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Cruise News and Information
September 18, 2006
PERSONAL CELL PHONE TECHNOLOGY MAKING WAVES ON CRUISE SHIPS
Convenience is driving virtually all of the major cruise lines to offer
personal cell phone connectivity at sea.
In fact, by the end of 2007, personal cell phone services will be as
commonplace on many ships as onboard Internet connections. Special global
phones and expensive satellite phones will be a thing of the past for many
To date, only Norwegian Cruise Line has implemented personal cell phone
usage aboard its entire fleet of vessels. Royal Caribbean International
offers cell phone service on ten of its 20 ships, including the brand new
Freedom of the Seas. Carnival Cruise Line recently announced cell phone
service is available on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship and will be
available fleetwide by early next year.
In addition, a number of other cruise lines expect to offer the personal
cell phone service on some or all of their ships by the end of next year.
These include Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, MSC,
Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silverseas Cruises and
Use of personal cell phones on cruise ships is being made possible through
a combination of satellite and wireless technology. Guests must have GSM
and CDMA phones that operate at 1900 MHz, which is standard in the United
When a person makes a call at sea, a cellular antennae on the ship relays
the call to an onboard base station that then relays it to a satellite.
The satellite relays the call to a base station on land, which sends it
through its cellular network. The service is activated once a ship is 12
miles off shore.
In most cases, cruise guests are billed roaming rates set by their
carrier, as if they were on land instead of the sea. This cost ranges
from $2-$5 per minute based on the different roaming zones across the
world. Cruise ship stateroom phones can run $5 to $25 per minute; some
satellite phones charge $10 per minute or more.
Flying? Make sure you know what you can (and can't) carry on.
As you're probably aware, the TSA now prohibits most liquids from being
carried on planes. However, restrictions on some other items (did you
know you can take scissors on board if the blades are shorter than four
inches?) have been eased.
To see charts detailing permitted and prohibited items, visit the TSA web
site at www.tsa.gov. The link to the charts is currently in the
middle of the page under "Travel Tips."