Texting while on board ship

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#1
Fresno, California
567 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I have done a search on the boards for "texting" but none of the answers really addresses my question so I am hoping someone who has personal knowledge will be able to supply an answer. My granddaughter (age 14)will be accompanying us on an Alaska cruise on the Millenium. She has a cell phone and the plan her family has includes unlimited texting each month. If we are on the ship, would there be an extra charge above and beyond her monthly plan for any texts she might send or receive while on the ship? The plan is with AT&T. I have found that cell phone calls made to and from the ship are $2.99 per minute but I can't find information regarding the texting issue. I looked at the AT&T web site, but am still confused. If we are in a port, off the ship, are there extra charges for phone calls and/or texting? or would that just fall within the plan coverage? Hope someone can help with this.
#2
13,214 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I won't try to give a definitive answer -- others know much more about texting than I do, but I will tell you that which towers you are on can be very unpredictable, and it is possible to be in U.S. waters, or what you think are U.S. waters, and be on Canadian towers, so watch out for international roaming. That's a whole complicated issue in itself.
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#4
Shalimar FL
5,108 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
At $0.50 per outgoing text and I think $0.30 for incoming (AT&T) for a teen with 'hot thumbs' on the keyboard, that could get expensive! good luck.

I do use texting to let my kids know we are alive and so on. Handy and relatively cheap, but can get out of hand at that rate.

Denny
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#5
Clarksburg, WV
13,970 Posts
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The AT&T map shows that Juneau has 3G, Skagway and Ketchikan the Edge Network. If in port and on the AT&T network (look for the 3G or EDGE symbol on your phone) you are covered under the AT&T plan. Your phone also has a specific symbol when NOT on the AT&T network and when 'roaming'. When at sea you are most likely on the ships wireless system and have to purchase a plan for access. Otherwise the Inside Passage will have little coverage at best, literally none in glacier areas.
#6
Ohio
164 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Why does she need to text on a vacation anyway?? Maybe just enjoy the trip and learn something.
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#7
Michigan
7,870 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by flclsax
Why does she need to text on a vacation anyway?? Maybe just enjoy the trip and learn something.
Those were kind of my thoughts. Lock the cell phone in the safe... That is what I always do!
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#8
C-eh-N-eh-D-eh!
466 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by flclsax
Why does she need to text on a vacation anyway?? Maybe just enjoy the trip and learn something.
Thanks for breaking the ice with this response. I'd bet that there are many of us thinking the exact same thing.

I've also thought the same about laptops. The last place I'm taking mine is on a cruise ship or vacation of any kind.
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#9
Boise, Idaho
891 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
DO NOT USE YOUR CELLPHONE FOR ANY REASON WHILE ON BOARD THE SHIP!!! I can not stress this strongly enough. We have sailed on Celebrity twice in Alaska...the first time we did not have texting....the second we did and the bill when I got home was outrageous!!! If she really needs to use her phone, have her use it in port when she is off the ship. All the ports have great cell phone service...you should not have a problem.
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#10
Moon Township, Pa
23,168 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
There is an inherent problem with texting while on an Alaska cruise. I recently read an article, and posted it over on the Ask A Cruise Question board, that said if you're using your cell phone in certain areas of Alaska, the service can bounce off cell towers in Canada, and the man mentioned in the article came home to a cell bill of over $1000, and a lot of that was due to texting. There's just seems to be something weird with the cell towers in Alaska and Canada that can cause a problem.

OP, you really need to take that cell away from the granddaughter and make sure she is weaned from the texting. Personally, I just don't understand why these kids just can't talk to each other and send hundreds of texts a day, but that's the way of the world. Your granddaughter's parents could find themselves with a huge phone bill if they don't make her leave the cell phone at home.
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Darcie
#11
740 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Teens text - that is how they communicate with each other and their families - I would hate to have to communicate the way my great grandparents did - writing letters that tooks weeks to arrive at their destination. My own mother mourned the loss of letter writing since all of her children called her instead of writing her letters. Perhaps this grandchild wants to keep in touch with the rest of her family and share her experiences on a daily basis. I would contact AT&T directly and ask them to send you something in writing. There are inexpensive plans that you can add temporarily to include international texting and calling.
#12
Fresno, California
567 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Thanks for the responses. I should have known that people would have the reaction many did regarding texting. She will not be texting 24/7. We have already told her this is a vacation and she is to have her head up looking at things and enjoying our trip rather than texting. However, if she did want to communicate with either her mother, father or best girlfriend occasionally I wanted to be prepared and to be able to let her parents know what the cost might be. This was just for informational purposes only. Sounds as though the cell phone will be used for emergencies only. We will get post cards and communicate the old fashioned way.

Thank you, Jeal, for your understanding. People are judging a 14 year old girl without any reason for their comments.

snowmc: My thoughts exactly. I thought that being on shore would be the best time to communicate with family and friends. Communicating by cell phone on the ship would be on an emergency basis only. Hopefully, we will be too busy ashore having fun to have to think about calling or texting anyone. Limits will be applied.

I asked for pertinent information regarding cell phone texting charges so we could make an informed decision and I got personal opinions from people with nothing else to offer (you know who you are).
#13
Shalimar FL
5,108 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Not sure where all these posts about huge costs are coming from. As I posted before, AT&T charges you $0.50/text for outgoing. There isn't a charge to use the cell phone line when texting, just the text charge. And as to 'weird Canadian and Alaskan towers'....OK, put I'm afraid I'm not too interested in internet 'facts' by some unknown guy. Sounds more like he didn't secure his data roaming and got huge charges when he used an Application that used GPS locating, which can be very expensive when roaming.

