Cruise expert warns simple mistake could see passengers ‘billed thousands’ | Cruise | Travel

After spending a few weeks on a cruise, most people expect to return home feeling relaxed and well-rested.

However, that wasn’t the case for 24-year-old Molly Saxton last year who returned home only to be billed a massive £1,186 for her mobile phone bill.

Molly said her monthly phone bill soared by 3,290 percent after she went on a cruise around the Caribbean and left her phone in roaming mode.

Molly, who is from Sheffield, told mobile phone retailer Fonehouse that she had paid for a data and text bundle before her holiday so she could stay in contact with her now-husband via text and social media.

She thought she may have exceeded the limit but wasn’t concerned as she thought her phone provider would place a cap on spending or notify her if she spent too much.

However, she was left in shock when she saw her monthly phone bill had increased from its usual rate of £30 to £35 to £1,186.59.

She said: “Whilst I expected a slightly larger phone bill due to using it abroad, I didn’t for one minute think that it would be anywhere near £1,000 – I could have gone on another holiday with that money.

“The high costs were down to excess use of the data and text bundle as well as accidental roaming whilst at sea. I had no idea that your phone could automatically connect to maritime roaming in this way, neither did my friends or family.

She added: “Thankfully, my phone company did agree to half the bill after speaking with them.”

So how can you avoid being charged thousands of pounds for your mobile phone bill while on a cruise?

Cruise blogger Preston said on his YouTube channel, Ship Facts that cruisers should keep their phone on airplane mode.

He said in a short: “Keep your phone on airplane mode throughout the entire cruise.

“So many passengers have been billed thousands of dollars on their phone bill due to the fact they went on the internet, took calls and even made messages without having airplane mode turned on.

“Even if you do buy the Wi-Fi on board, still be sure to keep airplane mode turned on.”

When your phone is in airplane mode, it can’t join cellular networks meaning it won’t charge you.

If you leave roaming mode on, even if you are not actively using your device, you could still be charged as apps could be running in the background without you realising.

However, some fellow cruisers commented on the video claiming that you can instead turn off roaming or simply buy a local SIM card.

@putrikania6196 posted: “Simple tip. If you can, just pop out your phone’s SIM Card and buy a local SIM Card. I usually did this when travelling abroad.”

@vgvg541 replied: “Turning off mobile data does the trick and is better than airplane mode.”

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