View Full Version : Will iphones work onboard?

02-09-2010, 06:49 PM
I have successfully used my old AT&T cell phone on cruises in the past - the fees were rather high once we were so many miles off the continental U.S., but it did work.

Now I have an iphone and am wondering how the 3G network applies to cruising. Does the iphone even work onboard and does anyone have any info about that to share (e.g. charges, network area boundaries, etc.) thanks!!

02-09-2010, 06:58 PM
I was able to get a signal on most of the Western itinerary when I turned on the iPhone. Can't remember what the bill was, but it was HIGH. And I only turned it on once per day for a quick call. :scared:

For e-mail, it's far easier to either use a laptop in your stateroom and pay the flat fee, or go to the computer area on board at a quiet hour and do a quick e-mail check there. You can read your e-mail a lot faster on a computer than waiting to have it download to your iPhone (and pay outrageous data transmission fees at the same time.)

We're doing one of the European cruises this summer, and I'm not even bringing it. I had to take the iPhone to France with me for a week this fall, and looking at e-mail once per day cost me $400! It's far easier and cheaper to get an international calling card at a local tobacco shop/convenience store in Europe and use it if you need to make calls, then use a computer onboard for e-mail.

02-09-2010, 10:02 PM
Where exactly are you cruising to??? When we were on the eastern caribbean cruise, we were able to take advantage of normal rates in St. Thomas; because it was the virgin islands.

02-09-2010, 10:09 PM
We'll be on the Western 7-day. I was hoping that at least the day in Key West would be covered with no additional charge, but I just wasn't sure... ?
I appreciate all the info - if I got home with a $400 bill I'd flip out, lol!

That's good to know that St. Thomas is covered under the network, though!

02-09-2010, 10:39 PM
You can purchase an international plan from AT&T that is around 25.00 a month, and will significantly reduce your charges. The killer isn't the phone calls though, it's the data usage. The AT&T plan will give you 20MB of data. That is good for sending & receiving email but whithers away in nothing flat if you attempt any websurfing( I'm in Vancouver right now dealing with this, so it's all fresh). As far as being in a service area, you'll be fine through Key West. After that, 3G pretty much disappears, and service in general goes away on sea days. Your best bet is to resign yourself to not using the phone but if you need to, be sure to turn the data-roaming to OFF(Settings>General>Network>Data Roaming>Off) or make sure you have an add-on data plan. If you do use an add on plan, make sure to reset your usage settings once you're on board(Settings>General>Usage>Reset Statistics) so you can monitor your usage. Texts will still be .50 apiece and picture texts will be 1.50. If you can use a wi-fi hot spot, you can dodge the data usage trap. I've heard horror stories of people coming home and finding obscene bills because they were using international data roaming.
Above all, have FUN!

02-09-2010, 11:04 PM
This is all excellent information. Thank you very much!
I admit I'm a little addicted to this phone....but in the end it probably will be a good thing not to use it on the cruise!

02-09-2010, 11:14 PM
Once we left Key West, I turned mine completely off, put it in the room safe, and didn't touch it until we got back to Port Canaveral. I never missed it a bit. The only time I needed access to the web, I used one of the computer lounge machines for about 3 minutes. :surfweb:

02-09-2010, 11:42 PM
Once we left Key West, I turned mine completely off, put it in the room safe, and didn't touch it until we got back to Port Canaveral. I never missed it a bit. The only time I needed access to the web, I used one of the computer lounge machines for about 3 minutes. :surfweb:Do you have to pay to use the computer lounge PC's? If so, how much does it cost? Thanks!


02-10-2010, 12:35 AM
Yes, they do charge you, but it isn't much, especially if only need to check an email or two. Obviously, extended surfing will add up quickly. I honestly don't remember exact amounts, but I think it was something in the area of 1.25 per minute, or something like that. It''s added to your room charge. That was a year ago and rates have likely gone up...

02-10-2010, 01:53 AM
Do you have to pay to use the computer lounge PC's? If so, how much does it cost? Thanks!


From the DCL website:

Internet/Wireless Internet Access
on the Disney Magic
Pay as you go - $0.75 per minute
100 min for $55 ($0.55/min)
250 min for $100 ($0.40/min)
500 min for $150 ($0.30/min)

Internet/Wireless Internet Access
on the Disney Wonder
Pay as you go - $0.75 per minute
50 min for $27.50 ($0.55/min)
100 min for $40 ($0.40/min)
250 min for $75 ($0.30/min)

Printing $0.25 per page

Happy Cruising!

02-10-2010, 06:45 AM
Using the iPhone in Key West didn't cost me any extra. Same as using it in Port Canaveral :thumbsup2

And big ditto to the advice on turning off the data roaming. That will save you big $$$.

02-10-2010, 08:16 AM
Am I correct that if you put the Iphone in airplane mode, you can use the ships wi-fi and just pay for usage that way and it won't be charged to your cell phone account?

Do you pay for internet fees when you check in?

02-10-2010, 08:26 AM
...it looks like from other posts that you should have no problem with the IPhone working onboard, and you can also put it in Airplane Mode I think to help avoid the Data Usage charges. But, I honestly can't speak from experience seeing as how on our last cruise on the Wonder my husbands IPhone went "swimming" in the Mickey Pool after our DS (he was 4 at the time). :rotfl:
Long story short, this was DS first cruise and was so excited to go down the slide, that once he got to the bottom and stepped into the pool portion, his feet slipped out from under him and he freaked out so DH had to go in after him. We had let the kids swim as soon as we boarded and DH didn't have his suit on so, everything in his pockets got soaked (including the pager from the clubs). :scared1:
Needless to say, the phone and pager were toast (or at least we thought so) and we had to report to the club what happened and they were going to charge us I think $300 for the pager, but in the end it wasn't on our bill (Whew, what a relief). We tried and tried to get the phone to work and sat it upright to drain the water out to no avail. :sad2:
But....great testament to the IPhone....we got home, he turned it on and all he had to do was sync it again and it still works to this day, I know because I use it now that he upgraded to the newer version!:goodvibes We learned that the cool thing about IPhone is that it automatically shuts off when it gets wet so that the internal stuff won't get ruined!! WE are now sold on Apple!:thumbsup2

02-10-2010, 09:11 AM
In a great many cases, a wet iphone can be recovered. Unfortunately, there is an indicator inside the phone which can be see through the headphone jack, and the bottom connector, that turns pink when it's been exposed to water(usually submerged). Once that indicator is pink, the warranty is void. Airplane mode will indeed work for the wi-fi use but by turning on airplane mode, you turn off the phone's ability to make & receive calls. So if your intent is to be able to use the phone rather than surf the web, you're better off disabling data roaming. You'll also want to disable the email fetch feature(Settings>Mail>Fetch New Data>Push-off, and check "Manually" for fetch schedule)