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TXRed

Using cell phone on cruise

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We are sailing on the Ruby Princess Alaska inside passage in May. Will I be able to use my cell phone? Do I put it in airplane mode?  I understand I will be able to use it in Alaska at the various ports...but was wondering about the ship?  thanks for your help with this.

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If your phone is capable of wifi calling and you get an internet package then yes, you can use it.  I speak from personal experience.  Yes to airplane mode. 

Edited by Rick&Jeannie
Clarification

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Alaska ports are fine- they are in the USA. Many people wait until they

go to port to make their calls and check in at home.

Sometimes people "forget" to put phone in WiFi mode and come home to a $2000.00

phone bill. We have not tried the WiFi mode but we are now Platinum and get some

complimentary WiFi to send e-mails to home.

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Make sure to turn off your phone or ensure it is in airplane mode when near any land in Canada. You could get charged with international data without doing anything. 

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Yes to the comments above ... just don't be surprised if your WiFi signal is very weak (maybe non-existent)  while in the Inside Passage, though.  Never had any problems while in the ports of call.  

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11 minutes ago, TheRabbit said:

Make sure to turn off your phone or ensure it is in airplane mode when near any land in Canada. You could get charged with international data without doing anything. 

 

YES!!! Be careful about that!

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2 minutes ago, nini said:

 

YES!!! Be careful about that!

If I have not set up a plan on my cell for Canada, I actually pop the batteries sometimes. Someone posted that even though they were in Airplane mode, they had some app that actually still went out looking for data. Even though the app only generated less than a few K of data, the person took a hefty hit in the ole pocketbook.

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If you are talking about trying to reach land based towers while sailing, unlikely. Alaska is a very big state with a very small population. There is tons of unoccupied areas. There aren't cell towers everywhere...they center on populated areas and along main roads.

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1 hour ago, TheRabbit said:

If I have not set up a plan on my cell for Canada, I actually pop the batteries sometimes. Someone posted that even though they were in Airplane mode, they had some app that actually still went out looking for data. Even though the app only generated less than a few K of data, the person took a hefty hit in the ole pocketbook.

 

Not possible! If the phone is in Airplane Mode, there is NO WAY it can connect to a cell tower, so this person is lying.

 

As for popping the battery, it's a bit difficult with an iPhone. If you put your phone in airplane mode and switch on Wi-Fi if you have a plan on the ship, you'll be fine. What usually happens is that people forget to do this, thinking that if they're not specifically using data, there'll be no charges and when they see a huge bill, they complain that they 'did it right'!

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42 minutes ago, Guindalf said:

 

Not possible! If the phone is in Airplane Mode, there is NO WAY it can connect to a cell tower, so this person is lying.

 

As for popping the battery, it's a bit difficult with an iPhone. If you put your phone in airplane mode and switch on Wi-Fi if you have a plan on the ship, you'll be fine. What usually happens is that people forget to do this, thinking that if they're not specifically using data, there'll be no charges and when they see a huge bill, they complain that they 'did it right'!

Hmmm,

In only a perfect worls.

Am I to assume you wrote the code for both the Mobile Operating system and the support package that goes underneath it for every phone for you to make that bold statement -NO WAY-?

1) There are multiple Mobile operating systems. Many are updated every few months. Why, to correct problems most of the time.

2) The OP did not say Iphone, only cell phone. No guarantee it is an Iphone though it very well could be.

3)There are App writes out there that will try and take advantage of any hole in an operating system.

4) As for batteries, I try to find a phone where this can still be done. If Batteries can not be removed, they can also be turned off, though some phones years ago would turn back on by themselves after a while.

5) The person whom I spoke of who made the statement admitted even though they had been very careful, they had a no-name phone and that could have been the problem.

 

As for your second premise, you are correct, people make mistakes all the time and kick off a huge bill.

 

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My gosh, this is unreal! There are basically two operating systems - Apple iOS and Android ( there are others like Microsoft and Blackberry, but they are so insignificant as to not count). 
 

Airplane mode is a switch that turns off the radio part of the phone as well as the WiFi, which can be turned back on independently. It is, therefore, impossible for an app to make a data or cellular connection when airplane mode is on.

 

This has been the case for every version of the operating systems since day one, so yes, I CAN make that bold statement. I don’t see loads of people suing anyone because of it, do you?

 

My background is in computers and cell phones, so please check your facts before trying to call me out!

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You’ll get a cell signal occasionally when passing communities that have cell towers even though you don’t dock there. Not a lot but they’re there.

 

If the Ruby has Princess@Sea you’ll be able to text others onboard that you have allowed and this is while your phone is in airplane mode. It also allows access to restaurant menus and your ship account. It’s free.

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I am so careful with my cell after my wife screwed up years ago with our international plan.   We have AT&T and  we signed up for the plan for our 5 week TA and European cruise.  That is when we did not realize that Facebook posts play posted videos right away.    The second day after turning the phone on after the TA, my wife said she received a text saying she had used up 80% of her data plan.  NOT GOOD!!!                           But I still worry.  We turned off the correct stuff in settings and have been fine for years.  But all of a sudden, videos are playing again when we scroll through posts.    So far we did ok with the unlimited internet while using our phones on several cruises but I recently had a roaming charge in Asia when I did not realize I turned airplane mode off instead of turning wifi on.  I realized it and switched it back on right away.   Why are the buttons for wifi and airplane mode right next to each other!!!   It is  so much easier to check things on the phone  rather than pulling out the tablets.  We will be doing Alaska this summer and my phone plan allows me to make calls to and from Canada      But while the ship is traveling, I don't want to be charged through the ship.

