What is The Cellular AT&T Cruise Package and Is It Worth It For Your Next Cruise?

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Filed Under: Cruise Wi-Fi, Internet

Going on a cruise vacation is a blend of adventure and relaxation. But in today’s connected world, the question often arises: “How do I stay in touch with friends and family back home without racking up huge bills or paying for expensive Cruise WiFi?” The answer might just be the AT&T Cruise Package.

Designed specifically for cruisers, this package promises to keep you connected at Sea, ensuring that your friends and family or business colleagues are always within reach. 

In this guide, we’ll look in detail at the AT&T Cruise Package, exploring its features, comparing it with onboard Wi-Fi, and helping you decide if it’s the right choice for your next voyage. 

What is the AT&T Cruise Package

The AT&T Cruise Package is a cellular wireless plan designed specifically for those who wish to use their phone on a cruise to make calls and access the Internet.

The package is a godsend for those who want to use their phone without incurring international roaming charges.  

Whether you’re onboard one of the 175 cruise ships covered or docked at a Caribbean island, this package ensures you can use data, make calls, and send those “Wish You Were Here” texts to your friends back home.

The beauty of this package lies in its simplicity. It offers unlimited talk and text, so you can chatter away without watching the clock.

Plus, depending on the package you choose, you get a set amount of data to surf the internet, use apps, or upload those envy-inducing vacation snaps.

And the best part? It’s valid for 30 days, giving you ample time to explore, relax, and stay in touch. 

Using a laptop on a cruise ship
If you are a heavy data user like me then the AT&T Cruise Package will not be for you

What Are The Different Packages Available? Cruise Basic or Cruise Plus

Cellular package options can sometimes be complicated but AT&T has streamlined the offering with just two main packages tailored to different needs and budgets. 

AT&T Cruise Plus

First up, we have the AT&T Cruise Plus. For a one-time charge of $100, this package is the ultimate travel buddy for those who love to chat and share.

It offers unlimited talk and text, ensuring you can chat with your friends with your tales of adventure without keeping an eye on the clock.

For the social media fans among us, it comes with 1GB of data. For light users who will use their phones to surf the internet, updating their status, or send a quick email, this package has got you covered.

For heavier users, who want to stream music and video, that 1GB limit is going to be used up very very quickly.  So make sure you aware of the data limitations before committing yourself to this cellular option.

Be wary of overage costs; if you go over that 1GB, you’ll be charged $10 for 100MB. 

AT&T Cruise Basic

If you’re more of a casual user or just want a safety net for emergencies, the AT&T Cruise℠ Basic might be an option for you.

Priced at $60 for a one-time charge, it’s a bit lighter on the wallet and includes 100 minutes of talk time. This is perfect for checking in with loved ones or making a reservation at that must-visit portside restaurant.

Texting enthusiasts will be pleased to know it offers unlimited text, so you can keep those group chats buzzing.

Data-wise, you’re looking at a rather measly 100MB, with the same overage rate of $10 for 100MB if you exceed it. 

Both packages are valid for 30 days, giving you a full month of connectivity without the need for daily renewals. 

How does the AT&T Cruise Package Work

Cellular At Sea Network

The AT&T Cruise Package operates by connecting to the ship’s cellular network, often referred to as “Cellular at sea”.

When you’re onboard and the ship is sailing, your mobile phone will automatically connect to this network, allowing you to roam just like you would when traveling internationally.

Normally the costs for using “Cellular at Sea” are exorbitant. That’s why cruise vacationers are always advised to switch their smartphone to “Airplane Mode” to ensure they don’t accidentally make any connections using that network.

With AT&T cruise package, you don’t need to worry about that as effectively the “Cellular at sea” network becomes your friend. 

Once connected, you can use your phone for calls, texting, and data, depending on the package you’ve chosen.

It’s important to understand that this service is not reliant on the ship’s Wi-Fi but rather its cellular network. This means you’re using a dedicated network for AT&T customers, ensuring a more consistent and reliable connection.

Port Cellular Networks Are Not Included

However, it’s very important to note that once the ship docks at a port, your device might switch to a local cellular network on land. This can be one of the Caribbean islands or any other destination the cruise stops at. 

When this happens, the AT&T Cruise Package rates WILL NOT APPLY, and you could incur standard international roaming charges unless you’ve have other international features activated on your phone.

AT&T offers their International Day Pass to get around this and this costs an additional $10 per day.

