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GlamO

Best Cruise line or method for video chatting to home?

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We are "new" to cruising but have cruised before on our Honeymoon before video calling was really a "thing". We are planning a cruise now and looking at cruise lines. This would be the first time we leave our children to go somewhere alone, so it's really important to us to be able to contact home and check back in. Video chatting would be preferable but just text messaging -would- work if that does work better. We are looking for either the best cruise line for wifi (video calling or calling over facebook messenger) or any tips and tricks for staying in touch with kids at home? I hope I have put this in the correct forum! Thanks in advance :) 


(we are looking at the Eastern Caribbean, sailed HAL before as a couple and enjoyed that but willing to branch out)

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.  There are boards here for each of the cruise lines.  Since many have different methods for accomplishing this, I would repost on the board here for each cruise line you are considering.  EM

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Assuming that you have enough on board bandwidth, try the WhatsAp program.  However, the person on the other end also has to have WhatsAp on their computer or phone.

 

DON

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Posted (edited)

Carnival has terrible WiFi unless you want to use it at 3am.  And that’s the upgraded WiFi.  However I assume your kids will be sleeping at that time

Edited by Luckiestmanonearth

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Posted (edited)

I think you need to read this article to understand how cellphones work at sea - but this will answer all of your questions:

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1752

in addition, it is imperative to call your cellphone carrier prior to your cruise to set up an international roaming package, otherwise the charges will be insanely high.  Your cellphone carrier also may not have a contract with the specific cruise line.  Generally, we only use our cellphones while in port and we only text unless there is an emergency going on back home.

 

It is also important to understand that most cruise lines limit WIFI broadband so video chatting may not work at all.  In fact, my husband had a terrible time sending a work file on NCL due to the limitation until I suggested we go to the ship's computer center where he was finally able to transmit his file on the ship's computer.

Edited by SuiteTraveler

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Enjoy the high cost of roaming fees if you plan to use data on your mobile phone plan

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5 minutes ago, SuiteTraveler said:

I think you need to read this article to understand how cellphones work at sea - but this will answer all of your questions:

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1752

in addition, it is imperative to call your cellphone carrier prior to your cruise to set up an international roaming package, otherwise the charges will be insanely high.  Your cellphone carrier also may not have a contract with the specific cruise line.  Generally, we only use our cellphones while in port and we only text unless there is an emergency going on back home.

 

It is also important to understand that most cruise lines limit WIFI broadband so video chatting may not work at all.  In fact, my husband had a terrible time sending a work file on NCL due to the limitation until I suggested we go to the ship's computer center where he was finally able to transmit his file on the ship's computer.

Thank you, this is very helpful. It looks like the best bet is to bring an Ipad and turn phones off, only using Facebook messenger or similar program for communicating to home.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, GlamO said:

best bet is to bring an Ipad and turn phones off

 

Just turn on airplane mode and then re-enable WiFi, accomplishes the same thing as just using an iPad but with a smaller screen.  If your carrier supports WiFi calling, set it up before the trip and it should work over the ship's WiFi, no international plan needed for calls or texts while on board.

Edited by hallux

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We cruise with Viking Ocean, which includes free and unlimited wi-fi. Using my laptop, we Skype (video) at least once per week with our grandson.

 

The base fare may be more expensive, but it is almost the equivalent of mainstream lines, when factoring the total cost of the cruise.

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I've used the cabin phone to call home from various Carnival ships @ $1.99 per minute.  A 5 minute call was just under ten bucks.  Being a guy, most calls were even shorter and cost less than that.

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23 hours ago, evandbob said:

I've used the cabin phone to call home from various Carnival ships @ $1.99 per minute.  A 5 minute call was just under ten bucks.  Being a guy, most calls were even shorter and cost less than that.

 

And for $10 a day, you can get wifi, and call for free.

 

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At sea cellular ranges from expensive to INSANELY expensive.

 

Wifi calling is the easiest for voice and text.

 

Most wifi should be fine for video calling, but expect the video to be choppy, especially at peak usage times.  

 

You can use any of the video apps that you wish.  They all pretty much work the same, and use similar bandwidth.  Face Time, Messenger, Skype, Handouts, Whatsapp, Viber, etc.

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Posted (edited)

We do it in port, on our ipads. 

 

We only use the on board internet if we have free minutes, and even then only to check email.  We find the access and speed much better on land.  We stay away from busy cafes near the dock where you see lots of people doing the same.  We go back a few blocks to a quiet bar or cafe that has wireless.   This has always worked for us.

 

The only issue for us is being cognizant of time zones, especially when travelling in Asia.

Edited by iancal

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