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Does anyone have any info on cell phone coverage (Verizon) on a cruise from Hawaii to Australia? All Royal Caribbean could tell me is that their satellite supports most cell phones. Also, is an internet connection fairly reliable throughout the course of a day? Thanks for any info!
If you really must stay in touch consider buying a satellite telephone so you are independent but be sure there is satellite coverage on your route.
It is not unusual for at sea cell service and internet service to not work at all for periods of time. In all cases verify costs and see what plans the cruise company offers especially related to the catagory of room you buy for the trip. Some companies offer free and/or heavier discounter internet service to suite passengers.
The Verizon Wireless web site lists cruise ships on which service is available. We had Verizon service on Celebrity in Australia and New Zealand last year so Royal Caribbean is probably supported as well. However, you will not have service on land in Australia unless you have a global phone that supports GSM instead of a standard Verizon CDMA phone. I can't comment on the reliability of on-board cell service in the middle of the South Pacific, but I had a consistent signal between Sydney and Auckland.
A few FYIs- We are with Verizon and they have a great phone rental program. It's called the "occasional traveler" plan and they rent you a phone for 30 days max. Shipping both ways is prepaid, the cost is $9.99 for the whole thing. The rate is $1.29/min for Australia, or for $5 extra the rate drops to 99c/min. There were no hidden gotchas or fees. Your cell number in the USA travels with you, and Verizon will transfer your contacts to the rental phone. I told family, friends, and colleagues not to call unless it was urgent. All other calls showed up on Caller ID and I rejected the ones I didn't want to receive. Also voicemail worked fine.
The plan is great if you don't plan to use a lot of minutes. Other rental places may be better if you do because the rental is higher ($50-$100) but the per minute rates are lower. Beware though, many give you a number in a third country (usually the UK). Then US and Aussie callers have to place a call to the UK.
Last option is purchasing a phone outright either on eBay or overseas. Be sure they are "unlocked" so you can use a SIM card wherever you travel in the future. Also be sure they are "tri-band"....even if a US phone is GSM (e.g. AT&T or T-Mobile) it won't work in other GSM systems unless it's tri-band.
Friends cruise a lot and we stay in contact via email. South Pacific is the worst area...when they are down there I don't bother emailing them. They have stopped buying internet "packages" on South Pac cruises; the connection is so poor they often can't use all the minutes.
BTW, global phones are truly that...work from pole to pole on the same general concept as GPS satellites.
==================== Chandris Ellenis, Mediterranean- July 1978
X Infinity, Baja- October 2005
Carnival Paradise, Baja- January 2007
HAL Zaandam, Alaska- July 2008
HAL Oosterdam, Sea of Cortez- April 2010
X Summit, Southern Caribbean Part 1- November 2012
X Summit, Southern Caribbean Part 2- November 2013
If I remember correctly we had cell coverage nearly all of our trip from Australia to Hawaii. I can't comment on sea service around New Calidonia and Vanuatu as the Aussie ships didn't have cell service when I sailed with them. I found it cheaper for people to ring me than me ring them. However Aussie phone co's charge much more than USs, especially roaming. Texting is cheaper for a short "I'm ok, feed the cat".
Pacific Sky - P236B - 5 December 2002 Pacific Sky - P421 - 6 July 2004 Pacific Star - R603 - 19 January 2006 Pacific Sun - N605 - 5 February 2006 Summit Southbound Alaska - 27 May 2006 Pacific Star - R635 - 25 October 2006 Mercury - Mexican Riviera - 6 April 2007 Pacific Sun - N722 - 15 July 2007 Mercury - New Zealand/Australia - 6 January 2008 Volendam - New Zealand/Australia - 19 December 2008 Rhapsody of the Seas - Sydney/Hawaii - 13 April 2009
Volendam - New Zealand/Australia - 20 December 2009 Volendam - South Pacific - 6 January 2010 Volendam - New Zealand - 2 January 2011 Volendam - South Pacific - 16 January 2011 Rhapsody of the Seas - Nowhere - 3 November 2011 Zaandam - Asia - 23 December 2011 Pacific Sun - N204 - 25 January 2012 Sun Princess - S206 - 1 March 2012 Oosterdam - New Zealand - 19 December 2012 Voyager of the Seas - New Zealand & South Pacific - 13 January 2013 Pacific Jewel - J318 - 24 May 2013 Arcadia - LA/Sydney - 2 February 2014