Prepaid Cell Phone for Ship Use
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I have StraightTalk prepaid, which uses Verizon's towers....there is no Verizon tower on, or anywhere near the ship at sea, so I am almost 100% sure that a person would be charged the $2.49 to use their phone on the ship.
So how would I be billed? There is no billing for a prepaid phone, you just lose service after you use up your minutes and then have to add more through a prepaid card or your credit card. Would they bill me to my on board account? If so, how would they know which phone was mine?Trac Phone, the largest prepaid cell company in the world, has effectively put a stop to "third party billing" (which is what the ship's billing, 900 numbers, game sites, etc. are). They were getting RIPPED for a lot of money. And Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world, didn't get rich being a fool. Third party providers have become very, very cautious as Trac Phone billed THEM back. They had no way to recoup the money, particularly from Trac Phones that are sold at places like WalMart, Radio Shack, etc. etc.
Buy a prepaid cell from one of the common wireless providers in the USA (Verizon, Sprint, etc) and they will just bill YOU back.
As PennyAgain posted, the ship towers have blocked MOST prepaid cell calls (its all in the SIM card and technology). WMS (Wireless Maritime Services), parent company of Cellular at Sea, was one of those billed back by TracPhone for 100's of thousands of dollars (the actual amount was never disclosed-it was a "settlement").
Either pay the $2.49 to call home from the ship or just wait until you reach a port where your US cell phone should work for free (unlimited plan)
Why not just leave the number for the ship with family. Tell them to just use it in an emergency. It is expensive, but since they most likely will not use it, it will probably be cheaper than your calls from the ship
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Your only worry time is when in Canada and sea days, which for an Alaska cruise are not that many. Most cruise lines sell internet packages that can put the cost down as low as 55 cents per minute. If you have a laptop with you, compose your email offline, logon, send, then logoff. That saves a lot of internet time. Doing it that way a 100 minute package should be more than enough for a 7 day Alaska cruise.
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Why not use email? While still not cheap, it is a LOT cheaper than phoning. That's what we do and have never had an issue. When traveling in Europe I rent a global phone and never pay more than 89 cents per minute, usually much less. Your only worry time is when in Canada and sea days, which for an Alaska cruise are not that many. Most cruise lines sell internet packages that can put the cost down as low as 55 cents per minute. If you have a laptop with you, compose your email offline, logon, send, then logoff. That saves a lot of internet time. Doing it that way a 100 minute package should be more than enough for a 7 day Alaska cruise. Cheers,There you go ... exactly what we do! We're Realtors (albeit semi-retired, thankfully) and must keep in touch with home base. We compose our e-mails on Word, copy them, log on, then paste them into Outlook. The 100-minute package is $55, and you should be able to pick up the wi-fi signal in your stateroom. It's not the speediest of connections, since it bounces off a satellite ... but it's not dial-up either. Reminder ... Alaska is in the US, so your cell phone plan (prepaid or not) should include it. We actually completed a deal in Ketchikan, while watching a pod of orcas do its thing ... unforgettable!