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WiFi Q & A: Device use, Apps, Locations & more!


Lufrit
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just following up on this.  We are at Coco Cay today and find my shows the location of my computer and AirTags sort of correctly.  They are all shown as being within a fairly large circle that includes the ship and part of the island. My phone is on airplane mode but connected to the ship's wifi.

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Hey everyone,

 

So happy to see the buzz of activity again, with everyone busy planning on the best way to use their tech while traveling. We got to this point and it's so exciting! 🎉

 

It seemed like a good idea to test what we do on some other topics and pin popular conversations to the top of the board. This makes it quick and convenient for people to find the information they might be looking for.

 

Maybe we can give it a try here to see how it goes? The idea would be to share tips and and info on:

 

  • ways to use your tablets and phone while aboard or in port
  • can I use my tv stick when I'm on board
  • will television streaming apps work
  • sim cards and e-sims
  • how to maximize the use of apps off-line (lots of apps are available and useful, even google maps, offline) and while on wifi, and
  • strategies for saving money on wifi
  • can I use my game console when I'm on board
  • and much more

 

Feel free to ask questions in the thread, add in your own helpful ideas, tips, and tricks (with any links that align with board guidelines, for reference and info) so we can build up a useful collection of resources that's easy to access without having to scroll through page and scroll. It also helps keeps things up to date because you can automatically go to the more recent pages, or pop into the topic and do a search for something specific. 

 

Let's see how it goes, shall we? And of course, you may always still post your own topic. 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

Has anyone purchased a “travelers” SIM card so your US carrier cell phone can be used in Europe for a much more economical cost ?    We are on a TA soon, will hit 5 European ports, then we will spend a couple more days at the end in Amsterdam.  We can do nothing, and pay $10/day if we use it, with our carrier (vzw) or it appears we can get a SIM card via Amazon and cover the full travel window for about $30 total.   My key question is regarding initial activation…if I need to somehow authenticate myself in person before use, or if it’s as simple as it sounds.  Has anybody done this ?    Main goal is maintain a method of contact with kids back home, in case any family emergency develops while we are away.  Not interested in streaming movies etc.

Edited by cruzer0007
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I did this on a land trip to England and France right before the pandemic.  Very simple to do.  You just have to know how to change your SIM card.  We went to a shop in London on the first day of our trip and purchased the SIM there rather than doing it advance.  At the time, it was a little cheaper to do it that way and the shop was around the corner from our hotel.  Your phone also has to be unlocked (contact your carrier if you're not sure).  You can research the different companies to see which offers the best plan for where you're going and how you're traveling.  I would avoid the companies on places like Amazon that tout "global" coverage and look at the EU carriers directly as those are more likely to work better.

 

I used that temporary SIM card for data as well as phone calls while out and about.  The data aspect was very handy to check email, use the internet, and access GPS/maps.  Using a new SIM card gives you a new phone number, so you would have to give that number to people to call if you wanted to use it in that manner.  I would put my regular SIM back in when I was connected to WiFi at the hotel to check messages to my real number, but I don't place high priority on being immediately contacted by phone for anything.  I didn't feel unreachable because I could access my email using either card and had left instructions for those who needed it to email me if they needed me for something.  My family could also text the new number to send me a message because they all have free international texting with their plans.  You might also consider using something like WhatsApp or some other account-based app if you want people to be able to contact you directly that way instead.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, bEwAbG said:

I did this on a land trip to England and France right before the pandemic.  Very simple to do.  You just have to know how to change your SIM card.  We went to a shop in London on the first day of our trip and purchased the SIM there rather than doing it advance.  At the time, it was a little cheaper to do it that way and the shop was around the corner from our hotel.  Your phone also has to be unlocked (contact your carrier if you're not sure).  You can research the different companies to see which offers the best plan for where you're going and how you're traveling.  I would avoid the companies on places like Amazon that tout "global" coverage and look at the EU carriers directly as those are more likely to work better.

