Cell & Data Service (AT&T vs Cruise plan)

Hi All, This is our first cruise, will be on Carnival Valor. We are small business owners and so, unfortunately, need to have decent cell and data service in case of emergencies. We will most likely need to sign some legal docs while on vacation.

I see the plans you can buy from Carnival directly, but they seem pricey and don't apply when we're on land in Mexico.

I've looked at the AT&T website and called them to make sure I understood everything correctly. What they said on the phone seemed to completely contradict what the website says.

If you have used an AT&T cruise package, how does it work? Is it good on board as well as on land in Mexico? Do you have to also purchase the cruise ship plan on-top of that?


Tags: Cell service

10 Answers

I can only tell you whats happened to us on NCL< because that's the one we've been on past few years...but cell service ranges from non-existant to spotty to very slow...Crew get off the ship to make calls...if someone has had a better experience, let me know...the onboard internet service isn't worth it at ANY price....well...free works, if you don't mind speeds just this side of dial up....

You need to determine if you need cell service or simply data service. If it is cell service then no matter where you are unless you have a package with your carrier roaming fees will apply. If it is data only that you require the same would apply with your carrier but if you purchase the cruise lines package, while on the ship and using it you will not need to use any data through your carrier. So what you really need to do is determine what type of service you need and go from that.

Isn't this where Cellular at Sea comes into play? I remember some folks on FV got ginormous bills when their teens didn't turn off their phones on Carnival cruises. One lady, a veteran FV poster, had a bill for ~2000 Surprised

I think you're right!

Just a reminder to the original poster...all the lines and cruises we've been on, the problems remain more or less the same...seems like only in the movies you can be in the "back of beyond" and talk to anyone anywhere, or transmit the invasion plans for western Europe. If you truly have important docs that need to be signed..there is an alternative...perhaps you could temporarily give a lawyer your power of attorney, to accomplish a specific thing in your absence. I have seen peeps sitting at the pool, or on ships puters, pulling their hair out..

That could be. We will always avoid cell use when travelling but do use wifi for data usage whether in port on free wifi or hooked to the ships through a plan. Cell vs wifi .. ship vs carrier plan.

We've had the internet plans and used them for calling or video chatting. So there wasn't a need to use cell service.

Thank you for the laugh! We've signed these same docs from the mountains of Nepal! It can be done.... for a price.... a price that is probably cheaper than having our attorney do it.

It sounds like if we need both use of voice calls and data for document review/signing, we probably need our carrier plan. BUT (everyone cross your fingers) if all works out, we'll have these docs done before we leave, and simple cell service on the ship will suffice.

We just use texting as it is cheaper.

Would recommend using a feature called Wi-Fi calling if your phone has this ability and buy the internet package on the ship and using free Wi-Fi spots, if you find any, while at port. Just remember to turn on airplane mode and the turn on your Wi-Fi antenna on as well. Turning on airplane mode will help with not getting a hugh bill from roaming charges.

Another option would be to get an international sim card that works with your phone and in the countries that you are visiting. Then have your cellular provider either temporarily or permanently unlock your phone so you can use the international sim card. One that is done, then just forward your calls to the phone number associated to the international sim card before you leave port.


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