At times, when you’re on a cruise, you may need to make contact with folks back home – or those at your destination. Of course, just like the old long-distance calling, making a call from somewhere as remote as the middle of the ocean can be pricey.
Calling from your cellphone
Major cell phone providers offer cruise coverage options that charge a higher-than-normal per minute cost for a voice call from a cruise ship. Of course, every company and plan is different, so you’ll need to check with your service provider. Often, they’ll have an option that is pro-rated for only those days you plan to be at sea, so you can save money by not adding the service for an entire billing cycle for example.
One caution: stories abound about travelers who’ve been slapped with unexpected roaming charges even when they aren’t using their phones. Be sure you understand how to use the features on your phone to prevent high data charges.
Direct dial from the ship
The cruise ships themselves often have direct dialing options via satellite and many include phones right in your room. Of course, the per-minute charges can range from $6.99 per minute up to a horrifying $15.99 per minute!
Internet access and voice
An alternative – especially on ships where there are pre-paid Internet access options – using Skype’s VoIP service may very well be your cheapest option. Again, it’s important to understand what options your ship offers and ask lots of questions about what charges you will accrue if you do make contact.
Cruise calling tips
USA today recently ran a list of tips for keeping in touch while on a cruise. They include:
- Calling from the port instead of the ship – it’s cheaper
- Establish guidelines with those back home – including pesky business partners – on how often you’ll be available
- Consider establishing rules with your teenager too – especially if you’re still paying their phone bill
- Remember that in an emergency, contact can always be established, so relax