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Thread: What Carrier For Caribbean Cruise?

  1. #1
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    What Carrier For Caribbean Cruise?

    My wife and I will be going on a cruise this winter. Our ports of call are:

    San Juan (Puerto Rico)

    Bridgetown (Barbados)

    Castries (St. Lucia)

    Basseterre (St. Kitts)

    Tortola (British Virgin Islands)

    St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands)


    We currently use Total Wireless in the United States. I do have a couple of AT&T hot spots, so I can either get something for our smartphones or get a data SIM for the hot spot. My hot spot is already carrier subsidy unlocked. For the most part, my wife will want to access Facebook and post some photographs. What would people here recommend that I use? It is only for a week, so I don't want to enter into any long term contracts. I should add, too, that my current AT&T hot spots are for the AT&T Connected Car plan and do not work outside of the United States.

    In the past, someone suggested Google Fi. Do they have a hot spot plan or would I simply need to get a SIM card of theirs for each smartphone? I did check the site at the URL below and Google Fi does have coverage at each of those places.


    https://fi.google.com/about/international-rates/

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    What Carrier For Caribbean Cruise?

    As luck would have it, the Norwegian Epic, which we will be on, is not listed, but thank you so much for the information.

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    You can still use AT&T while on ground if you would have an International plan.
    Probably not on the ship in port, you might need to actually be away from the ship to get service.

    Sprint has international service plans (SMS and data only) too: https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/servi...rnational.html

    Or... you can enjoy your trip without being focused on posting pics on facebook.

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    Cruise ships are supposed to disable their cell service in port. (Though I've read of cases they didn't).

    Back in 2015, I did an Alaska cruise, and since I didn't have an international plan I limited my usage to when in US port (in the morning before the day really started or later in the evening before leaving port).
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. But I have more phones than lines. Back to only Prepaid with the changes in the economy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    Cruise ships are supposed to disable their cell service in port. (Though I've read of cases they didn't).
    Yeah, that's why I said "probably".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post
    My wife and I will be going on a cruise this winter. Our ports of call are:

    San Juan (Puerto Rico)

    Bridgetown (Barbados)

    Castries (St. Lucia)

    Basseterre (St. Kitts)

    Tortola (British Virgin Islands)

    St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands)


    We currently use Total Wireless in the United States. I do have a couple of AT&T hot spots, so I can either get something for our smartphones or get a data SIM for the hot spot. My hot spot is already carrier subsidy unlocked. For the most part, my wife will want to access Facebook and post some photographs. What would people here recommend that I use? It is only for a week, so I don't want to enter into any long term contracts. I should add, too, that my current AT&T hot spots are for the AT&T Connected Car plan and do not work outside of the United States.

    In the past, someone suggested Google Fi. Do they have a hot spot plan or would I simply need to get a SIM card of theirs for each smartphone? I did check the site at the URL below and Google Fi does have coverage at each of those places.


    https://fi.google.com/about/international-rates/
    AT&T has native coverage in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
    For the other islands, Transatel https://www.transatel-datasim.com/product/caribbean/ has a data only SIM with 1 GB of data good for 30 days for $22.27.
    Find and compare prepaid plans at https://prepaidcompare.net

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    What Carrier For Caribbean Cruise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeswap View Post
    AT&T has native coverage in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
    For the other islands, Transatel https://www.transatel-datasim.com/product/caribbean/ has a data only SIM with 1 GB of data good for 30 days for $22.27.
    That is a great tip. Thank you.

    Do you know what the difference is between the:

    1GB Caribbean SIM, and the

    LTE hotspot + 1GB Caribbean SIM?

    I think it means that the 1GB Caribbean SIM will work in a smartphone or tablet, but won't allow it to work as a hotspot, but the LTE hotspot can be used in an actual hotspot or a smartphone hotspot.

    After re-reading this, it looks like they sell an LTE hotspot device with 1 GB of data, so maybe the 1 GB sim card in a smartphone would allow it to work as a hotspot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post
    That is a great tip. Thank you.

    Do you know what the difference is between the:

    1GB Caribbean SIM, and the

    LTE hotspot + 1GB Caribbean SIM?

