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Text, email or phone?

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We will be sailing Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal on the QE, without our 11 year old child. What is the best way to stay connected with her? Phone,  email, text? Should we restrict to port days? We live in CA and have AT&T.  Thanks!

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Using your cell/mobile phone will be routed through the ship and be charged at extortionate rates.

 

When in ports, assuming AT&T don't hit you too hard for out of US roaming, you should be OK for phone and text.

 

On board, an internet package will give you access to email and FB messenger etc. So will the many free WiFi hotspots in port.

 

Stuart

 

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Although there is a charge for the QE on-board internet package, it is probably the best choice.   On-board phone service is very expensive.  If you use free WiFi hotspots in ports,  be sure to use a VPN (virtual private network) to protect your privacy and security.  

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Hello, My strategy would be to obtain phone coverage (talk and text) via AT&T, and use it while in ports, and travelling through Panama. And then possibly augment that by renting a portable wifi unit. Neither of these options would work for you when you’re at sea, but it sounds like your trip is relatively Panama and port intensive, so that’s what I would focus on in order to stay as closely linked to my 11-year old as possible. Well, within reason. [insert wink, wink]

 

I have AT&T as well. I would recommend their 'International Day Pass' option, which charges you $10/day per device, per 24-hr period, for only the days you use (covers you in Panama, and more than 100 other countries). This would allow you unlimited Talk and Text. Your Data use would follow your current domestic data plan. For more information, simply search for "International Options" after signing on to your account via the AT&T website. If using more than 6 days, I go with the 30-day International Plan option at $60, Talk at an additional $0.35/minute and unlimited text. When you start exploring your options on the AT&T website, choose the ‘Land Travel’ option, and go from there by choosing the relevant countries for your adventure.

 

In order to have more wifi/data options, I usually supplement this by renting a portable wifi unit. This can be a bit pricey, but might be worth looking into. You can google "panama enabled portable wifi" to explore your options and pricing. You could have the device shipped to your home address before leaving, and then return it by post upon your return to the states. Some of the options are Panama-specific. Some are global. Personally, I love using these portable wifi units. But again, you’re only going to have access to a wifi signal when you’re in a port or travelling through Panama. Same with the phone services via AT&T.

 

Happy and safe travels!

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I think email via WiFi is the best choice. You don't have to worry about what time it is back home or whether the other party is busy doing something else. 

 

If you plan on using your phone for WiFi access, run-off automatic app updates, automatic uploads of photos, etc. Otherwise, when you connect the phone to the ship's WiFi the first thing it does is try to catch up on all of its syncing activities, just when you're trying to get your email. Couple that with Cunard's generally slow internet and you'd be setting yourself up for significant frustration.

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15 minutes ago, Underwatr said:

 

If you plan on using your phone for WiFi access, run-off automatic app updates, automatic uploads of photos, etc. Otherwise, when you connect the phone to the ship's WiFi the first thing it does is try to catch up on all of its syncing activities, just when you're trying to get your email. Couple that with Cunard's generally slow internet and you'd be setting yourself up for significant frustration.

 


Good advice.   I can only add that you will need to become familiar with the Cunard internet sign off procedure before you use it for the first time.   If you do not sign off properly, the system will continue to subtract time from your package (as though you were still on) until you no longer have any time left in your internet package.  

 

I speak from the experience of having once sent an email in the morning before leaving on a port excursion and returning to find I no longer had any time left.    

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Thank you all for the great advice! This is our first trip without her so being able to stay in touch will help ease my mind.

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