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Old 05-10-2014, 10:12 PM   #16
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No, you won't be able to use your phone in Key West. Unfortunately due to the proximity to the island of Cuba all cellphone coverage in Key West is provided by the Cuban Government. Because of the embargo it is illegal for you to conduct any financial transactions with the Cuban government. It is impossible for ordinary tourists to pay the Cuban Government for their services without breaking the monetary transaction rule. (Although you can work around this by buying counterfeit Cuban cellphones from shady street vendors.) Beware that you will not be able to bring the Cuban cellphone back into the continental U.S. (just throw it overboard when you are done with it). Also, if you attempt to place a call while in Key West with your U.S. cellphone it will be confiscated by U.S. authorities and returned to you at the end of your trip. *Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by snchpnz View Post
No, you won't be able to use your phone in Key West. Unfortunately due to the proximity to the island of Cuba all cellphone coverage in Key West is provided by the Cuban Government. Because of the embargo it is illegal for you to conduct any financial transactions with the Cuban government. It is impossible for ordinary tourists to pay the Cuban Government for their services without breaking the monetary transaction rule. (Although you can work around this by buying counterfeit Cuban cellphones from shady street vendors.) Beware that you will not be able to bring the Cuban cellphone back into the continental U.S. (just throw it overboard when you are done with it). Also, if you attempt to place a call while in Key West with your U.S. cellphone it will be confiscated by U.S. authorities and returned to you at the end of your trip. *Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
You are actually incorrect.

If you talk on the phone with your back facing Cuba (just ask around, people will tell you which direction it is), the cell signal will reverb off a US tower and co-synchronize with your US carrier causing a loss of Cuban signal dissonance. That creates a zone of inequity which allows calls to be made that bypasses the monetary transaction rule.

I wish I had known about this, I threw my cell phone overboard and a gust of wind blew it back towards the ship where in dented one of the lifeboats. I was charged a "lifeboard restoration fee, Cuban enhanced" (there is a tax by the Cuban government whenever one of their cell phones damages a life boat).

You have been warned.

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Old 05-10-2014, 11:39 PM   #18
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Thank you for the Sat night entertainment This was awesome!!!!!

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Old 05-11-2014, 12:04 AM   #19
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We are sailing from Port Canaveral and our first port is Key West. Since we will be sailing down the coast will our cell phones still use land towers or the one on the ship or is it the luck of the draw?
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:21 AM   #20
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We are sailing from Port Canaveral and our first port is Key West. Since we will be sailing down the coast will our cell phones still use land towers or the one on the ship or is it the luck of the draw?
Once you leave port (no longer tied up), phones connect through Cellular at Sea. Generally, the ship doesn't sail close enough to land to pick up land based towers.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:52 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by twindaddy View Post
You are actually incorrect.

If you talk on the phone with your back facing Cuba (just ask around, people will tell you which direction it is), the cell signal will reverb off a US tower and co-synchronize with your US carrier causing a loss of Cuban signal dissonance. That creates a zone of inequity which allows calls to be made that bypasses the monetary transaction rule.

I wish I had known about this, I threw my cell phone overboard and a gust of wind blew it back towards the ship where in dented one of the lifeboats. I was charged a "lifeboard restoration fee, Cuban enhanced" (there is a tax by the Cuban government whenever one of their cell phones damages a life boat).

You have been warned.




How do people come up with things like this?
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:34 PM   #22
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THank you to all comedians! Loved the responses

Seriously thou, I have used my cell phone in Key West with no problem (and I have AT&T) and I have also used it while in St. Thomas and again no problem. When I do my upcoming cruise, San Juan will be no issue as well.
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Old 05-11-2014, 02:22 PM   #23
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Thanks for the kind reply MouseMomX2. I did make sure that I said it may be a silly question to some but I asked based on something my cell phone carrier told us as well as a realtive who fishes in that area. I hope that I am not the only one to wonder about this particular question, but if I am all that was needed was a quick reply. Can't wait for my cruise and enjoying some fun in the sun.
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Old 05-11-2014, 02:54 PM   #24
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Thanks for the kind reply MouseMomX2. I did make sure that I said it may be a silly question to some but I asked based on something my cell phone carrier told us as well as a realtive who fishes in that area. I hope that I am not the only one to wonder about this particular question, but if I am all that was needed was a quick reply. Can't wait for my cruise and enjoying some fun in the sun.
On a more serious notes, I have t-mobile and they just introduced plans that have free texting and data in most countries, and 20 cents a minute calls. My wife and kids were sitting in Cabo on the Carnival Miracle while I was stuck at work, and they texted me for free.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:23 PM   #25
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FYI - even if you do have service by one of the major 2 or 3, there's differences in coverage within pre pay and post paid service.

