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Cell phone usage at sea

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I will be on the Majestic Princess from December 27, 2019 to January 8, 2020, departing Auckland, New Zealand and ending in Sydney, Australia.



While at sea, I will need to use my cell phone to contact the U.S.  In the past I have rented a  satellite phone for at  sea needed calls.  Given all the updates in technology, will any  VOIP apps help to reduce the cost of phone calls to the U.S. (whats app, we chat, ???).    I believe the ships charge around $3.00 per minute for calls to the U.S.  Any advise will be greatly appreciated.



Edited by jugenjury

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Most carriers and phone support WiFi calling.


Using this, you make and receive calls using your normal cell phone number.


You must set up WiFi calling, while you are connected to your home cellular network (BEFORE you travel).


Then, on board, set Airplane Mode to ON, and WiFi to ON, and connect to the ship wifi.  There may be a charge for wifi use onboard.  But it will be a lot less than making cell phone calls using Cellular at SSea.

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Check with your cell phone carrier as most have international "at sea" programs that would be purchased typically for a 30 day period that would cover the dates of your cruise.  They may vary in terms of combined cell call and text minutes allowance but are usually scaled well to allow for your individual usage during the cruise.  The $3.00 per minute charge you are referring to sounds like calls made directly through the ship and would not be the first choice of calling IMO.  I also don't think it would be necessary to consider a sat phone given the different options available through your carrier.

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Whatsapp works ok for voice calls.  If your phone and carrier support it then WiFi calling seems to give a better connection.  Also with WiFi calling, you will receive calls as normal (as long as you are connected to wifi). So, no necessity for the other party to have Whatsapp etc.

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Base stations on Princess Cruise Ships use the AT&T Maritime satellite network, so if you have a contract with AT&T in USA, you could get pretty good deal. 

If not, I'd get an International SIM that works on Princess Cruise Ships.


All the best.

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