Cell phone in Europe. My own or rental?

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Middle Tennessee
355 Posts
Joined Sep 2001

I am sure there is probably a thread on this somewhere, but I cant find it.

We are cruising out of Barcelona, to Italy and Monaco. I am wondering what the best option is for communication.

I have a Verizon Blackberry that i can use, however, I am not sure this is the best option. I've heard of renting a phone, purchasing a foreign SIM card, etc

Any advise on the most economical, most convenient, etc?

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610 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I believe the Blackberry has an international sim card that you can activate; someone on our cruise tour had one; however, I bought a cell phone with an international sim card and a 1-800 number; so when people call me, it is just pennies to call me; I am bringing my normal cell phone too, it has an international sim card that I can activate. My international phone didn't have voice mail; so bringing my personal phone, I can check on my messages.
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Past cruises: NCL Norway, Mellenium Cruise, April, 2000; NCL Dawn, Nov. 2004; NCL Spirit, Dec. 2004; Carnival Fascination, Halloween Cruise, Oct, 2005; Carnival Fantasy, Sept, 2006; Carnival Fantasy, Mardi Gras, Feb, 2007; Carnival Fantasy, April, 2007; Carnival Ecstasy, Halloween Cruise, Oct. 2007; Carnival Inspiration, Super Bowl Cruise, Feb. 2008; Carnival Imagination, Halloween Cruise, Oct. 2008; RCCL Voyager of the Seas Med cruise, Oct. 2009; Carnival Triumph, Aug, 2010; RCCL Voyager of the Seas Med cruise, Oct. 2010; Carnival Liberty, Super Bowl Cruise, Feb. 5, 2011; Carnival Miracle, Dec. 12, 2011; Carnival Miracle, Super Bowl Cruise, Jan. 29, 2012; Carnival Sunshine, Dec. 1, 2013
2,788 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
My understanding is that a Blackberry can be very expensive to use internationally unless you turn off all but the phone/text useage. I'm also with Verizon and was extremely happy with their global phone option. I was able to rent a global phone for $10 for a month (and when I returned it after two weeks, I received a credit for the unused time). I kept my same number and voice mail and calls were 99 cents a minute (I don't remember the cost of texts). I suggest you call Verizon (you can find the number for help with international service on their website) and ask them what would be best. I was pretty surprised how helpful they were and how quick and easy the process was - and much less expensive than I thought it would be.

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Toronto, Canada
911 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
It all depends how often do you need to use the phone. It's usually best option to buy sim card in each country with local carriers but for multiple countries roaming sim card is better. I used this one http://cgi.ebay.ca/GSM-International...item20ae116a04
free to receive calls on most Western European countries and 49c pm to call. You'll also need an unlocked multi-frequency (most European carriers are on 900 khz). Current price of refurbished Motorola V3 is $40 on ebay (including shipping).

Some carriers sell block of air time if you plan to use your existing US phone. There are pro and cons in each choice all depending on amount of usage.
Bristol, Tennessee
68 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
We have a basic phone and basic service through Verizon. So, for us, our best option was to rent a global phone from Verizon through their global traveler program. We'll order it a week before the cruise. We just really needed it in case of emergencies.
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Phoenix, Arizona
6,284 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by thera
We have a basic phone and basic service through Verizon. So, for us, our best option was to rent a global phone from Verizon through their global traveler program. We'll order it a week before the cruise. We just really needed it in case of emergencies.
I did the same last year and will the same this year. Worked smoothly. I don't have international on my phone, so I called Verizon, got the Global Calling plan for 30 days ($5.99) and they sent me/loaned me a phone that would work internationally. I only sent text messages back home to let my kids know where we were and that "all was well" and they sent back "all is well, have fun" messages, too. I only paid for the postage coming and going for the free loaner phone ($10.00) Then my text messages cost me around $15 for the whole trip. (50 cents outbound, 5 cents to receive).

A bargain.
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