Yes, two-way radios DO work on cruise ships. However, because the same channels tend to be a bit overused, passengers can expect a fair amount of chatter and signal interference when using their radios.
Here’s some advice from a Woot.com user,
“I suppose the two way radios/walkie talkies would be the best option. But, how important is being in constant communication with the rest of your family anyway? A ship, while large, isn’t huge. If you know the general area where people will be, you could walk over and find them. Preset arranged meeting times and places would work as well. People were able to get along fairly well without being able to directly communicate with each other at every moment of the day”.
So, aside from the option of setting pre-arranged meeting times, a radio isn’t a terrible idea, especially if you have kids. Many people reading this might simply ask why they can’t use their mobile phones. That is a very good question, after all…
If you’re going on a cruise this summer (or anytime, really), you need to be aware that your mobile phone is going to cause some problems.
Many cruise passengers are unaware and/or totally ill prepared for this fact and the cruise companies themselves are at least partly to blame for the lack of information in this area.
So, will your mobile phone work at sea? To answer this, let’s take a look at the following excerpt from the website ‘Cellular Abroad.com…
“The answer is most often always “You can subscribe to our cruise line cell phone network.” What they won’t tell you is the rates you will be paying. You certainly won’t be able to find them online, and to get a proper answer, you’ll have to call the cruise line to get a full break down of what they charge for access to their cell networks. As a company that sets their own international calling rates for the Talk Abroad SIM Card, we can see the cruise ship networks in our list, and it does not look good. If you subscribe to their network, you’ll be paying anything from $4 ~ $8 per minute, depending on your location and who you are calling. Don’t forget also that they’ll be charging you for receiving inbound calls”.
As we’ll soon see, taking a mobile phone on a cruise can represent a logistical nightmare. At the same time, however, many of us feel naked without a phone?
More problems are presented in the form of scheduled stops (although these can also represent opportunities for a higher – and cheaper – level of connectivity). To return to Cellular Abroad,
“If the ship is close to the coastline, and has multiple port of call stops, you’ll typically be able to get a terrestrial signal from the nearest land cell phone tower – up to a mile from the coast. It’s highly unlikely that you will be connected with 3G speed signals, as evidenced in my previous blog, you will need to have a low-wave 3G frequency like 800 or 900 Mhz – frequencies not typically associated with phones manufactured for North American consumers. So what can be done? You can rent an international cell phone that works in port, and a short way out to sea. If you really must stay connected on your boat, get in touch with your cruise travel agency and request information about the on-board cell phone rates and subscription fees”.
So, using mobile phones on a cruise is both difficult and supremely costly, but arranging a meeting time is also likely to cause more than a few headaches. Two way radios have their problems, but may in fact be the best way to keep in contact, depending, of course, on how important a factor this is for you.