Monitor Data Usage Closely

To avoid unexpected charges, it’s a good practice to monitor your data usage and be aware of the network you’re connected to. If you wish to use the package continuously, ensure your phone settings prioritize the ship’s cellular service over local networks.

You can do this by going into your phone’s settings and switching Cellular network selection to Manual

For a seamless experience, it’s recommended to check compatibility before sailing. Ensure you have a compatible device with domestic wireless service.

If you’re unsure or need assistance, AT&T’s customer support is always available to guide you through the process.

Is the AT&T Cruise Ship Package as good as cruise ship Wi-Fi

The AT&T Cruise Ship Package and cruise ship Wi-Fi both offer ways to stay connected at sea, but they differ in operation, reliability, and cost.


The AT&T package uses the ship’s cellular network, connecting to satellites when the ship is within 12 nautical miles from the shore.  Theoretically this should be a stable reliable network.

In contrast, cruise ship Wi-Fi directly taps into satellite connections which can be under greater demand from your fellow cruise guests. Therefore it can occasionally be slower due to the heavy demands.

Some cruise lines are now using advanced satellite networks like Starlink for faster and more reliable Wi-Fi.  Although the costs for Starlink at Sea are much lower than traditional cruise satellite wi-fi, the cruise lines have shown no indication that they are going to lower Cruise Wi-Fi prices as a result. 

So while we have more stable wi-fi than we previously had – it’s still just as expensive.

Lower Cost

AT&T offers fixed rates, ensuring predictable costs. But the amount of data is very frugal. 

Calls vs Streaming

The AT&T package is ideal for calls and texts and occasional browsing. While ship Wi-Fi caters better for heavier users who also use streaming services for music and video.

In summary, if calls and texts are your priority, consider the AT&T package.

For high-speed internet or streaming, the ship’s Wi-Fi offerings, (especially on vessels using Starlink) will be better.

Picture of a Google Pixel Fold box sitting on top of an Apple Macbook laptop.
I’ve just switched from iPhone to the Google Pixel Fold

What are the limitations of the AT&T Cruise Package

The AT&T Cruise Package is a convenient way for travelers to stay connected while on their cruise journey. However, like all good things, it comes with its set of limitations, especially when it comes to data usage.

Data Allowance

The AT&T Cruise Plus package offers just 1GB of data, while the Cruise Basic provides a measly 100MB. While this might sound ample, modern online activities can quickly consume this allowance.

Streaming Movies is a No-No

Streaming a standard-definition movie can use up about 700MB to 1GB per hour. So, if you’re on the Cruise Plus package and decide to watch a movie, you might exhaust your entire data allowance with just one film.

On the Cruise Basic, even a short video clip could eat up a significant portion of your data.

Streaming Music Will Be Limited

Listening to music online can consume about 40-70MB per hour, depending on the quality. If you’re a music enthusiast, those hours of streaming can add up, especially on the Cruise Basic package.

Surfing the Internet

General browsing, checking emails, and using apps can vary in data usage. However, heavy web pages with lots of images or auto-playing videos can quickly use up data.

For instance, using apps or surfing the internet can consume anywhere from 60MB to several hundred MBs per hour.

Overage Costs Are Heavy

If you exceed your data allowance, overage rates apply. The package charges an extra cost of $10 for every additional 100MB used. So to add an extra 1GB of data would cost you another $100.

This can quickly add up if you’re not mindful of your data consumption.

It Doesn’t Work In Port

Once you are disconnected from the Ship’s Cellular at Sea connection, you are back in International Roaming territory, where costs are high. The AT&T cruise package does not cover for connections in International ports.

What Cruise Lines Does The AT&T Package Work On?

The following cruise lines support the AT&T Cruise Package:-

  • Azamara Club Cruises
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Celestyal Cruises
  • Cordelia Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Dream Cruises
  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
  • Hapag Lloyd Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Japan Grace Cruises
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Oceania Cruises
  • P & O Cruises
  • P & O Ferries
  • Princess Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea Cruise Line
  • Sky Sea Cruise Line
  • Star Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Windstar Cruises

What Is The International Day Pass and is it different from the cruise package?

AT&T International Day Pass

  • Purpose: For travelers in over 210 global destinations.
  • Cost: $10/day for unlimited data, talk, and text in included countries.
  • Coverage: Over 210 destinations, including 5G International in some areas.