There was an earlier thread about using a cell phone, and I explained how to insure you don't get unplanned charges on an iPhone - put it in Airplane mode and also turn off the Data Roaming capability. This insures your system doesn't hook up automatically such as when you select some App that uses GPS locating, or if someone calls you.

But the posts that followed were all about how some 'friend' got huge charges and so on and told everyone to pull the battery and lock it in a safe. What it really meant is their 'friends' didn't secure their phone data/call-out capabilities properly.

As many of us need to use our phones and computers, I agree we don't need lectures from people who think that everyone should do exactly as they do for their vacation. I personally have to keep some contact with my office, and certainly with my family. I use the cell phone, emails, and texting. Texting is the most efficient and cheapest.

My joke about 'hot fingered' teens was just that. Enjoy your vacation as you wish to enjoy it, and don't worry about those telling you to do as they think you should do to enjoy your own vacation.

Denny
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#14
Chicago area
14,081 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Here is the correct answer with the information the OP requested with no editorial (Denny had most of this and I'll add a little):

For AT&T, regular texting (not photo nor video) from the ship is $0.50 for each outgoing message. Incoming messages are billed based on the user's home rate. So if she has an unlimited texting plan at home then there is no charge for incoming texts.

To verify, or look for other countries or ships, go to the AT&T International Roaming site here:
http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/in...al-roaming.jsp
Used the drop down menu to select Celebrity Cruise Line which will indicate the call rates. Click on the small "details" link and you'll get a pop up which has the texting information at the bottom. Likewise you can look up the rates for Canada or any other country. For example you'll see that the texting rates for Canada are the same as the ship rate - so she'll do no worse than the ship rate for standard text messages if she accidently locks onto a Canada tower.

If one intends to use their mobile phone on a ship or anywhere out of the country you need to call your wireless carrier and verify that international roaming is enabled or you might not get full service. There is no charge for this except for actual usage fees. You do not need the international "plan" they will likely tell you about which has a small monthly fee since there is no discount on the ship for calls or text with the plan (the plan does give a small discount for international land base use).
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#15
Boston
214 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Outgoing texts at $0.50/ea can rack up pretty quickly... DW and I text each other through out the day and I've been shocked to realize we might send at least 100 quick messages to each other on any given day.

I have a Blackberry and on our Summit cruise in January, I was worried about getting killed with data roaming charges. I wanted to be able to stay in touch with my team at work (I manage a core group of IT staff) and be available in case anything critical came up.

The day prior to the trip I called Verizon and had them add unlimited international data roaming just for the length of the cruise (+1 just in case). This added about $13 to my bill for the entire trip and I didn't need to worry at all about texts or e-mails.

I don't know if AT&T will offer the same kinds of options, but this could save a lot of money and frustration if the urge to text is overwhelming.
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#16
Clearwater, Florida
944 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by flclsax
Why does she need to text on a vacation anyway?? Maybe just enjoy the trip and learn something.




Yeah....don't you know that texting is bad for teenagers, and can cause severe dain bramage? Not to mention the fact that it severely stunts their learning capabilities, and is very annoying and disrupting to other people on vacation.

You certainly are an irresponsible grandparent, allowing her to keep in touch with her mom and dad like that.
#17
Atlanta, GA
608 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
With AT&T all you have to do is look at the screen of your phone to see what cell phone service you are on. For an Alaskan cruise you will probably see these three things on your phone:

AT&T: That means your calls and texts will be billed at your normal rates.

CellularAtSea: This is the name of the company you roam on when on the ship. Voice is $2.99 per minute and texts are $0.50 for outgoing texts. Incoming texts are at normal rates. This does not include picture messaging which can cost more.

ROGERS: This is a Canadian cell phone company that AT&T most commonly roams on. Rates depend on your plan. It is not as expensive as when on the ship, but it is still costly.

The ship's CellularAtSea service should turn off automatically when in port or if clost to shore. Bascially, if the ship's cell phone system can "see" a land based cell phone signal, the ship system will automatically turn off. The ship system will go on and off many times while going up the inside passage.

I mentioned the sytem turning off when you are in port so you know that you can use the phone on the ship when in an Alaskan port and be billed at the AT&T rate. Example: If the ship arrives in Icy Straight Point at 6:00 AM and your tender time is not until 9:00 AM you can use your phone on the ship as long as you see AT&T on the screen. We have done the Alaskan cruise twice on Celebrity and each time we would check in with family late in the afternoon when we were back onboard the ship but we were still in port. I was just careful to look at the screen of my phone to make sure it reads AT&T.

I hope you have a great cruise!
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#19
North Eastern Pennsylvania
342 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by mobster75
Outgoing texts at $0.50/ea can rack up pretty quickly... DW and I text each other through out the day and I've been shocked to realize we might send at least 100 quick messages to each other on any given day.

I have a Blackberry and on our Summit cruise in January, I was worried about getting killed with data roaming charges. I wanted to be able to stay in touch with my team at work (I manage a core group of IT staff) and be available in case anything critical came up.

The day prior to the trip I called Verizon and had them add unlimited international data roaming just for the length of the cruise (+1 just in case). This added about $13 to my bill for the entire trip and I didn't need to worry at all about texts or e-mails.

I don't know if AT&T will offer the same kinds of options, but this could save a lot of money and frustration if the urge to text is overwhelming.
I am also with Verizon, and yours was the first Verizon post that we saw. I want to make sure that I understand what you had said. We both have Droids and have e-mails and texts delivered in this fashion. If we do as you say and have the $13.00 added on, will we incur extra charges from the ships cell carrier for e-mails and/or texts that come through? Do we need to disable any features of the phone while on the ship? We are leaving Sunday on the Summit and would appreciate your input.
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#20
788 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
I have verizon and even traveling in South America the charges were 50cents to send and 5 cents to receive. In Alaska it is the same, in Juneau the library is right by the port and you can do internet for free.