Jump to content
Royal Caribbean Blog

Cellular data while in ports


Recommended Posts

What's everyones experience while in the different Caribbean and Bahamas ports?   I am on Sprint network but thinking of a change however one thing holding me back is how well Sprint seems to work everywhere we cruise and I never have any roaming or extra charges.  The speeds are usually 3G at best but good enough for email a check=in so on.

Ive been with friends on Verizon who couldn't even get service while we were at some of the islands much less even pay extra though that was several years ago.

I would concider Verizon or Xfinity mobile if I did switch. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brett_FL said:

What's everyones experience while in the different Caribbean and Bahamas ports?   I am on Sprint network but thinking of a change however one thing holding me back is how well Sprint seems to work everywhere we cruise and I never have any roaming or extra charges.  The speeds are usually 3G at best but good enough for email a check=in so on.

Ive been with friends on Verizon who couldn't even get service while we were at some of the islands much less even pay extra though that was several years ago.

I would concider Verizon or Xfinity mobile if I did switch. 

My wife has Sprint and says they now have a package for cruisers that isn't very expensive.  She is thinking of doing that on our next cruise.   Other than that, she can text at nominal cost and actually has service in some ports.  She changes her settings so she isn't billed for download roaming when Sprint updates.  I'd suggest talking to Sprint to learn all of the details.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Verizon offers Travel Pass which extends your service plan to foreign countries for a daily charge of $5-10 depending on the location.  The first time you attempt to use phone/text/data in a foreign country, they send a free text stating the cost and asking you to approve.  If you reply yes, then you have 24 hours of service from that point even if you change locations.  So we would accept service on one island in the afternoon and have service on a different island in the morning after cruising there overnight.  My parents are currently using this in Europe.  You do have to contact Verizon and setup Travel Pass before your first trip.  If you want service every day, there might be a cheaper option but for contacting home once in awhile, I think Travel Pass is great.  Note:  this will only provide service on the islands.  While at sea, your only options are Cellular At Sea which is very expensive or you pay for Royal's Wifi plan (Voom) and use Wifi Calling or Messenger or any other app that will route your calls through Wifi.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not on your list but T-Mobile has been a game changer for me as I cruise.  I really appreciate having coverage everywhere I travel.  From Europe, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas and the Caribbean I've been covered.  Even going back to 2017 at CocoCay long before Perfect Day I had coverage.  Labadee, no problem.  

Canada and Mexico are like home so LTE speeds and unlimited calling just like at home.  That works out well for Alaska and Canada/NE cruises.  When in Cozumel or Costa Maya, no problem.

Roaming in other countries is at slower speeds and voice is billed at $0.20 per minute.  I don't do a lot of phone calls but it sure has been nice in places like Bonaire when we needed a cab and none were around.  I googled "Bonaire Taxi" and found a number, 15 minutes later our cab pulled up in the middle of nowhere.  Well worth the 20 cents for that call.  

I always take a picture of the cruise compass listing the local contact information for the port agent and ship and it's very comforting knowing if something happens I can call the ship.    

If I want to unlock higher speeds for a day they have a $5 pass that includes full local speeds and unlimited calling.  I've used that once in while but generally do fine with the slow speed that is included for free.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, twangster said:

It's not on your list but T-Mobile has been a game changer for me as I cruise.  I really appreciate having coverage everywhere I travel.  From Europe, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas and the Caribbean I've been covered.  Even going back to 2017 at CocoCay long before Perfect Day I had coverage.  Labadee, no problem.  

Canada and Mexico are like home so LTE speeds and unlimited calling just like at home.  That works out well for Alaska and Canada/NE cruises.  When in Cozumel or Costa Maya, no problem.

Roaming in other countries is at slower speeds and voice is billed at $0.20 per minute.  I don't do a lot of phone calls but it sure has been nice in places like Bonaire when we needed a cab and none were around.  I googled "Bonaire Taxi" and found a number, 15 minutes later our cab pulled up in the middle of nowhere.  Well worth the 20 cents for that call.  

I always take a picture of the cruise compass listing the local contact information for the port agent and ship and it's very comforting knowing if something happens I can call the ship.    

If I want to unlock higher speeds for a day they have a $5 pass that includes full local speeds and unlimited calling.  I've used that once in while but generally do fine with the slow speed that is included for free.  

I’ve heard good things about T-Mobile as well from travelers however their coverage is terrible in my home area.  At least when I tried them on my iPad Pro for a while a year ago.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Brett_FL said:

What's everyones experience while in the different Caribbean and Bahamas ports?

Our data service through Sprint has worked very well at all the ports we have visited (Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Bahamas, lots of other islands).  We usually call Sprint about a month before we cruise to check service levels if we are heading to a new country/port.  So far, coverage has worked as explained by the rep and no extra charges have appeared before/after the trip.

Keep in mind that the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is still working its way through the system, if that is a concern for you.

Friends who had other major service providers had lots of difficulty using data in most ports and were charged crazy fees before and after the cruises.  Some have since moved to Sprint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Xfinity is an MVNO who uses Verizon's network.  The catch with any cellular provider is carefully picking a phone that can use any cellular network on any frequency or band.

