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Cellular Phone Service

Published 03/12/2015 02:00 AM   |    Updated 12/19/2018 01:20 PM

Carnival Cruise Line, through agreement with Wireless Maritime Services, offers an advanced roaming network on board Carnival Cruise Line ships, allowing you to make and receive calls while at sea using your own mobile phone and telephone number. International roaming charges will be conveniently billed to you by your home mobile carrier. Please contact your mobile carrier for specific rate information.

Stay Connected While At Sea On Your Cruise!

WMS offers an advanced roaming network onboard cruise ships allowing you to use your phone just like you do at home. Service for voice calls, texting (SMS) and data is available onboard while the ship is at sea. Once the WMS network is switched on, while roaming on our cruise ships, you will see a distinct display on your handset that differs from your home carrier. Depending on the make and model of your phone, the handset will read Nor 18, cellular@sea or 901 18.

As a reminder, international roaming charges apply and will be billed by your home carrier and not by WMS.

How It Works

Due to regulations, the WMSatSea network only works when the ship is at sea at least 12 nautical miles from shore (2 nautical miles in the European Union). When the ship is sailing on international waters, you will be able to use the WMS network for incoming and outgoing calls, SMS, and Data services (email and web surfing). Once in port, you can connect to local roaming networks as permitted by your home carrier.

Service Requirements

The WMSatSea mobile network is accessible by most mobile phones, supporting both GSM and CDMA technologies. You must have service with one of the nearly 400 carriers worldwide that have a roaming agreement with WMS. Some prepaid phone plans by some carriers are not currently supported. Please check with your mobile telephone service provider for details.

Charges, Billing, and Customer Service

Rates for roaming on ships are determined by your home carrier. Please note that calls to 800, 888, 866, and 877 numbers are not toll free. You will be billed by your home carrier for your international roaming usage on your regular mobile phone bill. Typically charges will appear on the next monthly bill, but depending on your carrier it may occasionally take up to 60 days for charges to appear on your phone bill. Please note that most cell phone carriers do not allow their unlimited rate plans to apply to cellular calls, texts or data used while onboard ships. Please contact your own carrier to confirm this and your specific pricing details.

Explanation of Rates and Charges

Service is provided by Wireless Maritime Services. Use of the WMS services requires compatible wireless phone and qualified wireless service with a home carrier provider that has a roaming agreement with WMS. Your home network will determine the international roaming rates you pay for usage.

WMS provides CDMA, GSM voice and DATA services. Other service features may not be available. Voice usage is measured during the time you are connected to your system, which is approximately from the time you press the button that initiates or answers the call until approximately the time the first party terminates the call. Voice usage for each call is billed in full minute increments with partial minutes rounded up to the next full minute. Data usage for each billing record will be rounded up to the next kilobyte and a cost will be associated with each billing record and rounded to the nearest cent.

Availability, timeliness and reliability of service are subject to radio transmission limitation caused by system capacity, system repairs and modifications, your equipment, signal strength, weather and other conditions. You will only be able to call and text message to certain countries. Other restrictions and limitations apply for service.



USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean: Dial +, the country code and the full number; Verizon Wireless/Sprint users dial 011, the country code and the full number. Other Countries: Dial 011, the country code, city code and local number.

Text Messaging (SMS)

Text messaging service is available on most compatible devices, depending on your wireless service provider. Address your text message to your North American number with 1 + area code and number.


If your home carrier supports GPRS, EDGE or EVDO data service, you can check email, surf the web and share photos while traveling just as you would at home.


Most users will be able to check their messages by pressing and holding the 1 key. Please note that some home carriers charge for messages deposited to and retrieved from voicemail while a customer is roaming. Please contact your home carrier customer service with any questions about using your voicemail.


Will my phone work on the WMS network?

WMS provides connectivity for customers of nearly 400 mobile cell phone companies around the world. With rare exceptions, your carrier should be supported by WMS. It should be noted that your carrier must allow you to roam internationally in order for your phone to work onboard a WMS vessel. A complete list of the mobile phone operators with whom WMS has roaming agreements is listed on the WMS website under FAQs:

How does your service work?

Our service operates over a satellite, or VSAT connection. Once your ship is at least 12 nautical miles out to sea (or at least2 nautical miles in EU countries), the WMS network turns on and you will automatically connect to it. Please note that cruise ship roaming rates will apply. Our service will stay on for the duration of the time that the ship is sailing at sea. Once your ship approaches land again and is within 12 nautical miles from shore (or 2 nautical miles in the EU), our service is turned off and your phone will pick up local service. If you are able to pick up local service in the port areas you will be charged a different rate by your carrier then the Cruise Ship Roaming rate. Contact your carrier for pricing and details.

How do I connect my phone to the WMS network onboard my ship?

Compatible devices and carriers connect automatically. You do not need to do anything special to connect to the service.

How do I dial out?

Simply dial 1 plus the area code and number to call anywhere in North America. Dial + along with the country code and number to call non-US destinations. Verizon Wireless/Sprint/Alltel user’s dial 011 country code and number to non-US destinations.

How much will it cost to use my cell phone onboard a ship?

Rates are set and determined solely by your cell phone carrier—WMS has no involvement whatsoever in the retail rates your carrier charges for cruise ship roaming. For precise rates you will pay onboard, please contact your carrier’s international roaming department directly to confirm their Cruise Ship Roaming Rates for voice calls, texting, and data if applicable.

When will you send me a bill for service used onboard a cruise ship?

All billing is handled by your cell phone carrier, not by WMS, and you will be billed for any charges incurred while onboard a ship on your next monthly cell phone bill directly from your carrier.

If my phone is left on and I do not use it, will I be charged?

In some cases, a phone that is left on, but not used, may incur charges. If a voice call is received but not answered, and the caller leaves a voicemail it is possible you will receive a charge for a voice call. If a text comes through and the phone is left on, you may be charged for a received text. Please note that smartphones (Blackberries, iPhones, Androids and other PDA devices) are constantly looking for data connections in order to perform updates and other synchronization steps. Therefore, it is possible that if you leave your PDA device on, you will incur data charges. Please contact your carrier for more information on data charges.

I did not use my phone onboard a cruise ship and I received charges – how do I get a refund?

Any questions or issues regarding billing must be handled through your carrier. WMS has no involvement at all with retail charges applied to your monthly bill by your cell phone provider.

Are there any prepaid packages for voice minutes or data available to use this service?

WMS does not offer any prepaid packages for passengers.

Will my unlimited rate plan apply to your service?

Generally speaking, most cell phone carriers do not allow their unlimited rate plans to apply to calls, texts or data used while roaming on international waters. Please contact your own carrier to confirm this and your specific pricing details.

If I buy a prepaid cell phone, can I use it onboard the cruise ship?

WMS currently does not support any US prepaid cell phones with our service.

Do you offer internet access?

Provided that WMS has a roaming agreement with your cellular service provider for GPRS (data) service, you will be able to use our network to access cellular data services (e.g., internet access, email and web browsing) with your GPRS capable cell phone. GPRS roaming rates also apply when using an air card. Please check with your carrier to determine the rates you will be charged by them. Carnival also offers internet access plans that you can purchase onboard.

Special Note for CDMA users: CDMA users who have a world phone will not have access to data services if your phone is set to GSM. Your CDMA phone must be set to CDMA.


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