I won't lie. It's not easy. But most of us are old enough to remember life without cell phones. Somehow we managed to get by then, so we can do it now. Unlike when we were kids, though, we probably weren't going on vacation hoping to meet up with people we'd never seen before.
Things that work:
- Walkie Talkies. This is the first recommendation on any cruise forum. They will work on the ship, but they're limited to at most four people, and most of them are pretty big. So for a small group of roommates this would work, but overall, walkie talkies probably won't get it done.
- Setting meeting points and times. I did not do this nearly enough last year. "I'll meet you around the pool later" does not really work, particularly when it's white night and searching a crowd knowing your friends are wearing white does not help one bit. Think more like "I'll meet you next to the guest services desk at 9:30." If you are arranging a photo group before the cruise, set the meeting place and time before we get to Miami. Key point to this method: wear a watch.
- Post its. Throw a cube of post-its in your suitcase so you can leave notes on your friends' doors about when and where to meet. Or leave a note on your own door about where you are in case your friends stop by. Key point to this method: have a list of your friends' room numbers.
Things that don't work:
- Room-to-room calling. I can't say this absolutely doesn't work, but it involves both parties being in their rooms at the same time, which doesn't happen often. From what I remember, unlike hotels, there was no voice mail. (Confirmed: there is NO voice mail on the in-room phones. Thanks wizbiff!)
- E-mail or DMs. As I mentioned in my last post, I never once got my e-mail to load using the ship's internet. This was how I was planning to communicate with my husband and it didn't happen. I ended up calling him on my cell from Nassau. That's not going to work this year, since Half Moon Cay supposedly has zero cell coverage. DMs may work if you are able to limit who is DMing you, but if you're not getting texts or e-mails, it would require signing into Twitter to get them, so you'd have to check in fairly often.
Last year, I way underestimated how tough it would be to find people. It hadn't occurred to me that DMs and voicemail would be off the table. This year I'll be setting a lot more meeting times. If you have other tips or tricks, I'd love to hear them! Please share in the comments.