It's not unusual for Android based phones that are branded to not contain the full chipsets to allow all cellular networks and frequencies.  My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was a prime example.  Branded for Verizon it does contain the chips to run on all LTE bands so you can find yourself in a foreign country where the phone doesn't work - period.  

Apple iPhones evolved to include all bands and frequencies, at least those in use at time of release (current iPhones are not 5G compatible for example).

These are just two examples.  With so many different phones by different manufacturers each can be different so pay attention to the handset you purchase to ensure it offers the most compatibility with all cellular networks, bands and frequencies for a better roaming experience.      

Link to post
Share on other sites

TMobile is also aggressively deploying 600Mhz which will greatly improve it's signal across the country.  Verizon lobbied hard against that effort for years but it was finally approved by the FCC last year and is now becoming reality.  

https://www.t-mobile.com/content/dam/t-mobile/corporate/newsroom/articles/2019/07/lte-in-gulf/T-Mobile-600-MHz-Cities-and-Towns-July-2019.pdf

The list of new communities grows weekly.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/28/2019 at 2:05 PM, twangster said:

TMobile is also aggressively deploying 600Mhz which will greatly improve it's signal across the country.  Verizon lobbied hard against that effort for years but it was finally approved by the FCC last year and is now becoming reality.  

https://www.t-mobile.com/content/dam/t-mobile/corporate/newsroom/articles/2019/07/lte-in-gulf/T-Mobile-600-MHz-Cities-and-Towns-July-2019.pdf

The list of new communities grows weekly.  

 

How can I dislike this post? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2019 at 3:40 AM, Brett_FL said:

What's everyones experience while in the different Caribbean and Bahamas ports?   I am on Sprint network but thinking of a change however one thing holding me back is how well Sprint seems to work everywhere we cruise and I never have any roaming or extra charges.  The speeds are usually 3G at best but good enough for email a check=in so on.

Ive been with friends on Verizon who couldn't even get service while we were at some of the islands much less even pay extra though that was several years ago.

I would concider Verizon or Xfinity mobile if I did switch. 

Take a look at AT&T, we don't have 3G, we don't have 4G, we have 5Ge.  Light years ahead of Sprint.   #SELLSELLSELL

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/28/2019 at 2:05 PM, twangster said:

TMobile is also aggressively deploying 600Mhz which will greatly improve it's signal across the country.  Verizon lobbied hard against that effort for years but it was finally approved by the FCC last year and is now becoming reality.  

https://www.t-mobile.com/content/dam/t-mobile/corporate/newsroom/articles/2019/07/lte-in-gulf/T-Mobile-600-MHz-Cities-and-Towns-July-2019.pdf

The list of new communities grows weekly.  

 

Funny how service is everywhere BUT their HOMETOWN! I've wanted to switch from Verizon but T-Mobile service here isn't that great. When my friend who has T-Mobile has slow or no service I give him a hard time. Hopefully they'll have service here soon. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2019 at 8:53 AM, Atlantix2000 said:

Verizon offers Travel Pass which extends your service plan to foreign countries for a daily charge of $5-10 depending on the location.  The first time you attempt to use phone/text/data in a foreign country, they send a free text stating the cost and asking you to approve.  If you reply yes, then you have 24 hours of service from that point even if you change locations.  If you want service every day, there might be a cheaper option but for contacting home once in awhile, I think Travel Pass is great.  Note:  this will only provide service on the islands.  While at sea, your only options are Cellular At Sea which is very expensive or you pay for Royal's Wifi plan (Voom) and use Wifi Calling or Messenger or any other app that will route your calls through Wifi.

I agree with @Atlantix2000 said about Verizon having travel pass, but I don’t agree with what was stated about how the travel pass works & that you are sent a text with your location and the price for that location.


The price for the travel pass is $5 per day per device when you call or text people each day durning your travels on the days that you use your devices connected to your Verizon account.

if you have a smartphone you can download Verizon wireless app (if you decide to switch to Verizon) & create an online account & add travel pass ti your account & then you call Verizon & tell them what countries you are gonna be visiting. 

When I had Verizon I added travel pass to my account & then I called Verizon and told them the countries that I was going to visit, so when the cruise ship was within a few miles of each country we were sailing by I would get text when we are near every country. The first time that i used phone/text/data in a foreign country, they did not send a free text that has stated the cost while using my phone in every country that we were cruising by & I was not asked to approve the cost for using my phone in a foreign port.

@Atlantix2000is incorrect when they made the statement that travel pass only provides service on the islands and not on the ship. Travel pass provides service on the islands and on ships. I cruised twice with travel pass on my account & one of those times I had purchased Voom on that cruise and I had made several phone calls from my smartphone & sent several text both on land and I the ship & travel pass worked on the ship & on the islands, & the other time I was not with Verizon but I did purchase Voom & i was still able to send text & make phone calls from my smartphone, & my smartphone was useable with just Voom & without the travel pass.

Edited by Bakerette
Link to post
Share on other sites

Firmly in the TMobile camp.

