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  1.    #1  
    My wife and I are taking a 7-day cruise to Alaska and I happened to think about data/roaming charges while on the ship.

    The cruise ship says that they have cellular and internet services available (as long as we have international roaming), so I called Sprint and set up Canadian roaming on both our phones. I was surprised to hear that I will still be charged .20 per minute, but that's better than .52 per minute!

    The next question I asked was about data roaming - Sprint told me that there was no way to turn off all of the internet connections to my Pre, so I signed up for the $40 per month international data service. (I'll only need it for 2 weeks.)

    My questions - Is Anchorage considered "Canada" by Sprint?
    Is it really impossible to turn off all of the data on a Pre?


    I would appreciate any input - I would like to take my Pre, but I don't want extra charges appearing while I'm sleeping! (e-mail, Google calendar, GPS, etc.)
  2.    #2  
    My last communication with Sprint - they don't think that I will be able to access data from the ship when we're out to sea - but they're still willing to charge me $40 for the month for worldwide data!
  3. rockyjay's Avatar
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    #3  
    If your just concerned with data, find out of the ship has Wifi, problem solved. As for roaming data, your Sprint rep is correct. I don't think the Pre even allows roaming data with its current settings. With luck, Palm or a homebrew app will fix this in the future. Several of the buildings I work in get a very bad signal and once the phone is "roaming" data applications give me a warning and don't even start.

    I never had this issue with My old Sprint WM phone. That phone would roam too, but just warned me about possible extra charges, before launching an app.
  4.    #4  
    Not exactly "problem solved", since the ship charges for internet access. (wi-fi)

    I was hoping that I could get data signal, and tether my laptop. Save money!
  5. #5  
    You may want to ask if the ship has CDMA or GSM cellular service. Just a thought.
    My Phone & My Wife's Phone Two Unlocked GSM Treo Pro's

  6. #6  
    I actually ordered a Sprint phone on eBay and activated it in Alaska before I left about 10 years ago. Alaska's Sprint roaming has been a mixed bag over the years but I just got back from a trip and can tell you that it's improved from a year ago and evdo roaming even works in the most populated areas.

    A year ago, I had planned on spending more time in Alaska and switched to Verizon because they have an evdo roaming agreement with Alaska Communications Systems (ACS), Alaska's largest CDMA carrier and also the local phone company for most of the state. I switched from Sprint only to find that my Verizon phones (first a Treo, then a Centro) didn't get evdo service. I found that while ACS and Verizon had an agreement, the network elements hadn't been configured nor were the data circuits, etc. in place in order for it to actually work. It still didn't work at Christmas. Since I was going to be spending time in Alaska again, and Verizon was unable to provide evdo roaming, they were kind enough to let me cancel my service without an ETF.

    Sprint's agreement is with Alaska Digitel, another CDMA carrier. Alaska Digitel participates in Sprint's Rural Allliance, but Sprint's website has no mention of it.

    Here's Alaska Digitel's coverage map:

    Wireless Plans - DigiTel Alaska & Nationwide Plans - DigiTel Wireless - Unlimited Cellular

    Here's a mention from a Digitel press release with a small mention of their participation in Sprint's Rural Alliance, toward the bottom:

    DigiTel Wireless - Unlimited Cellular Phone Plans, Cell Phones, Prepaid Cell Phones,

    Their footprint isn't as large as ACS, but evdo roaming actually worked great for me in Anchorage, Soldotna and Juneau which is more than I can say for Verizon on ACS or than I can say for my experience with Sprint on Digitel a year ago.

    Last year, not only did I only have 1xRTT data but I also had strange text message and voice mail indicator issues. Some of those were still apparent during this most recent trip, but overall the service was quite usable in areas indicated to have evdo by the map. I think the biggest issue was that calls seemed to ring only briefly before going to voice-mail.

    Anyhow, enjoy your trip knowing you shouldn't be charged anything extra as long as you're roaming domestically since the plans are described as having "no roaming charges".

    Watch out if you stop in any Canadian ports, though!