AT&T Cruise Package

  • Purpose: Tailored for travelers on select cruise ships.
  • Cost: Two options – Basic at $60 and Plus at $100, both for 30 days.
  • Coverage: Over 175 cruise ships.


The International Day Pass is versatile for land-based international travel, while the Cruise Package is designed for the unique environment of cruise ships while actually at sea. 

What Are AT&T’s Pay-Per-Use Rates

If you don’t purchase an AT&T Cruise Package or AT&T International Day pass then their standard pay-per-use rates would apply. Just like any cellular network, these costs are heavy!

Talk Pay-Per-Use Rates

  • Canada and Mexico: $1/minute
  • Europe: $2/minute
  • Rest of the world, cruise ships, and airlines: $3/minute

Text  Pay-Per-Use Rates

  • Sending texts: $0.50/message
  • Sending pictures and videos: $1.30/message

Data  Pay-Per-Use Rates

  • Land, cruise ships, and AeroMobile® (select international flights): $2.05/MB
  • Airlines: $10.24/MB

It’s essential to note that data usage is calculated in full kilobyte increments and rounded up to the next full kilobyte increment.

Always be aware of your data consumption, especially when streaming or using data-intensive applications.

To Buy or Not to Buy: The AT&T Cruise Package Dilemma

When considering the AT&T Cruise Package for your next cruise, it’s essential to weigh the benefits against the potential drawbacks.


  • Tailored for Cruisers: Designed specifically for cruise enthusiasts whose key focus is using your cell phone for talk and texting, ensuring connectivity without the usual exorbitant costs of data roaming in International waters.
  • Simplicity: With just two main packages, AT&T keeps it straightforward for users to choose based on their needs.
  • Fixed Rate for 30 days: Predictable costs without daily renewals, making budgeting for your trip easier.
  • Coverage: The package covers over 175 cruise ships, offering a wide range of options for cruisers with good quality of coverage.
  • Separate from Ship’s Wi-Fi: Uses the ship’s cellular network, often providing a more consistent connection.


  • Limited Data: Especially for modern online activities, the data allowance can be quickly consumed.
  • Port Limitations: Once docked, the package doesn’t cover connections, potentially leading to high international roaming charges.
  • Overage Costs: Exceeding data limits can result in hefty additional charges.
  • Not Ideal for Heavy Streamers: Those looking to stream movies or music will find the data allowance restrictive.

Final Thoughts on How To Stay Connected

The AT&T Cruise Package is a good option for those who prioritize calls and texts and occasional browsing.

However, if you’re a heavy data user or plan to stream a lot, it might be worth considering the standard cruise Wi-Fi service or being prepared for additional overage costs. 

As with any package, understanding your own needs and usage habits is key to making the best choice for your cruise experience.

Are You Now Reconsidering Cruise Ship Wi-Fi?

Want to know more about the cruise line wi-fi options? We have a detailed guide on Carnival Cruise Wi-Fi and we also look at the in and outs of whether Royal Caribbean WiFi Cost is worth it or not.

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Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for CruiseNonstop.com you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

3 thoughts on “What is The Cellular AT&T Cruise Package and Is It Worth It For Your Next Cruise?”

  1. I just spent a week on the Norwegian Encore in the Caribbean. Went out of Miama, Dominican, St Thomas, Tortola and we were supposed to stop at Bahamas but we skipped it because of weather. I had the ATT $100 plan and the international roaming plan for the islands. The ATT Cruise data plan worked about 50% or less of the time. Most calls would not go through and the data and texting did not work consistently. I checked with ATT and I used 106mb, 1/10th of the data. They will be refunding it because it obviously did not work. The international roaming worked great! We could call, text and usually stream video when on the islands. Video calls were good too. It may just be an issue with that part of the sea, not sure. The cruise package gave us 150 minutes of wi-fi and that was enough while we were on the ship to do what we needed to do for searching etc.

  2. I recently traveled Australia to and from New Zealand on Celebrity Edge having bought the $100 cruise plus package and arranging International Day Pass for days at Port. The cruise plus connects via Cellular At Sea when away drom land. This signal was uneven thru the ship often toggling on and off. Every time this signal went off then on, I had to reset network settings on the phone then reestablish cellular roaming and restore noninternet ship wifi to use their app(per advice received from ATT tech support when they tired of my calls) and about 80% or more of the time, no service at all. Lack of service at sea forced me to use more Day Paes service when at port. AT&T reimbursement of that disaster was dismal. Impromptly dropped ATT on arrival back home as a bad memory.


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