Keeping In Touch While At Sea

The concept of going to sea is getting away from the demands of everyday life. Sometimes those demands follow you. Other times, you want to check in at the office. What are your options for keeping in touch?

  1. Ship to shore satellite radio. It’s likely the most expensive communication method invented. It’s been around for years. Buried deep in your ticketing package are some instructions how a person on land can place an operator assisted call to a ship at sea. This is the solution to avoid.
  2. E-mail. It’s incredibly convenient. Unlike life at home, you likely buy an Internet service package or pay by the minute aboard ship. I’ve found e-mail isn’t bad, but loading websites can take some time. This is often explained as many people trying to get onto the ship’s system at the same time. When you are in port, bring your phone or tablet. Find a coffee shop or fast food place with free WIFI. Buy something. Sit at a table. Get caught up. You will have plenty of company. Be aware, it might not be secure.
  3. Cell phones. Mobile phones work from cell towers. There are none at sea, but some ships have gotten at least partial capability. This can give new meaning to the words roaming charges. As you stand on the deck in the Med, phone in hand, looking at the distant coastline, your phone might inform you the Algerian phone company is at your service. Practically speaking, see if your wireless provider can sell you a plan allowing for international calling, both in and away from the US.
  4. SIM cards. Some mobile phones still use SIM cards. If you are spending a week in a European country and don’t have international calling as feature, this might be a good solution. Buy a card at a newsstand. I usually need help putting it in and getting it operational.
  5. Cabin to cabin phone service. Now we are looking at keeping in touch with your new friends on vacation. It’s easy, but not very effective in my opinion. In your working life, you are constantly connected. On vacation, a ringing phone is startling. Who found me? I rarely look for the flashing message light.
  6. Notes in envelopes on doors. Ever wonder why they give you a notepad, pen, some stationary and envelopes? When you want to go ashore with a few friends or meet for drinks, write them a note and put it in the clip or folder beside their door, the one where they put the daily program.  
  7. Letter writing. This is really cool if you have young nieces or nephews back home. Get some ship stationary. Handwrite a nice letter. Walk into the local post office and mail it when you get into a foreign port. We wrote to my Godson from exotic places so many times, he thought I was a spy! The letters were taped to his bedroom mirror.
  8. E-mails to friends back home. We do this on every vacation. Each day we send an individual, newsy message about 20 friends. It’s not “We’re here and you are not” but details about unusual and unique things we have seen. We attach a couple of photos. This serves multiple purposes. When there was a problem and e-mails didn’t get through, friends were genuinely concerned, figuring they would need to contact the US Embassy in that country to report us missing. Yes, I know you can do the same thing on social medial, but we don’t want to tell the world our house is empty.

Keeping in touch can be fun. It lets people know you care.

Cover photo: Grand Princess Pacific ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Editor’s Notes:

  1. All Things Cruise offers “contact me” ecards here … 
  2. Your travel advisor can also assist you with connectivity questions as well as how to let others know the ways to contact you when sailing.

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