    Have a good cruise.
  7.    #7  
    Thanks - I'll let you all know in two weeks how it all worked out!
  8. #8  
    Take my advice, if your on the boat, just turn your phone off. Otherwise it will connect to the Ships CDMA tower and you will pay .01 per kb and $3.00 per minute. Its a ripoff. It cost me $40 to download my email twice. Its way cheaper to pay to use the ships WiFi.

    When you are in port and at least 100 yards away from the boat you will find that you can roam for free in about every major port. Some have data, some don't.

    When in Canadian ports keep phone off unless you pre-purchase a Canadian roaming package from Sprint. Its about $25 per month and you can cancel it when you get home.
    Pilot 1000 -> Pilot 5000 ->Palm Pilot Professional -> HP 620LX -> TRG Pro -> Palm V -> Palm Vx -> Palm M505 -> Palm i705 -> Palm Tungsten|T -> Samsung i500 -> Treo 600->Treo 650 -> Treo 600-> Treo 700p ->Centro ->Treo 800w + Redfly C8n -> Palm Pre -> HP Touchpad
    R.I.P Palm 1996-2011
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by palandri View Post
    You may want to ask if the ship has CDMA or GSM cellular service. Just a thought.
    Both Princess and Holland have both. Not sure about the others. use a CDMA and GSM repeater to connect to a Satellite phone service. Its a complete rip-off.
    Pilot 1000 -> Pilot 5000 ->Palm Pilot Professional -> HP 620LX -> TRG Pro -> Palm V -> Palm Vx -> Palm M505 -> Palm i705 -> Palm Tungsten|T -> Samsung i500 -> Treo 600->Treo 650 -> Treo 600-> Treo 700p ->Centro ->Treo 800w + Redfly C8n -> Palm Pre -> HP Touchpad
    R.I.P Palm 1996-2011
  10.    #10  
    Just an update - I'm at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, and they don't have free Wi-Fi. So thank you, MyTether!
  11.    #11  
    I have cell service on the ground at the airport in Anchorage - but the EV disappears every time I try to make a call. I can call my son's cell phone, but not my house. What's up with that?
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by rc46 View Post
    Both Princess and Holland have both. Not sure about the others. use a CDMA and GSM repeater to connect to a Satellite phone service. Its a complete rip-off.
    Thanks for that info!
    My Phone & My Wife's Phone Two Unlocked GSM Treo Pro's

  13. vreihen's Avatar
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    #13  
    Although it's probably too late for the original poster, I'll pass along my findings on this subject.

    Just about every cruise line has contracted with Wireless Maritime Services, aka: Cellular@Sea, to provide on-board cellular phone service.

    http://www.cellularatsea.com/

    Their service works by way of micro-cell antennas all over the ship, linked to a satellite uplink back to the shore. I'm not going to say that it's a universal requirement, but all of the ships that I've been on have turned off the on-board system before entering any port, and don't turn it back on until after they leave the port. (The system itself may be programmed to shut itself off upon detecting a land-based wireless phone system's signal?) As someone pointed out above, you must call Sprint and enable "International Roaming" on your account before you leave, and be ready for the sticker shock when you get home and find out that it costs you $2.49/minute to use your cell phone from the ship! Here's the pricing info straight from Sprint's mouth:

    http://www.nextel.com/en/services/wo...g_sprint.shtml

    General International info:

    http://www.nextel.com/en/services/wo...:international

    Now for some serious words of caution. First and foremost, if $2.49/minute makes you think that you can get around that fee by having someone on land send you text messages, I wouldn't bet the farm on receiving them before you get home. Per the Cellular@Sea web site above, their service is CDMA voice, GSM voice, and GPRS data. Note the omission of CDMA text messaging (and data services) from this list. While I have heard reports that some people have been able to send/receive text messages via a Sprint or Verizon phone from the same ships that I've sailed on, I have to assume that they had tri-mode "international" phones (with GSM) because my Sprint Treo 700p was cut off from the texting world for days at a time while away from US territory ports. My suggestion is to not count on texting or cellular data to work from a Sprint phone, and be extra-careful if it does so that you don't wind up like the poor guy who decided to stream a live sporting event over his AT&T data card from a cruise ship and wound up with a $28,000 data roaming bill! Bears fan watches NFL game on laptop, gets $28,000 phone bill : Ben Patterson : Yahoo! Tech

