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Thread: Cheap phone service for 2 week Caribbean cruise?

  1. #1
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    Cheap phone service for 2 week Caribbean cruise?

    going to the Caribbean (Antigua and US Virgin Islands) in Nov.
    the data plans on the ship are way too expensive.

    i'm currently using FreedomPop's free cdma (Sprint) service as my main phone.
    and Freedompop's free 3in1 Global LTE sim as my backup.
    to my knowledge, neither works in the Caribbean.

    Recommendations on what to get?
    thx!

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    I recommend no cell plan. Enjoy your vacation and you'll be surprised how good it feels not to be tethered. If you must, pay for the cheap social media plan on the cruise that costs like $5 per day that gives you access to Whatsapp, Facebook, twitter and a few others. Just enough to keep in touch with family back home, but not enough to surf the web and stream. Also on the islands there's wifi in most bars and restaurants. Get a google voice number and use it with Hangouts to make free calls over wifi to the States.
    Get cheap calling cards to call anywhere in the world! Click here!

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    Agreed. We just went on a cruise on to the Bahamas this summer. On the cruise, if you are with a partner [or not], pay for 1 Wi-Fi access account, and share [1 at a time] amongst your devices. Get small battery packs [6200Mah or smaller]. 22,000+Mah battery pack is good for all day outings. Buy a high-speed USB Fast Charging Station. Are you going to the USVI or BVI? USVI has ATT & Sprint. BVI has CCT Global Communications (www.cctwireless.com) and Digicell BVI (www.digicelbvi.com), both with offices in Road Town and on Virgin Gorda. You'll need to decide how important it is to be connected. You could buy a local sim, but definitely get a VPN before going abroad. I use a paid one [PIA], but Opera Free VPN is also great for most surfing activities; except banking. Use Google Voice and "GVoice Callback" to call back to the states when needed. I used the Signal app to talk to co-workers and others when I needed to talk or send files about sensitive topics. We used Serval Mesh on the cruise to stay connected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    going to the Caribbean (Antigua and US Virgin Islands) in Nov.
    the data plans on the ship are way too expensive.

    i'm currently using FreedomPop's free cdma (Sprint) service as my main phone.
    and Freedompop's free 3in1 Global LTE sim as my backup.
    to my knowledge, neither works in the Caribbean.

    Recommendations on what to get?
    thx!
    I took both my Freedompop Sprint phone and my Global SIM (it's not LTE and not the same as the LTE SIM). Both of those worked on St. Croix and should also work on other USVI.

    However, the FP Global SIM worked with AT&T at the time and now it only connects to T-Mobile. I don't know if it would connect to AT&T if there was no T-Mobile coverage, but probably not.

    AT&T had much better coverage on St. Croix than Sprint.

    One option, since you're already familiar with Freedompop, is to get an LTE SIM for a penny and use the trial with 2 GB and then either cancel it or pay $5 to both downgrade to the free plan and turn off auto top-ups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bw01 View Post
    One option, since you're already familiar with Freedompop, is to get an LTE SIM for a penny and use the trial with 2 GB and then either cancel it or pay $5 to both downgrade to the free plan and turn off auto top-ups.
    ahh.. this is the AT&T sim?
    but isnt it US only??

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    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    ahh.. this is the AT&T sim?
    but isnt it US only??
    It might work in the USVI. I'm not 100% sure, but https://forums.att.com/t5/Network-Co...s/td-p/5162641 make sit seem like USVI coverage is considered domestic...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    ahh.. this is the AT&T sim?
    but isnt it US only??
    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    It might work in the USVI. I'm not 100% sure, but https://forums.att.com/t5/Network-Co...s/td-p/5162641 make sit seem like USVI coverage is considered domestic...
    Yes, AT&T works in USVI and Puerto Rico. I definitely had Sprint and AT&T coverage on St. Croix.

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    For the next few months, both AT&T and T-Mobile may provide service at sea in the neighborhood of Puerto Rico and USVI. They have both partnered with Project Loon to attempt to provide some broad-area service restoration via high-altitude balloons. The requirement is a phone that has LTE band-8. You would also need to be out on deck with a clear view of the sky and lock out the ship's network. I'm not sure if they are using their own MNCs or some special MNC for this project.

    Otherwise, I keep a Piranha Mobile SIM active for international use. But you can also use WiFi and VoIP as needed to keep in touch.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Otherwise, I keep a Piranha Mobile SIM active for international use. But you can also use WiFi and VoIP as needed to keep in touch.
    I am in or traveling to: Antigua and Barbuda
    Calling to: United States

    Recommended Operator: Digicel
    Data (1MB): £0.10
    Incomming (1 min): £0.20
    Outgoing (1 min): £0.30
    SMS (1 text): £0.20

    $100 per gig?!?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bw01 View Post
    I took both my Freedompop Sprint phone and my Global SIM (it's not LTE and not the same as the LTE SIM). Both of those worked on St. Croix and should also work on other USVI.

    However, the FP Global SIM worked with AT&T at the time and now it only connects to T-Mobile. I don't know if it would connect to AT&T if there was no T-Mobile coverage, but probably not.

    AT&T had much better coverage on St. Croix than Sprint.

