some ships offer cellphone connections to cell phones on the ship. A small fee for that. Local WIFI only.

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Yes lots of steel on a ship. Also a lot of windows. Windows do not block the signal. Use talkies that are UHF not VHF The UHF signal will go many places the VHF will not. If youa re on the same deck. The signal will go through the passage ways. Same as you do. Ever notice that the crew uses talkies. They work. Look for 5 watt UHF.

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Hmm, windows look outside.  All the walls, floors, ceilings, and doors are metal.

 

Even the crew radios only work due to a large number of repeaters scattered around the ship.

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Please. All windows do not look outside. Please think that that one over again. Aren't windows on both sides of glass doors when gong foreword or aft? Granted. most staterooms are cut off from RF. Open decks are not.

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I really do not understand how DW and I have somehow managed to cruise (extensively) for over forty years without walkee talkees, using cell phones onboard, etc.  Somehow we have spent well over 1000 days on many different ships and always managed to find each other when it was necessary :).  How we do this is a very sophisticated system.  It is called talking (you remember when folks actually did that) and communicating (without a device).  Sometimes it might be a simple "I will be near the International Café"  or a more obscure, "look for me on the pool deck."  or perhaps it might be something as far out as "meet me back at the cabin at noon."  I know.  This is all so difficult and it does mean you have to actually talk directly to a person as opposed to sending a text.  Or course we know one family that brings along a small chalk board which they keep in their cabin and use to write notes to each other.

 

Hank

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On 5/7/2019 at 2:02 PM, twodaywonder said:

Yes lots of steel on a ship. Also a lot of windows. Windows do not block the signal. Use talkies that are UHF not VHF The UHF signal will go many places the VHF will not. If youa re on the same deck. The signal will go through the passage ways. Same as you do. Ever notice that the crew uses talkies. They work. Look for 5 watt UHF.

Affirmative, the propagation of UHF signals is better than VHF.

 

However, the ships officers are using expensive portable radios that are only effective because they use a ship wide repeater system. I used a 1/5 W dual band VHF/UHF portable radio, which could be used with or without the repeater system.

 

With 5 W on UHF we could Tx through 1 or 2 steel bulkheads/deck/deckhead. Being on the same deck was only a benefit if in line of sight. With my cabin below the Bridge I could call the OOW without a repeater.

 

Basically, a 5W UHF will get you more range, but unlikely sufficient to communicate effectively, if not line of sight.

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My not be able to get everywhere. However, all outside decks should be able to communicate with one another with no problems. Let's say I am in the buffet with a ton of windows plus glass doors and windows exiting and entering for and aft. and my son is at the pool. I would think that they would work just fine. Again. If I needed communications between family members. The small fee for using you cell phones on the ship to communicate between phones would be the best. Considering other uses for the phones. The only time it would have been nice is when we had our son and grand son with us. Just to check on them. I would think families with children in the upper age brackets would want to be able to check on the children. Not sure how safe the phone would be with the children? Guess a toss up. Just guessing but I think most of the time it would be outdoor communications.

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Just a reply to the expensive radios. 5 watt is 5 watt.and deviation for FM is a fixed setting. No matter how expensive. I worked for Motorola Communication for many years. The selectivity of the receiver and sensitivity of the receiver are most important. However, now with the new ICs that now are in most of the quality brand inexpensive UHF walkies. Most are excellent. The basic difference any longer is the reliability and physical integrity of the expensive radios plus the added safety features. There are many. $1,000.00 radio vs $35.00 Quality.

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I've posted before -- many years ago we brought walkie talkies on a group cruise when the kids were young.  Sorry folks, but they do work. They worked even between decks.  I would not say they worked very well -- more kind of "iffy".   I could not tell you if they were VHF or UHF.  They were cheap radio shack ones.    

 

We only took them the one time because quite honestly we found they were more a pain to use than they were worth.   

 

Seems like it has kind of become a "thing" here on CC to hate walkie talkies.  I kinda think that is a little overblown, but that is just me.  

 

Anyway, bottom line is I wouldn't recommend them because as others have already said, they really aren't needed. 

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11 hours ago, twodaywonder said:

However, all outside decks should be able to communicate with one another with no problems. 

From experience, without a repeater system communicating is not guaranteed, even on the outer decks. Before getting repeater systems installed on the ships, we had extensive experience trying to communicate with portable radios.

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5 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

From experience, without a repeater system communicating is not guaranteed, even on the outer decks. Before getting repeater systems installed on the ships, we had extensive experience trying to communicate with portable radios.

Not to mention that nearly all of that glass is laminated safety glass, and the plastic film is some form of sunlight/energy reflective to aid in AC efficiency, and those films will also attenuate the signal through them.  We've found on tankers, that the films used in A-60 fire rated windows will almost completely block radio transmissions (we ended up putting remote antennas up outside the hazardous zone for the cargo control room, so they could talk to the crew on deck (300 foot long tanker).  

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