    I think it means that the 1GB Caribbean SIM will work in a smartphone or tablet, but won't allow it to work as a hotspot, but the LTE hotspot can be used in an actual hotspot or a smartphone hotspot.

    After re-reading this, it looks like they sell an LTE hotspot device with 1 GB of data, so maybe the 1 GB sim card in a smartphone would allow it to work as a hotspot.
    Yes, you can either buy a hotspot together with a 1 GB SIM for $122 or just the 1 GB SIM for $22.

    The SIM will work in any unlocked phone or hotspot that supports the bands used in the islands you visit. Most Carribean carriers use the same bands as AT&T (LTE 2, 4, 5 and 17; 3G 850 and 1900) but some also use 3G 900, 1800 and 2100.

    Using a phone phone as a hotspot should work if it's a factory unlocked model. Carrier branded phones, even if unlocked, often have firmware that blocks hotspot on other carriers.

    Also many cafes and bars in the Caribbean have free WiFi if you buy a drink. Crew members can steer to toward the best ones.

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    I have Tracfone with a Tracfone sim that uses AT&T towers. It worked great in San Juan and St Thomas. Friends traveling with us had a postpaid, expensive plan that did not work on these islands. I expect that any carrier using AT&T towers wil work.

    If you consider Tracfone be aware that the towers they use depends on the sim you purchase...Tracfone uses Verizon and T-Mobile as well as AT&T. So before buying a sim decide which towers you want. Tracfone does not roam.

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    You may also want to consider a satphone rental if coverage needed aboard ship far from land. Typical networks are InMarSat, Iridium and GlobalStar. Best for talk and text. Not cheap, but would be cheaper than using the cruise ship satellite system.

    Sent from my moto z4 using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by GadgetKen View Post
    You may also want to consider a satphone rental if coverage needed aboard ship far from land. Typical networks are InMarSat, Iridium and GlobalStar. Best for talk and text. Not cheap, but would be cheaper than using the cruise ship satellite system.

    Sent from my moto z4 using HoFo mobile app
    At least 1 cruise line prohibits satellite phones so check ahead.

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    What Carrier For Caribbean Cruise?

    Well, I may now have a solution. My mother-in-law has a T-Mobile hotspot with 6GB of data per month. We borrowed it from her in August 2019 when we were in Canada. She offered to let me use it in the Caribbean. Now I just need to make sure that we have coverage there AND she doesn't get charged a ton more for our usage there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post
    Well, I may now have a solution. My mother-in-law has a T-Mobile hotspot with 6GB of data per month. We borrowed it from her in August 2019 when we were in Canada. She offered to let me use it in the Caribbean. Now I just need to make sure that we have coverage there AND she doesn't get charged a ton more for our usage there!
    That will work. T-Mobile will have all of those places covered, though it’s only 128Kbos (the USVI and PR will be LTE). The good news is that it’s free, and useable if you’re patient. It should meet your use case here

    T-Mobile doesn’t have data roaming on cruise ships (nor does Verizon anymore). So there is no real chance of incurring additional charges for data roaming. I was also on the Epic a couple of years ago, and my T-Mo iPad was left on all of the time. When they ship system turned on, I got no data, and when they turned it off as we got near land, it started working again. So your hot spot should have no issues, and you can even use Wi-Fi calling and FaceTime audio over the slow connection for free.

    Since you’re on Total, I assume there is no voice roaming. But if there is, you do want to turn roaming off before leave. Otherwise each call that goes to voicemail will trigger a 1 minute roaming charge, which on the cruise ship is $3 or so. It’s a little complicated to explain, but your calls get routed to the last network your phone connected to, even if you power off the device. So if you let your phone roam on a carrier, the turn it off, they will be sending the calls to voicemail and will charge a one-minute roaming call.

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    What Carrier For Caribbean Cruise?

    Quote Originally Posted by high technology View Post
    That will work. T-Mobile will have all of those places covered, though it’s only 128Kbos (the USVI and PR will be LTE). The good news is that it’s free, and useable if you’re patient. It should meet your use case here...

    Would Transatel be faster in each of those areas?


    https://www.transatel-datasim.com/product/caribbean/

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