 

I used that temporary SIM card for data as well as phone calls while out and about.  The data aspect was very handy to check email, use the internet, and access GPS/maps.  Using a new SIM card gives you a new phone number, so you would have to give that number to people to call if you wanted to use it in that manner.  I would put my regular SIM back in when I was connected to WiFi at the hotel to check messages to my real number, but I don't place high priority on being immediately contacted by phone for anything.  I didn't feel unreachable because I could access my email using either card and had left instructions for those who needed it to email me if they needed me for something.  My family could also text the new number to send me a message because they all have free international texting with their plans.  You might also consider using something like WhatsApp or some other account-based app if you want people to be able to contact you directly that way instead.

 

 

I have used both the Orange Holiday Europe Sim Card and the Orange Holiday Zen Sim Card in Europe.  I kept the original one active for a couple of years by recharging it every six months, but then it expired during the pandemic.  I got the second one in October, and plan to use it again on our upcoming cruises.  The two downsides to these cards is that they are only good for 14 days at a time (but can be recharged), and that even if you register the cards, they will expire unless recharged within about 6 months after the last recharge date (I decided not to recharge during the pandemic, which turned out to be the right call).  And I guess another downside is that you can probably buy a Sim card for a lower price when in Europe.  The upsides to me were not having to search around for a Sim card in a port or airport, and the fact that I knew in advance the European phone number and could provide it if needed.  As somebody else has mentioned, you won't be able to use the Sim card at sea, only where there are land cell tower stations.

 

Tom & Judy

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Posted (edited)

Thanks all ... I could have done a better job in my initial inquiry, but I fully expected this was a land-only scenario, I had no expectation it would work while on the ship (unless of course the ship is close enough to port to get signal from a tower on land).  Orange Holiday is indeed the product I spotted on Amazon.  Appreciate all the insights.  For me, the appeal to do this now rather than on arrival is the convenience of having it work the first place we stop, rather than having to go seek out a local vendor.  I would expect the price delta between Amazon, and a local vendor in the European region to be pretty negligible, and the 14 day limitation is no issue for me, thats more than I need.  My primary concern was if it really would work as soon as I power up with the SIM card inserted, and all indications are positive for that.

Edited by cruzer0007
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I did that with a company called Giff Gaff they sent sim to me in  US I installed before I got on plane turned on at Heathrow. No problem used in England, Norway and Italy. 

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We have traveled to Europe on our own a number of times. Have gotten locals SIM cards in all countries we have visited including Israel. Would definitely do it again.

 

Usually they have a kiosk in the airport terminal. Research it ahead of time. We have had zero problems using a local sim card for far less money than what Verizon charges at $10 day.

 

Let the merchant install it & make sure everything is working properly including email, text & internet before you leave the store. We did that in Lisbon in October 2019 for our 2.5 week trip with no problem.

 

Make sure you get them to give you your local phone # & make sure they call it before you leave the store. Its great to have a local number when calling restaurants for reservations. Most local business will not return a call to an international phone # unless it's local.

 

You will need to know your email passwords so be prepared. You also must have an unlocked phone.

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Just out of curiosity, what kind of phone?

 

A lot of newer smartphones, including the iPhone, support what are known as "eSIMS". It's all done virtually; no need to fumble with a physical card. Something to research. You can order and pay ahead of time, or, just like the physical SIMs, load one at a kiosk.

 

For the iPhone, see https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212780

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4 hours ago, markeb said:

Just out of curiosity, what kind of phone?

 

A lot of newer smartphones, including the iPhone, support what are known as "eSIMS". It's all done virtually; no need to fumble with a physical card. Something to research. You can order and pay ahead of time, or, just like the physical SIMs, load one at a kiosk.

 

For the iPhone, see https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212780

It is indeed an iPhone (12 mini), thanks for mentioning that aspect, I did not realize it was moving to an eSim world now.   Does anyone know if the "Orange Holiday" product line is compatible with an eSim phone (more specifically iPhone 12 mini)?  I don't see any mention of the Orange Holiday working on an eSim phone, and my phone does have both a traditional nano-sim (actual card), and an eSim, so I am pretty confident I can remove my current nano sim, plug in the Orange Holiday nano sim, and go.