Its good enough at home but every cruise i have been on you just turn on the phone, connect to the local network and facebook/texts/emails work normally. And its all included at no additional charge (At least on my plan, check your plan before you assume its the same on all plans).

The best part is voice is not included so unfortunately i don't answer calls while on vacation 🙂

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2019 at 9:12 AM, twangster said:

I always take a picture of the cruise compass listing the local contact information for the port agent and ship and it's very comforting knowing if something happens I can call the ship.    

 

Hi twangster - can you explain how the port agent can assist you in calling the ship if needed?  Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, raahc said:

Hi twangster - can you explain how the port agent can assist you in calling the ship if needed?  Thanks!

They can't assist you calling the ship, however they can assist in other matters. 

If you are going to be late returning to the ship or cutting it close the port agent can be a contact to use that will speak english plus usually local languages.  They can be a means to communicate your position and status so the ship might not leave you.

If you miss the ship the port agent will have items from your safe such as passport, credit cards, cash that you will want as you try to figure out next steps.

If you wake up in a hospital after being in an accident the port agent can assist you with matters related to the cruise after the ship has departed.

Basically the port agent is a local liaison that is a resource to use when things don't go right.  They might not be able to answer all your questions or step in to your personal situation but they can advise you on general topics such as where the closest embassy is. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, twangster said:

They can't assist you calling the ship, however they can assist in other matters. 

If you are going to be late returning to the ship or cutting it close the port agent can be a contact to use that will speak english plus usually local languages.  They can be a means to communicate your position and status so the ship might not leave you.

If you miss the ship the port agent will have items from your safe such as passport, credit cards, cash that you will want as you try to figure out next steps.

If you wake up in a hospital after being in an accident the port agent can assist you with matters related to the cruise after the ship has departed.

Basically the port agent is a local liaison that is a resource to use when things don't go right.  They might not be able to answer all your questions or step in to your personal situation but they can advise you on general topics such as where the closest embassy is. 

Oh wow, that's a lot of great and useful info.  Good to know.  Thank you so much!

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bakerette said:

I agree with @Atlantix2000 said about Verizon having travel pass, but I don’t agree with what was stated about how the travel pass works & that you are sent a text with your location and the price for that location.


The price for the travel pass is $5 per day per device when you call or text people each day durning your travels on the days that you use your devices connected to your Verizon account.

if you have a smartphone you can download Verizon wireless app (if you decide to switch to Verizon) & create an online account & add travel pass ti your account & then you call Verizon & tell them what countries you are gonna be visiting. 

When I had Verizon I added travel pass to my account & then I called Verizon and told them the countries that I was going to visit, so when the cruise ship was within a few miles of each country we were sailing by I would get text when we are near every country. The first time that i used phone/text/data in a foreign country, they did not send a free text that has stated the cost while using my phone in every country that we were cruising by & I was not asked to approve the cost for using my phone in a foreign port.

@Atlantix2000is incorrect when they made the statement that travel pass only provides service on the islands and not on the ship. Travel pass provides service on the islands and on ships. I cruised twice with travel pass on my account & one of those times I had purchased Voom on that cruise and I had made several phone calls from my smartphone & sent several text both on land and I the ship & travel pass worked on the ship & on the islands, & the other time I was not with Verizon but I did purchase Voom & i was still able to send text & make phone calls from my smartphone, & my smartphone was useable with just Voom & without the travel pass.

Well, there's a few differences (and years) between our explanations.  I just double checked with my parents who used Travel Pass in Europe this month.  On days they used service, they got a text stating that they were being charged for Travel Pass and giving the date/time it would expire (24 hours from first use).  There was no way to reject and perhaps that has changed since I used it on my honeymoon but that's how I remember it from back then.

When I said Travel Pass doesn't work on the ship, I meant out at sea away from an island and that is true.  There simply aren't cell towers in the middle of the ocean so you can only connect to the ship's tower which uses Cellular at Sea which costs an arm and a leg.  However, within a certain distance of land, the ships are legally required to turn off their towers and you can connect to the cell towers on land while technically being on the ship.  In that situation, yes, you will be using Travel Pass.  Note that this is only going to happen when you head into and out of a port.  If the ship is passing an island, it should be far enough out that you can only connect to the ship's tower.

However, you mentioned you purchased Voom on both your cruises which is WiFi service.  With Voom, your calls and texts will be routed over the ship's WiFi and you are not using Verizon, Travel Pass, or any other company's service to make those calls/texts.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bakerette said:

The price for the travel pass is $5 per day per device when you call or text people each day durning your travels on the days that you use your devices connected to your Verizon account.

if you have a smartphone you can download Verizon wireless app (if you decide to switch to Verizon) & create an online account & add travel pass ti your account & then you call Verizon & tell them what countries you are gonna be visiting.

Having used Verizon Travel Pass last month, the price per day is $5 for Mexico and Canada. The Bahamas and other Caribbean islands are $10/day.

You can also simply text "Travel" to 4004 and it will be acknowledged on your account (not charged though until actually used). No need to identify where you will be going (though you might want to tell your bank/credit card company 😉 )

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...