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Besides what others have mentioned (airplane, not suing automatic notifications and push in the background) also look at your carrier. I have Verizon and automatically have the international plan set to turn on should I use my phone in Canada and Mexico ($5 for 24 hours) or Europe and Caribbean ($10 for 24 hours) that will then utilize my regular data plan. A great way to not get socked with charges and since it's automatic I never have to think about it when traveling.

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My understanding has been that if you leave your phone configured such that it looks for cell towers (in other words, the type of calling you do when you're NOT using wi-fi), the phone is likely to connect to the ship's roaming service and you will find yourself with a roaming bill that will probably kill your future cruise budget and your kids' college fund.  So even if you have opted for the wi-fi on the ship and know how to set your phone for wi-fi calling, you need to ensure it's set up for ONLY wi-fi calling and that it cannot search for and find the ship's roaming service, which I believe is satellite-based and is definitely very expensive.  I'm not going to presume I know how to tell you to do that because I don't want to give you incorrect info.  It THINK it may be putting your phone in airplane mode, but your best bet for that would probably be to confirm how to do it with your phone carrier's technical support.  As far as finding out how much the roaming charges would actually be if you decided to use that service, check with your cruise line.  I think you'll find that it's an arm and a leg and possibly some other body parts.

 

Once on land, whether in/near Alaska or Canada, that's when "What phone plan do you have?" kicks in.  We have T-Mobile and our plan gives us unlimited calling and data in just about every country we've visited (for me, that would be the U.S., Canada and a bunch of Caribbean countries) and very reasonably priced texts when outside the U.S.... or maybe it's unlimited data and texts and reasonably priced calling... I don't remember because we don't do much of either when we go ashore.  HOWEVER, we make sure we're far away from the ship so as not to pick up their roaming service before we turn our phones on.

 

Another thing to keep in mind if you decide to use roaming cell service or a limited wi-fi plan (or one where you pay by the amount used), is that you probably want to turn app updates off, as well as any apps that go out and look for information on a regular basis (weather & news apps, for example).  Otherwise, you could use huge amounts of data without ever making a phone call, sending a text, or going to a website.

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3 hours ago, bhsolo said:

Besides what others have mentioned (airplane, not suing automatic notifications and push in the background) also look at your carrier. I have Verizon and automatically have the international plan set to turn on should I use my phone in Canada and Mexico ($5 for 24 hours) or Europe and Caribbean ($10 for 24 hours) that will then utilize my regular data plan. A great way to not get socked with charges and since it's automatic I never have to think about it when traveling.


Last year we screwed up and thought we had this on all our phones.  My husband and the kids had it, but I didn't.  I ended up with an extra $50 charge because my phone wasn't signed up to be on that plan.  My husband called, begged forgiveness and they allowed him to sign my phone up and take the bill back to $5.  It's so much less stressful now that I don't worry about if the kids have their phones and airplane mode.

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On 2/21/2020 at 12:51 PM, TXRed said:

We are sailing on the Ruby Princess Alaska inside passage in May. Will I be able to use my cell phone? Do I put it in airplane mode?  I understand I will be able to use it in Alaska at the various ports...but was wondering about the ship?  thanks for your help with this.

I would check with your carrier. I have Verizon, just reviewed my plan and saw that Canada and Mexico are included in my current plan without additional fees. I do still plan to turn on wifi calling and airplane mode to avoid any oopsies going over our data limit. 

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On 2/23/2020 at 9:28 AM, oldfashioncruiser said:

I am so careful with my cell after my wife screwed up years ago with our international plan.   We have AT&T and  we signed up for the plan for our 5 week TA and European cruise.  That is when we did not realize that Facebook posts play posted videos right away.    The second day after turning the phone on after the TA, my wife said she received a text saying she had used up 80% of her data plan.  NOT GOOD!!!                           But I still worry.  We turned off the correct stuff in settings and have been fine for years.  But all of a sudden, videos are playing again when we scroll through posts.    So far we did ok with the unlimited internet while using our phones on several cruises but I recently had a roaming charge in Asia when I did not realize I turned airplane mode off instead of turning wifi on.  I realized it and switched it back on right away.   Why are the buttons for wifi and airplane mode right next to each other!!!   It is  so much easier to check things on the phone  rather than pulling out the tablets.  We will be doing Alaska this summer and my phone plan allows me to make calls to and from Canada      But while the ship is traveling, I don't want to be charged through the ship.

 

In all seriousness, if you don't have an Internet plan on the ship, just turn your phone off except when you are ashore.

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When I get on the ship I turn my frigg'n phone OFF! and don't turn it back On until I get to the next port. Check my messages etc. and turn it back Off again. I'm on holiday, I'm not married to my phone like a lot people are.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/11/2020 at 3:06 PM, Eaglecw said:

When I get on the ship I turn my frigg'n phone OFF! and don't turn it back On until I get to the next port. Check my messages etc. and turn it back Off again. I'm on holiday, I'm not married to my phone like a lot people are.

Well, that's great for you, but some of us have businesses that we left running in someone elses hands, pets, kids, elderly family members, and number of things that we would need to be able to be reached while on vacation...simply turning off your phone for days at a time is not realistic.

Edited by Mountaineer0313

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