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An alternative option - Google Fi (https://fi.google.com).  My every day phone is on this service, it runs primarily on T-Mobile in the US as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).  The BASE plan gives you unlimited talk and text for $20/month and pay-per-use data at $10/GB.  The base plan includes international service at no additional cost (though some countries have a per-minute charge for calls), and you use data at the same cost, tethering is also included and you just pay for the data used.  There are also some unlimited plans and group plans but I only have one line with them on the flexible plan I described so I don't know the details on those.

 

Fi DOES require that primary use is in the US, so you can't get the service just for travel.  Well, you could and could suspend the service while you're home, but the suspension lasts a limited time and then has to be active briefly to maintain the account.

 

The service requires a Google account but does NOT require a Google-based device.  There is an opportunity for a discount (for both of us) if the account is active long enough for the second bill cycle, it's effectively a credit for the base part of the plan, $20, I would need to provide my referral code and I would see the real name associated with the account.

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If you're still looking - I use Google Fi (https://fi.google.com).  $20/month for one line for the base "flexible" plan where you pay as you go for data ($10/GB, and if you're not a heavy data user, it's a good deal as it's billed at the MB level).  I believe a second line on the flexible plan is $15 when combined with another line.  That flexible plan DOES include international roaming and charges data at the same rate as in the US, hotspot is also included and you can get a data-only SIM card to use in a cellular-enabled tablet to pull from the same data "pool" at no extra cost except for the data used.  International rates for calls are listed on the site.

 

There are multi-line plans/deals, as well as 'unlimited data' plans, which just went through a re-vamp and price drop.  I don't use those so I can't speak to them.

 

International coverage so far has been great - it's worked in Nassau, Belize, Honduras and at all the ports I've been to in Mexico and Canada.

 

Google Fi uses the T-Mobile network as the primary network in the US.  If you get a compatible Android device (only certain ones on the list) it can do automatic network switching and fall back to a USCC connection if T-Mobile isn't available.  That network switching is NOT available on all phones, and is not available on iPhones for sure.  Because of the nature of the service (Google buys 'time' on the tower from the carriers, they don't actually own the network) your device MAY be de-prioritized if there is heavy network traffic.

 

Best of all - no contracts (unless you're financing the phone).  If you want out, just port your number out.  I can provide a referral code that gets both the referred and referrer (me) a $20 discount once the new plan has been active long enough for the second billing cycle to issue.  I WILL end up seeing the real name of anyone I refer and it does require a Google account.

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On 4/10/2022 at 2:28 PM, TFree said:

I have used both the Orange Holiday Europe Sim Card and the Orange Holiday Zen Sim Card in Europe.  I kept the original one active for a couple of years by recharging it every six months, but then it expired during the pandemic.  I got the second one in October, and plan to use it again on our upcoming cruises.  The two downsides to these cards is that they are only good for 14 days at a time (but can be recharged), and that even if you register the cards, they will expire unless recharged within about 6 months after the last recharge date (I decided not to recharge during the pandemic, which turned out to be the right call).  And I guess another downside is that you can probably buy a Sim card for a lower price when in Europe.  The upsides to me were not having to search around for a Sim card in a port or airport, and the fact that I knew in advance the European phone number and could provide it if needed.  As somebody else has mentioned, you won't be able to use the Sim card at sea, only where there are land cell tower stations.

 

Tom & Judy

Thank you for your write up.  I am considering purchasing the Orange Holiday Europe card for our upcoming trip to Italy (Rome), then cruising to Spain & France.  Were you happy with the Orange Holiday card; would you recommend it?  (I know it won't work on the ship; looking for use in Italy & in ports.).   Thank you in advance.

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57 minutes ago, cruz_happy said:

Thank you for your write up.  I am considering purchasing the Orange Holiday Europe card for our upcoming trip to Italy (Rome), then cruising to Spain & France.  Were you happy with the Orange Holiday card; would you recommend it?  (I know it won't work on the ship; looking for use in Italy & in ports.).   Thank you in advance.

