How To Text On A Cruise Ship For Free?

Going on a cruise trip usually means taking some time off from your usual routines and social life. You might want to keep your phones powered off and just enjoy the magnificent journey ahead of you.

But sometimes, the need to inform your loved ones about your safety via texting can’t be avoided, which comes at a hefty cost when you’re on board.

So how can you text on a cruise ship for free if you ever need to? Are there ways to dodge the costly texting services? I am going to answer this shortly!

However, before indulging in the details of free texting on a cruise, let us see how communication over phones generally works on board. Continue reading to find out more about it!

How Can You Catch Signals For Texting On A Cruise Ship?

When you are on land, mobile networks work by catching signals from telephone masts and towers situated every few miles.

Similarly, when we talk about communicating while being on a cruise, telephone masts are located inland, or on the shore, so you can still use your phone to text when you are on the cruise ship, just before taking off.

The strongest cell towers cover a radius of about 35 to 45 miles so you can use the services when you are arriving or departing from the shore.

No such towers are located on the sea or ocean, which means you go off-grid; you can no longer use your mobile network.

However, things are getting better and convenient day by day, with solutions to potential problems being sought out. And now, texting on a cruise ship is no longer a far-off idea and can be executed, all thanks to various at-sea providers.

These cellular providers help you catch signals via satellites so that you can text from a cruise ship.

What Do At-Sea Providers Have In Store For You?

As I mentioned earlier, at-sea cellular providers help you catch signals via satellites which makes texting and calling possible on a cruise ship. However, this ease comes with a price.

Using such a service costs a lot because your mobile service carrier would take it as roaming and charge a fortune! (by roaming, I mean using a network that you didn’t pay for)

Even switching it on is equivalent to using the services since your device will catch signals and run apps on your phone in the background. You can prevent this by switching off your phone or enabling airplane mode just before you begin your trip.

This is where you look for an option where texting on a cruise ship is free. There are many ways to do that, and I am going to list them down one by one in my next section.

How To Text On A Cruise Ship For Free?

If you do not want your service providers to rip you off, there are multiple options that you can go for if you want to text on a cruise; that too free of cost!

International Coverage By Your Mobile Service

Before looking into other options to text for free on a cruise ship, it is always wise to check if your service provider allows international coverage or not.

Many mobile services cover a lot of areas outside your country’s borders. All this information is listed on their website.

If the area that you will be cruising on is listed by the service provider, you do not need to worry about costly texting in the first place!

Use The Cruise’s wi-fi Facility

Many cruise ships offer a free wi-fi facility when you apply for their complete package. It is a great and attractive strategy to get people to book a cruise trip, so why not avail it for your benefit?

While some cruise trips offer you this facility free of cost (within the package), whereas some need you to get a separate package or subscription to utilize their wi-fi facility.

However, the amount that you have to pay to use their wi-fi is still negligible as compared to that spent via regular mobile networks. So it is not a bad option to go for!

Using wi-fi means that you would not be able to use the regular texting facility via SMS, so you need to have some messaging app to do that. Some examples of such useful messaging apps are Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, etc.

Use The Cruise Line’s App/Cruise texting App

Another great option to text on a cruise ship for free is using the Cruise Line’s App. This, however, comes with the limitation of only being able to text your cruise fellows.

The perk of using the Cruise Line’s App is that you get to use it without data-roaming or wi-fi. All you need to do is to install the app before you board the cruise ship and enjoy the services on your trip!

It is advised to check beforehand if the app requires an activation fee and if it works on your cruise ship or not.

Ship Mate App

Talking of apps, there is this incredible cruise messaging app by the name ‘Ship Mate’ that offers the services of messaging as well as other useful features like giving details about your cruise ship, the roll calls, entertainment services that the ship provides, deck plans, and plenty of other features.

The best part about Ship Mate is that you can avail of its services offline except for the direct messaging feature, which requires an Internet connection.

Wait To Get To The Port!

As soon as you reach the port or even arrive in its vicinity, you can use your mobile service to text or call, provided the telephone mast covers the area you are in.

Another option to go for can be connecting to wi-fi somewhere on the port. Some ports offer the facility of free wi-fi as well.

Many cafes, restaurants, and hotels offer the same to people on cruise ships as a welcome gift. You can connect to them as soon as you reach the port and avail a few hours of free wi-fi!

Tips and Tricks to Enjoy Free Texting On Your Cruise Trip!

I am going to list down some tips and tricks for you that will help you in avoiding hefty bills that await you after you come back from the trip.

Below enlisted are a few things that I learned from my experience on cruise ships!

Texting can wait!

Waiting for a port to get the wi-fi facility or the one present in the cruise ship is better than using your mobile services for even a millisecond since you will end up with a huge bill when you return! A little wait hurts no one, right?

Airplane mode to the rescue!

Even if you decide not to use the services provided by your mobile carrier, as soon as you go out of the range of the inland cell tower, you might get connected to the at-sea providers, which is going to charge you no matter you use the service or not. This is because of the background apps running on your phone.

To prevent that, you can switch off your phone before the cruise sets off. If you wish to use it for other purposes, you might as well put it on airplane mode, which will prevent it from connecting to any service available on the waters.

Messaging Apps

Keep a few messaging apps on your phone beforehand in case you succeed in finding a wi-fi connection on board or the port.

Onboard Credit to the Rescue!

You might want to book a cruise trip that offers onboard credit. Luxury cruise trips often have this perk for their passengers. This credit can be used to get a wi-fi package that you can use on your journey.

Wondering how to grab this opportunity? Look out for cruise promotions and several other shots offered by cruise line trips now and then.

Everything else you need to know about texting on Cruise – FAQs

Q. Can we use mobile phones when on a cruise ship?

A: Yes. Mobile phones can be used when you are on cruise trips. However, as soon as you lose connection with your local service carrier, you might get connected to the at-sea providers.

So, to avoid being charged unwantedly, turn on the airplane mode and use your phone for other purposes like taking pictures, recording videos, and whatever does not require mobile service signals.

Q. Do we have to pay for wi-fi onboard?

A: Some cruise ships offer you a complimentary package, including free wi-fi. However, others might charge you separately.

Q. How much does it cost to text on a Cruise ship using data packages?

A: It might cost you up to 25 bucks for a hundred MBs if you plan to use Whatsapp or Facebook messenger. However, simple texts may cost you a little less – $0.5 per text.

Wrap Up

Cruise ships mean an incredible opportunity to enjoy the grandeur of seas and oceans. This gives you some time off from the hectic routines and social life, which means no texting and calling for a while. Even if you want to, it is pretty expensive than the regular charges.

So who would not love the chance of texting on a cruise ship for free? I listed down and explained all the possible options for you elaborately so that you have all the necessary information required to text without spending heaps.

I hope this makes your cruise trips more enjoyable and worry-free! 

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