Funny? not! Florida man's $143,000 roaming bill

To share a personal experience, for a few years I was on a high-credit team for At&t postpaid. I remember a similar situation that in early 2010 that I dealt with. At that time, I had a credit limit up to $250K that I could apply to any postpaid account. I assisted with a business that had roaming data of nearly $200K. This same account had a data roaming charge of about $120K the month before, and I objected to applying such a large amount over 2 bill cycles. Long and short, my manager approved it and had another rep on my team apply it.
 
It used to be Long Distance that was the complete ripoff, now it's cellphones. We had to purchase a $60 Cruise package on AT&T for a recent week long vacation cruise. Provided us a whopping 100MB data ($10 per 100MB overage) and 100 minutes talk ($1 per minute overage charge) with unlimited texting (what we really needed). We had to be available for clients for our small business, didn't really have a choice in the matter. Pretty freaking outrageous.
 
Never forget that while on a cruise ship, all data and voice is handled through ship-board satellite communications (treated as international roaming) and not the cellular carrier. At this time, that is not regulated like terrestrial communications domestically. The cruise line bills your carrier for any and all usage and that is passed on to the consumer.

When I travel on Carnival Cruise, I have to buy a Wi-Fi package during my trip and it is not free anywhere on the ship. There is a distinct reason why the majority of cruise ships are registered internationally and that is to avoid US federal taxation and FCC regulations when at sea. I won't pretend to know what the actual costs are for the cruise lines, but they have to install expensive equipment on their ships and do pay fees to use that service. Consumers need to be held accountable if they choose to use their phones/devices on those networks.
 
Smiling Bob, if you were on vacation and you had clients who needed to contact you for whatever reason, that was your fault. You could have delegated those tasks/responsibilities to a friend, employee or co-worker while you were away on vacation. It is easy to blame the cellular company but they still have to pay the cruise line for the usage while using the ship-board communications. I do agree that it isn't cheap, but you pay for the convenience one way or another. You need to look at the big picture and not dwell on this, as you won't win.
 
Do not go on cruises if you need to stay connected to the internet.

Unless you are rich...
 
You don't have to be rich to buy Wi-Fi access on a cruise, just buy it directly from the cruise line and not your cellular carrier.
 
Smiling Bob, if you were on vacation and you had clients who needed to contact you for whatever reason, that was your fault. You could have delegated those tasks/responsibilities to a friend, employee or co-worker while you were away on vacation. It is easy to blame the cellular company but they still have to pay the cruise line for the usage while using the ship-board communications. I do agree that it isn't cheap, but you pay for the convenience one way or another. You need to look at the big picture and not dwell on this, as you won't win.
You obviously aren't in a profession that requires 24/7 access from clients. I'm not hating or casting blame either, but some people when they go on vacation still work. We own our own business, so there are no subordinates or co-workers except for me and the wife unit. It sucks, but it is what it is. My point is that you are at the mercy of the providers that be in now-day-cellphoneland vs back in the day, when it was ripoff-central with terrestrial phone service. You will always get screwed, it's just a matter of how hard you let them do it until the next big thing make the last big thing obsolete. If you disagree, then more power to ya.

And Cruise ship WIFI packages aren't anywhere close to being cheap. We had one of those as well in addition to our cell package, but the fact is they are not that reliable depending on where you are in the ship. And sometimes you can't miss a text/phone call. In any event, it's a tax write off for us but they are still thieves.
 
Bob, I was a realtor for 4 years and when I was on vacation, I had someone from my office take my real estate calls and assist clients who needed help. I understand what you are saying. I let my clients know in advance that I would be unavailable and that my associate would assist them when I was unavailable.
 
Of course if you are on a river cruise (and never more tah a km away from land) you will be able to access a regular (local) cell carrier. Just make sure you are NOT connected to any ship borne service.
 
AT&T charges a one time $100 charge for a cruise package that gives you unlimited talk and text with 1Gb of data. After that it’s $10 for every 100mbs of data. A little stingy on the data allotment, but overall I would pick this plan if I went on a cruise.
 
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Not that I would ever go on a cruise personally

but I'd bet it won't be long and Starlink will have a space router in a tablet-sized form factor that can run off a USB powerpak.

The cruise lines will likely try to ban them
 
Cruise ships currently use a satellite connection for voice/data. I can't remember the current name, but I also suspect that the Starlink network will replace the current system in the next few years.
 
Many already use Starlink:
https://thepointsguy.com/guide/starlink-on-cruise-ships/
https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles/what-is-starlink-and-which-cruise-ships-use-starlink-internet


Starlink requires line of sight. Often stated is 25 degrees minimum elevation.
https://www.google.com/search?q=starlink+minimum+elevation
https://www.red dit.com/r/Starlink/comments/fkyopf/made_this_chart_to_show_how_much_view_of_the_sky/

Suppose you carry on a Starlink "dish", and it actually works half the time in a balcony,
you'd still need a different plan than residential.
https://www.pcmag.com/news/starlink-mini-dish-coming-later-this-year-elon-musk-says
https://www.starlink.com/service-plans
https://www.starlink.com/us/boats

I think the way to save on cruise Wi-Fi cost is just to share a login (usually multiple devices can use the same login, but only one can be active at a time).
https://old.red dit.com/r/Cruise/comments/140fk4i/wifi_sharing/
https://forum.gl-inet.com/t/cannot-access-captive-portal-royal-caribbean-beryl-ax/30938/3
https://slickdeals.net/f/17298205-g...ar750-creta-15-90-more?page=15#commentsHeader
"All of the google pixel phones can do it right out of the box.
"Using my Beryl AX on RCI right now.
"Then used MAC clone
"StarLink. I got ~ 30 (down) / 5 (up) Mb


The other thread also has good information:
https://www.howardforums.com/threads/international-travel-concerns.1929744/

Such as:
https://www.howardforums.com/threads/international-travel-concerns.1929744/post-17272790

9.5 GB * $15 / MB is indeed $142500.

Whereas Verizon (Pay as You Go) is usually $2.05/mb:
https://www.verizon.com/plans/international/international-travel/
https://www.verizon.com/plans/international/international-travel/pay-as-you-go/


Also, if you do roam, beware that T-Mobile T&C says
don't use more than 50% of roaming data in "any 2 billing cycles within any 12-month period".
https://old.red dit.com/r/tmobile/comments/p3qjgj/have_tmobile_connect_moving_to_alaska_will_they/h8tfvo2/
https://old.red dit.com/r/tmobile/comments/y7nl9w/line_disconnected_due_to_roaming_i_havent_roamed/
https://old.red dit.com/r/tmobile/comments/jd2d6x/i_thought_gci_roaming_was_unlimited/g96jk1e/
https://www.howardforums.com/showth...Mobile-Internet-Plans?p=17252110#post17252110


(I want to just see plain URLs. I really dislike automatic URL loading, and automatic media embedding makes a big mess.
I figured out that if I just add a space in front of an URL on its own line, automatic URL loading does not happen.
But I don't know how to stop automatic media embedding. So I added a space between red and dit in the links above.)
 
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Our cruise was out of Galveston on Royal Caribbean, and they used Star Link on that ship. It was great ship internet compared to what we had in the past, I brought our travel router and hooked it up in the cabin so our kids could also have WiFi. Speed tested at around ~50Mbps down with ~50ms latency doing a Google ping test. Pretty dang impressive for being out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, it was my first and only experience with Star Link and I was impressed. We've been on good cruises and not-so-good cruises, the latter experience was on Carnival. We're heading out on an Alaskan adventure this summer on another RC ship, definitely more upscale than some of the other lines and recommended.
 
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