Thursday, April 15, 2010

Keeping in touch with friends on board

On Tuesday, I posted about the outrageous costs of using cell phones at sea. Most cruisers don't turn their phones on at all on board, which makes finding your friends quite a challenge. So how do you find each other to meet up?

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.


  1. Deff no voicemail on the room-to-room phones. We tried that last time.

  2. Thanks so much for posting all this info. Never been on a cruise before so any help I can get is appreciated. :) :)

  3. First and always...THANK YOU KATIE!!! You're the best!

    Now...One of my biggest fears about this trip is ending up wandering around aimlessly looking for my friends. The post it note idea is great. Maybe each friend has a set color if people don't want to put names or other personal info for everyone to see?? QUESTION: if we bring walkie talkies do they only talk to each other or can you put them on a channel and you can talk to others with different walkie talkies? Hmmm...

    I know it seems silly to be worried about and I'm sure I can find someone who likes NKOTB on that boat...SOMEWHERE...but the point of this trip is to be with my friends so thank you for these great ideas! Post it notes and walkie talkies are going on the cruise packing list!

  4. Last yr picking a time and place worked well, may it be for dinner or an event. You will learn your favorite spots on the boat quickly! In the morning, we called each other on our cabin phones to see when everyone wanted to head out. Recommendation - Order breakfast room service, getting 2 hrs of sleep and feeling rushed to get breakfast, not ideal. :) I also made a spin wheel for our cabin door that had where we were on the boat just in case someone stopped by our room.

  5. Last year my husband and I brought cheap walkie talkies but ended up not using them because we kept crossing signals with another group (or two) that had the same ones. If you get walkie talkies, get ones with multiple channels, lol.


  6. The spin wheel is a great idea! We are much less creative and used a flimsy wipe off board that we could just tape to the wall/door. It worked well last year. I realize that on every cruise there isn't so many people searching for each other as there is on this type of cruise, but Carnival should think about installing wipe off boards next to the doors! Or maybe Rose Tours would like to add a NKOTB Cruise 2010 one in our cruise Goody Bag ;)

  7. I used a wipe off board last year too. It worked just fine. But for some odd reason, I was always running into my friends even when I wasn't looking for them. Best advice is know your friends room numbers before you go. I like the idea of walkie talkies but I don't want to have to keep up with them. For me, it was very freeing to not have to worry about any electronic devices for 3 days. May 14th can't get here soon enough!

  8. Hi,

    Just a completely different question. Did anyone already hear from Rose Tours about the themeparties this year?

    We haven't heard anything, so were wondering if anyone else had.

    We (Europe) are also hoping that they did not send out any papers in the post as they could get lost in a vulcano ash-cloud as the whole aerospace world is turned upside down in Europe at this moment (so we are really keeping our fingers crossed all is fine in a few weeks time to fly to Miami).

  9. My roomie and I had already thought about including on our door a way for people to leave us notes, but I like the idea of bringing post-its so that we can leave notes for others!

    You always think of the great ideas Katie! :)