How do I keep in touch with friends and family when cruising?

 

Keeping in touch

You may be wondering how you will keep in touch with your family while you’re on your cruise.  I know that the first time that I cruised I was very concerned because my youngest daughter, even though she was 18, was staying home alone for the first time.  And I’m a worry wart mom.

We had a Verizon plan when we did that first cruise on Carnival Fantasy.  I did my research and checked with Verizon, and was told that I could text while on the ship for 50 cents a text.  So, that worked out for us that time.  She’d text me when she got home from work, then I’d text her back. Check with your cell phone service to see what their rates are on ships and in foreign countries.

Just in case

However, after that we no longer had Verizon.  We ended up with Virgin Mobile, which had no plans to call or text out of the country.  So, first thing I did was to find the emergency number for the Cruiseline, just in case.  Just be aware that it costs a lot to call the cruiseline and get a message to the ship. 

There are phones on the ships, but they too cost quite a bit.  But at that point, Carnival had an area in their forum that you could use for free on their computers that was for people who were currently cruising.  You could sign in and start your own feed, name it appropriately, and then your family  could find you and chat with you.  Carnival has since ended this service, but it was great for a few cruises.

HUB app for Carnival

Since then, Carnival has started The Hub app, which is a wonderful new app.  All of the ships now offer the app, you can get it on Google Play and iTunes.  At first, you input which cruise you are taking.  You will get a cruise countdown screen, and that is all.  But, once you board the ship, let the app know, and you can get set up for free wi-fi for certain things. 

The free things are a listing of onboard events that you’d find in The Fun Times, a list of dining options, deck plans, and shipboard account balance. Onboard chat access, where you can chat with others onboard, can be had for a fee.   Make sure that your phone is on airplane mode so that you don’t get roaming charges.  If you use it while you’re on the ship or in port, keep it in airplane mode between uses.  Get the HUB app here.

Carnival Internet

Carnival internet costs are very fair.  Costs start out at $5 a day for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites.  $16 a day includes a variety of other sites and apps, including email.   The highest priced internet plan is $25 includes most other internet, with faster streaming.  Check out more info at the Carnival FAQ page.

Royal Caribbean Voom internet

Royal Caribbean also has internet for a fee.  Voom is touted as The Fastest Internet at Sea.  I don’t believe that it’s found on all ships though.  Prices range from $12.99 to $17.99 a day, depending on what coverage you want.   Check here for more info.

Every cruise ship is going to have internet access.  Check out your preferred cruise line website for more info.

Leave the ship emergency number with someone

I always leave an emergency cruise line number at home, just in case.  Carnival does have phones in each room, but it will cost you $1.99 a minute to call out.  Carnival’s emergency number to get hold of someone on a ship is 800-227-6482.  This is only to be used in event of an emergency.  They will take the info and get it to you.

Royal Caribbean can be contacted at 888-724-7447 for emergencies.  It will cost $7.95 per minute to use this number.  That can add up quickly.  Royal Caribbean states that most phones can be used on the ship, but to contact your provider for rates.

Secret Facebook group

Those are the only two cruise lines that we’ve sailed so far, but every ship is going to have some way to contact and you can find out by doing a search on their website.  I’ve found that the easiest way for my family and I to communicate is to start a secret Facebook group with only us in it, then buy internet service for a day or two, and then also look for free or cheap internet service in port. 

Places like Margaritaville often have free internet, and you can get it from outside the restaurant.  That way we can all keep in touch with each other, and no one else knows that we’re on vacation.  I’d rather not have people know that there is no one in my house when I’m gone.

And now you can cruise without worrying about everyone at home!  Seize the day!

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