Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by KingsPtMom2014, Jul 1, 2011.
Our service charges $1.29/min. for international calls. Is this the best we can do?
When our son was out on sea year in the Pacific, we used Skype and email more than anything. It was surprisingly dependable.
And while our other son was recently in Europe, he was able to make free international calls with Google Voice. He had to initiate the call on his computer, but he could call other telephones. I don't know the technical details on setting it up, but our son said it wasn't very hard.
living oversees we used MILITEL. www.MILITEL.com for more info. Skype is awesome but MILITEL will let you use a local payphone or hotel phone from a local phone number when you dont have wireless.
for cell service, yes, probably.
Other options have been mentioned above. Some others are magicjack (requires a computer) or getting a SIM card for the local area.
Personally I have used Skype and MagicJack from the desert and they work wonders if you have an internet source. The SIM card option is only really viable if you are going to be in one place for a decent amount of time or you make regular calls to the same place(s).
In my opinion, the better option is to forego the phone calls while in foreign ports and stick to email during that time. Call when you get to the US ports. (obviously doesn't work so well if you're never in the US)
Agree e-mail is the best and most reliable. My son has traveled extensively and has used the sim cards - he has a collection from different countries, so yes much better suited for being in one area for an extended period of time. He is actually going to give them to my DD when she heads out if she is going to any of the same countries. The rate you were quoted is a good rate.
On the sim card option...
DS first ship third class sea year was a Matson Lines GCX (Guam-China Express) service ship and he did three voyages. His ATT Friends and family service on "his regular phone" meant no roaming charges in Honolulu or Long Beach, but that was not/is not the case for Guam, even though it is a US Possession. For Guam and the China Port Calls he bought a cheap "unlocked" phone and would buy local sim cards that he could get from someone who came on the ship in Guam and/or Ningbo (their first port of call in China) for "20 dolla". For that situation, he found that was by far the best way to go, and when it comes to things of this nature, he's pretty frugal/savvy.
When your DS/DD gets on their ship they'll have plenty of time to talk to regular crew and get "the real deal"/good advice on matters such as this. Communications with home and friends and family is/are something that is a shared desire/need by enough of the crew they seem to have no issue sharing advice and thoughts on, even if they are otherwise "crusty".
Are there better options or are Skype and Google voice still best mode of talk. DS is going near Kosovo in A month of two.
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