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spotty service cellular at sea


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Hi Everyone ,

Be forewarned, I antied up for the cellular at sea package from ATT for $100.00. The service was very spotty. I assumed it would work whenever the ship was out of range from the land cellular service . I assumed wrong. There were 2 days of a 7 day cruise where the cellular at sea service away from land based service was not available for whatever reason. Needless to say my attempt to be reachable was flawed.

I hope this helps fellow cruisers .

Edited by horseymike
forgot a few key words.
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This is nothing new and can happen anywhere when you're on a cruise ship.....Two days out of seven isn't that bad....Nothing can be guaranteed...I use the AT&T cruise package whenever I cruise...if you're that upset call the carrier.

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Mike,

Before people buy a product, they need to do their homework.

You apparently didn’t do that - but perhaps your posting (and mine) will help others with the same problem.

All of the mobile telephone towers on cruise ships connect to the same satellites that provide internet services to ships.

All of these satellites are located in geosynchronous orbits over the earth’s equator.

The closer a ship sails to the equator, the better the satellite coverage.

The further North or South a ship sails from the equator, the worse the satellite coverage.

When you cruise as far North as Alaska, the angle of coverage is so shallow that the signals must travel through a lot of extra atmosphere, storms, clouds, etc. This often disrupts the coverage. This shallow angle also allows things like mountains, ships, trees, and ship’s funnels to block the satellite signals.

If your ship sails in more remote areas, like the Aleutians for example, satellite coverage there is very limited, as there are very few people in that area who would ever need or want to pay for satellite telephone or internet.

As cruise lines lower the prices for satellite internet and telephone coverage, more and more passengers buy the packages. The ship’s towers and the satellites they connect to have quite limited bandwidth. When that bandwidth is maxed out, the system slows down - or stops completely. 

 

Next time you cruise and need onboard telephone connection, there are better options:

1. Wait until you get ashore and use land-based telephones.

2. Buy your own satellite telephone.

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thanks purser. I wish ATT would have provided the same information to me prior to my purchase of their package with cellular at sea. I learned the hard way. As you said, maybe Our posts will inform other folks before they make the purchase.

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Interesting. When we boarded Radiance on May 24, I forgot to turn my phone off or to airplane mode. I woke to it updating over the ship cellular and I had not paid Verizon one dime. The other thing that struck me is that the phones clock was not on Alaska daylight time (Seward) but Universal Time (Greenwich). I turned it off but have not got my cellular bill yet. I then only used my phone in ports and in certain places during our drive to Denali. I got DW their high speed Voom package. She does FB and if I needed it, could log her off and log my phone on. I also had a weird network in Vancouver (4G Roaming) which I had paid Verizon $5/mo extra for.

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12 hours ago, masterdrago said:

Interesting. When we boarded Radiance on May 24, I forgot to turn my phone off or to airplane mode. I woke to it updating over the ship cellular and I had not paid Verizon one dime. The other thing that struck me is that the phones clock was not on Alaska daylight time (Seward) but Universal Time (Greenwich). I turned it off but have not got my cellular bill yet. I then only used my phone in ports and in certain places during our drive to Denali. I got DW their high speed Voom package. She does FB and if I needed it, could log her off and log my phone on. I also had a weird network in Vancouver (4G Roaming) which I had paid Verizon $5/mo extra for.

 

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My first cruise to Alaska on NCL Pearl I bought the unlimited internet package for 10 days.  It worked without a problem.  But, I think the ship was nowhere near full, if that had anything to do with it - maybe not so many others using the bandwidth.  The next NCL Pearl Alaska cruise was 7 days so I bought the same package.  It may have worked two days total.  The ship seemed to be at capacity.   I wouldn't bother buying it again...

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