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Can I Use My Mobile Phone To Make Calls At Sea?

A viewer asked if there is any way to use their mobile phone on a cruise ship at sea. There IS if you want to bring your wallet. Here's quick tip on what you generally can and can't do with your cellular phone on a cruise ship.
Watch the video episode above or read the article below.

We always tell you to put your mobile phones into Airplane Mode when you're onboard a cruise ship for a good reason. There is something called maritime cellular on all cruise ships. So your phone can operate in full normal cellular mode just as it would when you are on land, however it is very expensive. And if you don't put your phone into Airplane Mode it will connect to and ping that maritime cellular service for the entire cruise.

I had a viewer recently ask me why they got a $500 bill from Verizon when they got home from their cruise?

It's because they never put their phone in airplane mode and the phone was using the maritime cellular. They got a $500 bill for a one-week cruise.

I've seen prices as high as $14 per megabyte for using the maritime cellular. One email can be 1MB or larger if it has an attachment.

You'll find that many cruise ships do not allow calls over WiFi to work within the phone itself. Some ships do allow WhatsApp to work and you might also be able to use Facebook Messenger for voice calls as well.

So when you're on the ship, my advice is to go to WiFi mode and try the various apps to see if you can make a call out or receive on the ship if you absolutely must make a voice call. You can also wait till you are in a port of call and connect to the local cellular service if your carrier has service in that area.

If you do not switch to Airplane Mode, you phone will connect to that cellular service, ping it regularly, and you could get a bill as high as $500 or more, depending on how long your cruise is and your carrier.

Thanks for reading, consider subscribing to our mailing list and to our YouTube and TikTok channels for even more tips.

Where’s Walter Travel is your Independent Travel Advisor for cruises, theme parks, group travel, destination weddings and special event travel.


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