cell phone/internet usage in south pacific
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 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
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.