Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-03-2013, 12:53   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA & Cartagena, Spain
Boat: Aloha 32 & Leopard 43
Posts: 18
Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

We are USA citizens starting a cruise in June. We are a bit confused about cell phone options. Do we bring our unlocked phones with us and pay roaming charges? Do we purchase country-specific SIMs that shift the charges to family members calling us? Do we just throw the cell phones away and use a SAT phone? What have others done to keep in touch with family at home?
__________________

__________________
Larry Smith
S/V Pleamar & S/V Harmonia
lhsmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2013, 14:24   #2
Registered User
 
multihullsailor6's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cruising in the SUN! Cruising towards Malta.
Boat: 37' Oldenziel cat
Posts: 442
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

Hi Larry,

I try and use Skype as much as possible and emails which means of course internet connection, this either through wifi or via a SIM internet card. I do buy local SIM cards for the phone calls (local and international) one cannot avoid and then also send SMS. Sat phone connections are expensive. When on longer offshore routes I have a Spot2 Tracker to send progress updates.
__________________

__________________
Roger
Catamaran "Burnout"
multihullsailor6 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2013, 14:46   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Auckland NZ and cruising the Med
Boat: Warwick Cardinal 46
Posts: 30
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

I suggest you investigate the option of an international SIM card. We use Travel Sim which works in most countries and is reasonable but not cheap. Otherwise a local sim. Best J
__________________
s/y spindrift is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2013, 14:51   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
atoll's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: gettin naughty on the beach in cornwall
Boat: 63 custom alloy sloop,macwester26,prout snowgoose 37 elite catamaran!
Posts: 9,311
Images: 75
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

sat phone worked out much cheaper for me in the med than a uk roaming mobile if i needed to contact people.
and free for incoming 100character emails.

with a roaming mobile you pay both ways @roughly $1.70 a minute,even for incoming calls,sat phone worked out at $1.00 a minute.

buying a local sim card is also the way to go,but you may need to buy a european phone as well as the work on different freq here
__________________
my catamaran building project updates http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...36#post2502136
atoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2013, 14:52   #5
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
You can easily pick up. Prepaid SIM cards in med countries

That's the easiest , so bring a unlocked quad band gsm phone

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2013, 15:06   #6
Moderator
 
Boracay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pelican Bay, Great Sandy National Park
Boat: Steel Roberts Offshore 44
Posts: 5,175
Images: 18
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

I don't know about US/Europe but roaming plans from Oz have a poor rep here.

For instance: Roaming plan, smart phone, updates weather & map regular like, roaming charge each time, bill measured in multiple boat bucks on return a few weeks later.

We did find it hard to get a simple prepaid plan in Europe. Maybe other members can advise.
__________________
Rust never sleeps
Boracay Blog.
Boracay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2013, 15:10   #7
Registered User
 
CarinaPDX's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Boat: 31' Cape George Cutter
Posts: 1,674
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

Agree with Dave - most Med cruisers buy a European GSM phone, unlocked, and buy SIM cards in each country. If you are buying just for Europe, standard gen 2 GSM voice phone, then a two band is all that is needed. A quad band is necessary for use in the US (with T-Mobile and AT&T); for years I would come back to the US for the holidays and slip in a T-Mobile prepaid SIM, then back to the local SIM for each country. Of course, data is another issue, and requires more bands. Cruisers stay in touch by both SMS text messages and email. For email I used local wifi and Airmail (via ham radio, but also available on Marine SSB via Sailmail).

For calling internationally, get an account with a call-back provider.

Skype can work very well, provided a good data connection is available. Unfortunately that is not always the case; the days of unlocked wifi systems is mostly past.

