Before setting sail, you must know: Does Google Fi work on cruise ships?
Google Fi uses cellular and WiFi networks from multiple partners in the US and abroad and switches between them automatically. It lets you access high-speed data in vast domains at no extra cost.
Yes, Google Fi works on cruise ships, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. You need a compatible phone and WiFi calling plan to make calls and texts over the ship’s WiFi network.
Awesome, let’s discuss them in detail!
Does Google Fi Work on Cruise Ships – All You Need to Know
Google Fi is a wireless service that offers text, call, and data services in over 200 countries and territories. But what if you’re on a cruise ship? We’ll explore the possibilities and limitations below.
Cruise Ship Coverage and Connectivity
Can you use your Google Fi on a cruise ship? The first factor determining the answer to the question is the coverage and connectivity of the cruise ship itself.
Cruise ships use the following methods to provide internet to passengers and crews:
Available Connectivity Options
The internet access options on cruise ships vary depending on the cruise line, itinerary, and package you choose.
You should check the details of your cruise before you go to see what kind of internet service you should expect.
Here are some available connectivity options on cruise ships:
- Pay-per-use – you pay for each minute or megabyte of internet usage
- Daily or weekly pass – you pay a flat fee for unlimited internet usage at a certain period
- Unlimited plan – you pay a one-time fee for unlimited access throughout the cruise
Tip: Getting an Unlimited Plan is the top option as it offers heavy internet users the best value and convenience.
Google Fi’s International Roaming Capabilities
Google Fi has international roaming capabilities in over 200 countries and territories, allowing you to use your phone as you would at home. Below is a table summarizing the different Google Fi roaming plans.
|Simply Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||$0.20/min, $10/GB|
Note: These are just the base roaming rates. Additional fees like roaming surcharges, taxes, and other government fees still apply.
Benefits of Google Fi’s Partnerships
Its partnerships with over 25 global carriers worldwide make Google Fi’s international roaming capabilities possible.
You get high-speed data, unlimited texts, and low-cost calls in over 200 destinations worldwide.
- Three is a British carrier that offers 4G and 5G coverage in over 70 countries.
- Orange is a French carrier that offers 4G and 5G coverage in over 40 countries.
- Vodafone is a British carrier that offers 4G and 5G coverage in over 30 countries.
- Other carriers also work with Google Fi to offer different coverage and speed.
Google Fi automatically switches between partners depending on signal strength and availability. Check which partner you’re connected to by looking at the network name on your phone’s status bar.
Additional Charges and Costs
Google Fi’s international roaming capabilities are usually free of extra charges and costs for most users.
However, others possibly will if they exceed the data limit or when they use Google Fi in unsupported countries.
|Feature||Flexible Plan||Unlimited Plus Plan|
|Data Speed||High-speed up to 6GB, then 256kbps||High-speed up to 22GB, then 256kbps|
|Data Usage||Reduced speed or service termination if you use over 50% outside of the US||Reduced speed or service termination if you use over 50% outside of the US|
|Calls and Text||Unlimited within the US and to over 50 destinations, other countries charged at different rates||Unlimited within the US and to over 50 countries, other countries charged at different rates|
|Taxes and Fees||Vary based on location and usage||Vary based on location and usage|
Satellite Connectivity and Google Fi
Cruise ships use satellite connectivity to provide their passengers and crews with internet access. Satellite connectivity works by using a dish on the ship that talks to satellites in orbit.
Satellite connectivity covers almost any location on the planet, but it has its limitations:
- It’s costly due to high fees for bandwidth and equipment.
- It is slow and unreliable due to high latency and shared speeds.
- It is prone to interference from weather, obstructions, or electromagnetic phenomena.
Note: Google Fi’s performance on cruise ships depends on whether it uses cellular or WiFi service from satellite connectivity.
Cruise Line Partnerships
Cruise line partnerships are deals between cruise ships and wireless providers to increase the satisfaction and loyalty of their customers.
Some of these partnerships include:
- Disney Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean International
- Norwegian Cruise Line
Google Fi allows you to enjoy various benefits and special offers while cruising with these cruise lines.
For instance, you get free unlimited data and calls on select Disney Cruise Line trips or discounted rates and WiFi packages on Royal Caribbean ships.
Tips and Recommendations
Before you embark on your trip, you want to know how to maximize your data and connection. Google Fi should work fairly decently on most cruise ships, but there are steps to take to improve this.
Here are some of the tips and tricks that you need to know to take full advantage of your Google Fi while on a cruise:
Preparing for Your Cruise
Before leaving your home, ensure your Google Fi service works smoothly.
Follow these, and you won’t have to worry about not connecting to the service or paying exorbitant fees from other providers while on board the ship.
- Check your coverage.
- Enable international roaming by following these steps:
- Open the Google Fi app.
- Tap on the Menu icon.
- Tap Settings.
- Tap on Cellular Network.
- Toggle on the International Roaming switch.
- Purchase a data plan from the cruise line.
- Bring a portable WiFi hotspot for a more reliable connection.
- Download the apps and videos you need before leaving for your cruise.
Note: The ship’s WiFi network will drain your battery, so keep your phone charged constantly.
Pro Tip: Only use Google Fi for calls and texts when the ship is docked in a port to avoid raising data charges.
During your cruise, you should optimize your connectivity to get the best value and performance from your Google Fi service.
Here are some things you should do:
- Switch between networks depending on signal strength and availability.
- Use WiFi calling to make and receive calls and texts on your Google Fi service.
- Use WiFi data to access data services.
Alternatives and Backup Connections
If your Google Fi service doesn’t work on cruise ships, here are some alternatives to help you stay connected with your friends and family back home.
- Use other wireless providers with international roaming or local SIM.
- Use other internet services with online communication or entertainment options.
- Use offline modes that allow access to features or functions without the internet.
User Experiences with Google Fi and Cruises
These are the experiences users shared online about using Google Fi on cruise ships to provide you with some insights.
A user named John posted a blog post about his experience using Google Fi on a Disney Cruise Line ship in the Caribbean.
Here’s a breakdown of his review:
- Used free high-speed internet access throughout the cruise
- Made unlimited calls and texts to his family and friends in the US
- Use Google Fi’s cellular service when the ship is at a port
- Impressed by the speed and quality of the service
- Very happy with Google Fi and would recommend it
A user named Lisa posted a review about her experience using Google Fi on a Royal Caribbean International ship in the Mediterranean.
Here’s her feedback:
- Google Fi’s discounted internet packages are sold out or not available for her itinerary
- Wasn’t able to use Google Fi’s cellular service when the ship was near a shore
- Relied on the ship’s expensive but slow satellite connectivity
- Very disappointed and would not use it again on a cruise ship
A user named Mike posted his experience using Google Fi on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship in Alaska on a forum thread.
He wrote the following:
- Used free internet access up to 250 MB per day on the ship
- Had to pay extra for more data or faster speed
- Used Google Fi’s cellular service when the ship was near the shore or at a port
- Had issues switching between networks and partners
- Mixed feeling: Would use it again but with some caution and preparation
These user experiences show how Google Fi works depending on factors like the cruise line, ship, package, itinerary, network, destination, partner, and more.
Does Google Fi work on cruise ships? To sum up, Google Fi works on cruise ships but with some limitations and caveats. However, its performance depends on cruise ship coverage and connectivity.
For more information about Google Fi, visit our blog!
Finn Wheatley holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UCL, London. He helped small data science consultancy firms, helping large corporations to grow their data capabilities, deploy advanced machine learning-based analytics and troubleshoot tech-related issues.