Many cruise travelers have no problem at all controlling the expense of using their smartphone internationally; they simply turn it off for the duration of the trip. That done, they proceed to communicate with the rest of the world via email on Internet time bought from the cruise line. They don't dare turn on their smartphone because if they do, the first message they see is one warning of potential overage charges they will incur if they use it – until now.
Recently, AT&T announced three different Cruise Ship Package plans with cruise travelers in mind:
AT&T Cruise Ship Calling: Includes 50 minutes for $30 per month
AT&T Cruise Ship Calling and Messaging: Offers 50 minutes of talk and 100 text/picture/video messages sent for $60 per month
AT&T Cruise Ship Calling, Messaging and Data: Includes 50 minutes, 100 messages sent and 100MB of data for $120 per month
A minimum one-month trial is required, which works well with the idea of "turn it on before you sail, turn it off after you're done." The new plan is currently limited to the ships of Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises and select Celebrity Cruises ships. See att.com/cruiseships for list of ships and details.
On-ship networks operate only while in international waters. Docked at a pier, anyone with a smart phone can turn it on and access any available signal. Right about then would be a good time to have Boingo installed to pick among available signals and log in on one that works with your device at no additional charge.
AT&T Cruise Ship package kicks in when users see "Cellular at Sea" displayed on your device.
Have no clue what usage you might have while traveling via cruise ship? AT&T also has an International Data Calculator that can help.