Not sure about Key West, but for example in the northern parts of Maine, even though there's AT&T coverage, GoPhone (AT&T pre paid) does not work at all).

So if you have any pre paid service, you definitely want to check for coverage.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:47 PM   #26
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Of course the first rule of cruising is your cell phone stays off for the entire duration of the cruise.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:45 PM   #27
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On a more serious notes, I have t-mobile and they just introduced plans that have free texting and data in most countries, and 20 cents a minute calls. My wife and kids were sitting in Cabo on the Carnival Miracle while I was stuck at work, and they texted me for free.
I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:22 PM   #28
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You are actually incorrect.

If you talk on the phone with your back facing Cuba (just ask around, people will tell you which direction it is), the cell signal will reverb off a US tower and co-synchronize with your US carrier causing a loss of Cuban signal dissonance. That creates a zone of inequity which allows calls to be made that bypasses the monetary transaction rule.

I wish I had known about this, I threw my cell phone overboard and a gust of wind blew it back towards the ship where in dented one of the lifeboats. I was charged a "lifeboard restoration fee, Cuban enhanced" (there is a tax by the Cuban government whenever one of their cell phones damages a life boat).

You have been warned.

For those that may be unclear... this too, was a joke.

DISboards cannot be held responsible for any water damage caused to cell phones as a result of taking the above post seriously. Any reverbage, restoration fees, or zones of inequity that may occur on your cruise are purely coincidental. Prices and participation may vary.
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:05 AM   #29
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Once you leave port (no longer tied up), phones connect through Cellular at Sea. Generally, the ship doesn't sail close enough to land to pick up land based towers.
That's not my experience. Specifically, on Western Caribbean itineraries leaving from Port Canaveral, the ship sails close enough to the east coast of Florida that I routinely get solid land-based coverage from AT&T well into the night, assuming I'm on the starboard side of the ship or up on deck. It would not surprise me if coverage were more or less continuous on an itinerary that left Port Canaveral or Miami and headed to Key West.

The ship does turn on its own Cellular At Sea system whenever it's more than x miles (3? 6? I'm not sure of the exact distance) from shore, but does so whether or not the shore system is also available. If you leave your phone on when you board, it should stay locked onto its native carrier for as long as it has a good-enough signal, even once the ship's system is turned on and even if it has a stronger signal. But once your phone locks onto the ship's system, it will tend to stay that way even if once again it can see it's native signal (such as if you were inside, then went up on deck). In that case, just turn it off and back on and it will prefer its home signal when it initializes even if the ship's system is stronger.

I've also picked up the signal from Florida for several hours on a Castaway Cay to Galveston segment when the ship was passing Florida, even though it didn't stop in Key West.

If you want to be able to use your phone when you can, but not run up a big bill the two key things are:

1. Turn off data roaming
2. Verify which carrier it's on before placing or receiving calls.

It doesn't cost anything to just be locked on to the ship's or foreign country's system. Although you can't control inbound SMS, they are generally free or minimal in cost (like $0.05). Just don't place calls, answer calls, or send SMS if you're not on your home system unless you're willing to pay for the roaming charges.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:10 PM   #30
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For those that may be unclear... this too, was a joke.

DISboards cannot be held responsible for any water damage caused to cell phones as a result of taking the above post seriously. Any reverbage, restoration fees, or zones of inequity that may occur on your cruise are purely coincidental. Prices and participation may vary.
Prices, tax, and participation may vary in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

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I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!
It was a good thing, it was nice to keep in touch. They had a great cruise on the Miracle, our only choice for a 7 day since Disney abandoned us west coasties.
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