How Do I Make a Phone Call on a Cruise Ship?

By Michael Ferguson

Making a phone call on a cruise ship can be a bit tricky, but it’s not impossible. Depending on the cruise line, you may have access to different services that will allow you to make and receive calls. Here are some tips on how to make a phone call while on board.

Using Your Cell Phone

If you have an unlocked cell phone, then you may be able to use your own cellular service provider to make calls onboard the ship. However, before you go, check with your provider to see if they cover the areas where your cruise will take you. Using your phone is also likely to be the most expensive option for making calls on board since roaming fees may apply and rates can be expensive.

Using Onboard Phone Services

Most larger ships offer onboard telephone services which allow passengers to make and receive calls from their cabins or other public areas of the ship. To use this service, passengers will need to purchase calling cards or activate their own personal accounts through the ship’s operator. Rates for phone services vary depending on the cruise line but typically include both international and domestic access numbers as well as prepaid calling cards that are available at most onboard stores and kiosks.

Using Onboard Wi-Fi

Many ships now offer free Wi-Fi which allows passengers to connect their devices and make calls over Skype or other VoIP applications such as Viber or WhatsApp. Wi-Fi is usually available in public areas of the ship such as lounges or cafes, though it may not always be accessible in cabins or private balconies due to signal strength issues.

As with cell phones, using Wi-Fi is likely to be more expensive than using other onboard services so it’s important to check rates before making any calls.


Making a phone call on a cruise ship is possible if you know what options are available. You can use your own cell phone if it’s unlocked, purchase calling cards from an onboard operator, or try using Wi-Fi for VoIP applications such as Skype or Viber.