    One option, since you're already familiar with Freedompop, is to get an LTE SIM for a penny and use the trial with 2 GB and then either cancel it or pay $5 to both downgrade to the free plan and turn off auto top-ups.
    just came back from st thomas/us virgin islands.

    global sim did not work.
    only network options were AT&T and Freedompop.
    connected automatically to FP but service didnt work. (phone,txt and internet )

    could not connect to AT&T.

    also had my cdma phone with me.
    that connected to something but also didnt give me anything (phone/txt/internet).

    guess i'll get the $1 at&t sim for whenever next time i travel international.

  11. #11
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    Cheap Phone Service For 2 Week Caribbean Cruise?

    This is always a topic of interest to me. My wife and sons have cruised a few times. The last time was about a year ago on Carnival. To their credit, they have a slightly more reasonable plans now than even a couple of years ago.

    Essentially, we have determined we have several purposes for our devices while on a cruise or heading to a cruise. They are:

    -Photographs (which are a non-issue)

    -Entertainment (download Netflix content to the device, which has only been available for a year or two now)

    -Shipboard Communications (where/when to we meet for meals, entertainment, etc.)

    -Communication Back Home (which really can be the expensive part)

    We did use shipboard wifi for texting one another aboard ship. The cost for that is actually slightly reasonable.

    My wife, however, really wanted Facebook for the week. I let her do that. Basically, I think the motivation is she can post photographs and brag to people back in Minnesota that, "...we are somewhere warm and...well...you aren't!)

    At one of our ports of call, my youngest son and I went ziplining and my wife went to a beach. I slightly thought it might be nice to be able to text her that day on the island, but we we all back at the ship later in the day and it really didn't matter.

    A few times I have been on islands where I thought it would be nice to surf the web while we were wandering around. I even thought about buying a local SIM card. The problem was, we were at the island for such a short period of time that is really seemed like too much hassle to find a place with a local SIM for just a few hours.

    If you simply want to keep in touch with a select few friends back home, Facebook messenger wasn't a bad option. I did send text messages that way, but I never tried making telephone calls through that.

    I have also considered getting AT&T service for a month. Back when I looked into it, AT&T was one of the better carriers here that had international options while traveling. While I wouldn't exactly call it cheap, it might be one of the more convenient ways to go, particularly if you have several different ports of call, which you probably do during a two week cruise.

    Another thing I considered, but didn't do, was get a single AT&T SIM for my hotspot and just get international data. That would allow us to share it and surf the web, do wifi calling/texting, etc.

    Sadly, I think many/most MVNOs come up short when it comes to traveling abroad.

    Fstuff, are you concerned with calling, texting, wife, or all of the above? There is a company, it might be UK based, that has a somewhat reasonable plan for telephone calls, but I don't think data was all that reasonable.

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    The big thing 2 1/2 years ago would have being able to text other members in the family. Putting stick it notes on the other doors was suboptimal.

    I found I tended to wake early when the ship was approaching port early in the morning (light early in May on Alaskan cruise). So I could get my news fix with my then ATT plan hot spotting to phone. Wouldn't apply to Caribbean cruise.
    I gave into temptation, and bought the iPhone X, even though I had a perfectly good, though oversized, 7+.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    just came back from st thomas/us virgin islands.
    global sim did not work.
    only network options were AT&T and Freedompop.
    connected automatically to FP but service didnt work. (phone,txt and internet )
    Did you have any evidence that it was supposed to work in the places you were?
    I think the FP Global SIM mostly just works in Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    could not connect to AT&T.
    Which has NO International service with FP on the Global SIM anymore and
    no longer works in the USA with FP.


    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    guess i'll get the $1 at&t sim for whenever next time i travel international.
    I can guarantee that it will not work with the AT&T LTE SIM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfranzq View Post
    Did you have any evidence that it was supposed to work in the places you were?
    I think the FP Global SIM mostly just works in Europe.

    Which has NO International service with FP on the Global SIM anymore and
    no longer works in the USA with FP.

    I can guarantee that it will not work with the AT&T LTE SIM.
    Quote Originally Posted by fstuff View Post
    going to the Caribbean (Antigua and US Virgin Islands) in Nov.
    the data plans on the ship are way too expensive.

    i'm currently using FreedomPop's free cdma (Sprint) service as my main phone.
    and Freedompop's free 3in1 Global LTE sim as my backup.
    to my knowledge, neither works in the Caribbean.
    Well the LTE SIM (AT&T) will work in Puerto Rico as will Sprint. Same for the USVI. Both Sprint and AT&T have native coverage in those areas, and OP you can check their respective coverage maps (non-roaming) to see if you'd get signal in specific places.

    Yeah Global SIM now only has T-Mobile domestically so it will be no good for the Caribbean. I wouldn't recommend it at all for domestic use since T-Mobile is converting their HSPA/HSPA+ spectrum to LTE. The Global SIM does not support and has never supported LTE. The LTE SIM (AT&T) is infinitely better domestically, and the Global SIM will still work in Europe.
    Sign up for FreedomPop!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfranzq View Post
    I can guarantee that it will not work with the AT&T LTE SIM.
    a poster above said usvi should be considered domestic for AT&T so at&t lte sim should work.
    for a buck, i'll get it just to test that theory the next time i'm there. (maybe next year)


    Quote Originally Posted by aenews View Post
    Well the LTE SIM (AT&T) will work in Puerto Rico as will Sprint. Same for the USVI. Both Sprint and AT&T have native coverage in those areas
    as i said above, my freedompop cdma phone (sprint) connected to something but i didnt get any service.
    so the sprint native coverage didnt work for me in st thomas/usvi

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