    My most recent Caribbean jaunt was 2/2008 on the Norwegian Gem, which was a 3-month old ship at the time so I'm pretty sure it didn't have obsolete Cellular@Sea hardware. The only time that I received my backlog of texts was in the ports where Sprint said that I would have CDMA coverage. SPRINT PCS - One exception is that the cellular signal from St. Thomas, USVI made it to parts of Tortola, BVI. My phone was indicating roaming voice coverage at sea, but I didn't make or receive any calls and didn't receive text messages that I know were sent during those times.

    They do offer wireless Internet access on board most cruise ships now, but it's satellite-based, slow, expensive, and has a horrible latency. On my last NCL cruise, it was $0.40/minute to use the wireless Internet if you purchased a $100 plan, and significantly more per minute for cheaper plans. Even if you could get a Skype or another VoIP link up with the satellite latency, rumor has it that they block the services since they would monopolize the limited satellite bandwidth to the ship. At most Caribbean ports, there are cyber cafes located within walking distance of the piers. That's the cheapest way to communicate with home, with the obvious danger of someone using a key logger on those computers to steal your passwords noted.

    My $0.02 is to remember that you're on vacation, and lock your phone in your cabin's safe until disembarkation day at the end of your cruise.....
  14. #14  
    A slight deviation from topic, but Sprint does allow data while roaming. You have to change your preference settings for it. At work I use forced roaming since the building has a very poor signal and have no problems using data while roaming.
  15. #15  
    NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: THE NORWEGIAN GEM
    Rate per minute : $4.99
    *Roaming charges do not include local tolls or long distance charges.

    ROYAL CARIBBEAN: ADVENTURER
    Rate per minute : $4.99
    *Roaming charges do not include local tolls or long distance charges.
    Country code : NA

    Somebody should simply file a theft charge against them.
    My Phone & My Wife's Phone Two Unlocked GSM Treo Pro's

  16. vreihen's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by palandri View Post
    Somebody should simply file a theft charge against them.
    They're careful not to turn it on in any territorial waters, where they are subject to a court system! Seriously though, you have to consider the miracle of even getting a phone call delivered to a ship in the middle of nowhere in the pricing, and take note that the Cellular@Sea block system diagram on their web site shows a whopping 128K satellite uplink speed for the entire ship.

    I forgot to add that one must also prep their phone by downloading a new PRL after requesting Sprint activate international roaming. They will probably tell you this anyway, but don't forget to do it before you leave home because you probably won't be able to do it while roaming.....
  17.    #17  
    OK - quick update from Juneau --

    Good cell service in Anchorage, and about 90 miles out onland. At sea, we lost signal once we left sight of land.

    On the ship, we had service for a short time in College Fjord (why there?), and then nothing until Skagway, when my wife's phone (a Rumor!) got service, but my poor Pre had NOTHING!!! (My wife has lost her ability to send pictures, but at least she still can do voice)

    Here in Juneau, we have full service, and that's how I'm sending this. I was told by Sprint (while on my wife's phone in Skagway) that I wasn't incurring roaming charges while in Alaska, since that was still USA, but I would in Vancouver. And that they can't guarantee that I would get ANY service whatsoever (but they're still happy to charge me for it).

    I'll give updates while I can - but thank you to MyTether for letting me be able to do this!
  18.    #18  
    Saturday morning, and about an hour away from Ketchikan - I have digital roaming service. Slow, but still working.
  19. #19  
    you are on a vacation just leave your stupid phone home!!! problem solved...........
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Fisack23 View Post
    Saturday morning, and about an hour away from Ketchikan - I have digital roaming service. Slow, but still working.
    Thanks for the update. It's interesting to see how your phone is performing up there.
    My Phone & My Wife's Phone Two Unlocked GSM Treo Pro's

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