I was happy with both versions of the Orange card.  I think the things I like about them are: (1) it is mostly data, which is what I tend to use on a trip; (2) there are calling minutes included in case I need to call somebody overseas (say to make a reservation or something) or to call back to the US; and (3) I know the phone number in advance and can give it out, for example if I am booking an excursion.  I think you probably can find cheaper Sims on land in port, but then maybe they won't have the right mix of data and calling minutes, and I don't really want to have to search around for a Sim when in port.

 

Tom & Judy

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22 minutes ago, TFree said:

(3) I know the phone number in advance and can give it out, for example if I am booking an excursion.

Does the SIM come with the number displayed somewhere so you know it before the first use in Europe?

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7 minutes ago, d9704011 said:

Does the SIM come with the number displayed somewhere so you know it before the first use in Europe?

The package you receive when you order it from Amazon displays the number (it is a French number because Orange is a French company, and it will start with +33).  You can get your phone to display it, too, but probably not without activating the Sim card, which you don't want to do before you arrive in Europe.

 

Tom & Judy

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3 hours ago, TFree said:

I was happy with both versions of the Orange card.  I think the things I like about them are: (1) it is mostly data, which is what I tend to use on a trip; (2) there are calling minutes included in case I need to call somebody overseas (say to make a reservation or something) or to call back to the US; and (3) I know the phone number in advance and can give it out, for example if I am booking an excursion.  I think you probably can find cheaper Sims on land in port, but then maybe they won't have the right mix of data and calling minutes, and I don't really want to have to search around for a Sim when in port.

 

Tom & Judy

Thank you for your input. This helps a lot.  Much appreciated.  

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I've just bought and installed a surfroam.com international SIM. They do an eSIM but I specifically wanted to keep my phone number live for a long trip - so bought a mifi device for the global SIM  - and they don't work with eSIMs.   I liked surfroam because it works everywhere including some really obscure places that we are in for just a day  e.g. Bermuda, Oman.  I like that I'm paying by the MB   in contrast to Cunard's wifi which is by the day. So I can pick and choose the option I want to use depending on my needs. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK - I am so confused.  US based AT&T cellular customer.

 

I will be on a Western Med cruise stopping in Spain, France, and Italy.  NCL Epic.  I will have the Wi-Fi package on board.

 

I will need to communicate back to the US, for checking emails, texts, and phone (voice) communications.

 

I do not want to waste time finding a local sim card in Europe and then start changing cards and stuff.  Not my thing.

 

I was looking at ATT International Day Pass.  For $10/day, seems like an easy and relatively simple choice for communications while on land.  But - what happens on the ship?  Does the ATT International Day Pass work on the ship?  

 

Is the wi-fi on the NCL Epic fast enough for emails and downloads (not streaming, but downloading documents)?

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

When I was in Greece early May, I purchased a SIM from cosmote for use with my iPhone ... Because my iPhone is dual SIM,  I was able to use a local number for data, text messaging, and phone (via the local SIM), while still receiving calls on my home number (via the eSim). Read more about Apple's dual SIM phones. Similar Android phones exist, so search out that info, if you need it.

 

(I would not recommend cosmote, as their app support for topping up etc. is only in Greek.)

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Is there a way other than toggling airplane mode, to block your phone from accessing data at sea?

 

im with Telus (Canada). I have easy roam data for $12 a day when in port, or I might buy a US SIM card so I can use phone in port.

 

but I’m worried about forgetting to turn off when getting back on boat and accidentally connecting to cruise ship and big charges instead of going airplane mode with my included ship wifi.

 

any tips?

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On 6/22/2022 at 11:02 PM, Kate-in-Canada said:

Is there a way other than toggling airplane mode, to block your phone from accessing data at sea?

If you have an Android phone you could use an app such as 'If this then that' to tell the phone to automatically switch to airplane mode and re-toggle the WiFi on when the phone connects to the ship's WiFi network.  I believe that app can do that.

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