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Old 03-31-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
KelseyLaPerle
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In Alaska, whats the best way to checkin with family at home? (ie - cheapest!)

We're cruising without our kids and will want to check in with them once per day, however we can. I've read lots of info about cell phone usage, etc. and am still unsure as to the best way to check in without having a huge roaming bill when we get home. I assume our room phone can make long distance calls? If we bring a calling card that would work? Is there free Internet anywhere on board? I don't necessarily need to talk to them every day but I'd like to get an email, text, etc.

Please don't give me the whole "you're cruising, you won't want to check in" etc. Our kids are young and we've never gone on vacation without them.

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Old 03-31-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
PrincessShmoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyLaPerle View Post
We're cruising without our kids and will want to check in with them once per day, however we can. I've read lots of info about cell phone usage, etc. and am still unsure as to the best way to check in without having a huge roaming bill when we get home. I assume our room phone can make long distance calls? If we bring a calling card that would work? Is there free Internet anywhere on board? I don't necessarily need to talk to them every day but I'd like to get an email, text, etc.

Please don't give me the whole "you're cruising, you won't want to check in" etc. Our kids are young and we've never gone on vacation without them.

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Check with your phone company. Some plans are all 50 states inclusive. So, since Alaska's a state, they are not necessarily roaming or long-distance. This is if you call while in port, not onboard a traveling ship.

On our Verizon coverage, we called home from Juneau, Ketchikan, as well as Anchorage with no additional charges.

You can use a cell phone onboard, but the signal will go through the ships cell tower (Cellar at Sea) and that's $2.49 a minute on top of whatever (if any) charges your own phone company will charge.



No fee internet onboard. Cheapest plan is 75 cents per minute.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #3
chrisc5984
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When we went we stopped at the public library in Juneau. It is very close to the dock and we took our iPod and connected through their free wifi and called on Skype.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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As long as we were in the US (not Canada) our texts and cell phone calls were free (as in no additional charge). Canada is another story though. We were just careful not to use the phone until we were in US territory. We use AT&T. Also, there were times when we were at sea but actually could get AT&T coverage (because we were sooooo close to little towns).

But be really careful -- a few years ago my DM called us from AK as the ship was pulling into port (but had not docked) and the call was picked up by a satellite company (and the upcharge was over $120).
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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Another option if you're going to be checking with your mobile carrier anyway is to see if they have a short-term option for coverage in Canada, so you know you'll be covered if you're spending any time in Vancouver before or after (or if you're just stuck in the airport for a while).

My SIL and her family took a vacation in Toronto and they were able to get a plan just for the week that they were there. This was with AT&T but I assume other carriers have similar options.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:10 PM   #6
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We have Verizon and our phones worked in every port. You'd just have to figure out sea days, so it might not be too bad.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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We did AK in 2011 are with ATT and made a couple of calls in port and it was fine. I'd just check with your provider. For the sea days you may want to see which would be more economical, using a couple of emails or making ship to shore calls. Good luck and enjoy the cruise.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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I have ATT and Alaska was the same as a local call. I sat on the peer in Juneau and called my family, checked all my email and called work. It was nice catching things up while looking at the Alaska scenery.
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