Greg
__________________
CarinaPDX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 04:14   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Corsica (France)
Boat: Bavaria 37
Posts: 239
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

I mostly agree with CarinaPDX... Except that for "phoning" it is very easy to use Syype by wifi. Along the coasts (for what I Know) from France to Turkey you will have cafés and restaurants which offer free wifi connections, you will have marinas and a lot of hotspots... So the most important is to have a 3G connection , it means a 3 G Sim Card for data... If you have an iPhone or iPad these 3G sim card will transform it in a modem that 4 others items cans use (Laptop, tablets, other smartphones, etc...) And it will be of great value to get free weather forecasts ( a lot of choice in the Med), to send mails, or texts, 5MS, to use Googoo earth to prepare your navigation, or reserve a berth, or have a look to SeaSeek, etc...
It means, you can have with you your own mobile phone because you will not use it a lot (only if very necessary) !
In fact the most difficult for you may be to understand the different languages of the different countries you will visit or to find people who speak english to explain you how to do with a sim card in Greece for example (how to pay, charge, etc...) But it is part of a travel, isn't ?
__________________
Jacques2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 05:26   #9
Registered User
 
stevensuf's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Back in Scotland!
Boat: Gib sea 43
Posts: 840
Images: 10
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

try looking up global sim and world sim, they give you a uk and us number and cheap calls in the med.
__________________
http://nicnsteve.blogspot.com/

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then my keyboard must be a nuclear missile!
stevensuf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 12:00   #10
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,040
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

lh-
International roaming is generally expensive. Satphones are generally expensive, even more so, but then again they are cheaper than domestic long-distance cellular calls were 12 years ago.

You might also want to look into a Google Voice number, because that allows you to have calls forwarded to other numbers. So you give the family your GVoice number, and if you change SIMS or plans while you are overseas, you don't need to give everyone new numbers, you can just redirect the GVoice forwarding, from any web connection. An option to consider.

If you look online for prepaid international SIM cards/plans, you'll see a variety with rates, etc. posted for different areas. Some you can buy before you go, others after you get there.

And if you've got GVoice, you can also retrieve your voicemails from over the web, so folks can leave you a domestic US voicemail message, and you can pick it up free from a web connection. Or call them back for free, using GVoice over a web connection or WiFi.

Not as handy as a phone in your hand--but a good resource to look into.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 12:38   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
Kenomac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Somewhere in the Adriatic Sea
Boat: Oyster 53 Cutter
Posts: 8,511
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

Prepaid SIM card on a cheap euro cell phone. We paid only $19 for the phone and use the SIM for local calls; 20 euros prepaid will last a month for local calls here in Spain. Then we use magicjack for incoming calls from the USA and to anyone in the USA. Just as long as we have internet access, the magic jack calls are free. Can get internet access at local marinas and cafes for free and then through a prepaid sim computer card on our laptop for 30 euros per month for 1GB.
__________________
Kenomac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 13:03   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

Be careful with Google Voice. It sounds great in theory, but I have tried it a couple of different times, separated by several months as I thought maybe my first experience was just bad luck. But, both times I had serious problems: calls not forwarded, or people calling in and not getting the voice mail. I couldn't figure out the problem so I gave up on it.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 13:04   #13
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK/Portugal
Posts: 20,207
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to boatman61
pirate Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

Cell phone is for emergencies... Skype and the internet give all the contact I need.. and a lot cheaper
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 14:06   #14
Registered User
 
Visarend's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Mediterranean
Boat: 38' self built cutter (1990)
Posts: 25
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

IMHO, one of the best (and simplest) options for international calls while cruising: GYMSIM - International mobile phone sim cards
Only, their local network in Italy uses a 3G system, therefore only recent 3G compliant phones can be used. No such problem in other countries.
We are using a GymSim since 2006, works fine, costs very acceptable (see their rate card: http://www.gymsim.com/pdfs/world44voicerates.pdf)
__________________
Visarend is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 15:36   #15
Registered User
 
sy_gilana's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On board
Boat: Van de Stadt 50'
Posts: 1,101
Send a message via Skype™ to sy_gilana
Re: Newbies to Med trying to figure out phone plans

Gymsim works well.
Go to Telefonia movil sin ataduras | moviles libres | Simyo and look at their offers.
You can do Portugal/Spain/Italy on Simyo.
In EU you do not pay for incoming calls.
Bring an unlocked phone, or buy an unlocked one through simyo.
Suggest you open a bank account in the EU, just deposit your cruising funds in there.
This way you can have a phone on contract. You can draw cash at atms, without fees, you can shop online, etc etc. Far from being a problem, having a EU credit card linked to your cruising kitty bank account will open doors for you. Make it a NON resident bank account and there are no tax implications. just my 2c...
__________________

__________________
Tight sheets to ya.
http://gilana.org
sy_gilana is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
phone

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 14:35.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.