Will I have phone and internet coverage on an Alaskan Cruise?
Phone and internet will be available onboard intermittently aboard most ships enroute to and in Alaska but coverage will vary depending on the location to land and other factors. While things will vary from ship to ship, satellite phone service is available onboard many ships at a cost of about $8.00 per minute when phone calls are absolutely necessary. If you do need to make a phone call from your stateroom, instructions are available on the phone and it’s not difficult.
Most ships also have a wifi package for guests. While most of us want to relax and unwind onboard, we also like the comfort of having our cell phone close at hand for picture taking and keeping track of the time. But what about the other functions we use it for? It might be reasonable to purchase a package for about $100 which will give you enough data to check emails a few times daily, as well as look at some website. I met students who were taking online courses and they were able to get all of their class work done with that package. It’s just a matter of not wasting time and clicking through too often. Obviously, streaming will eat up your plan in a matter of hours webpage. While internet may be available during sea days, it will be very slow as compared to times when the ship is in port. The cost was about $55 for 100 minutes of usage or 75 cents/minute.
Leaving Seattle, United States guests will continue to have cell coverage for an hour or more prior to entering Canadian Territory. Once in Canada, my Verizon phone sent me a message advising me that I had left my home territory and additional prices would apply should I decide to phone, surf or text while in Canada. Upon arrival in Alaska, US rates apply on cell phones and internet for those devices with a package. In the case of this 7 day cruise, we were in US territory for about 5 days. If you plan on a land tour while in Alaska in summer or winter, your phone will normally work just like at home, but check with your provider to be sure your package includes the 49th.
Most days, ships will be in ports of call that do have free wifi options right in town. These are often within walking distance of the ship and most often include a public library, many that will also offer computers for a small fee. For many people who don’t want to be surfing while onboard ship, this will be enough to check emails and take care of a few items from the real world.
Your best precaution will be to contact your provider prior to leaving home and knowing exactly what your plan will cover on both your phone and hotspot, if you have one. While there are still a few ships that offer internet to guests, this is not the norm and even then there will be days when there simply isn’t a way to communicate with those outside the ship.