cell phone/internet usage in south pacific

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#1
1 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
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!
#2
more or less in TX
10,418 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
fairly reliable, very slow and very expensive.

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.
#3
WI
297 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
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.
#4
The OC
5,799 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
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.
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#5
WI
297 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by kenish
BTW, global phones are truly that...work from pole to pole on the same general concept as GPS satellites.
Verizon, however, uses the term "global phone" to refer to their combination CDMA/GSM phones. We upgraded to one before going to Australia because it was a five-week trip.
#6
Canberra, Australia
5,080 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
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".
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