One of the concerns I had when sailing with my family was how I would keep in touch with others. A cruise ship is no small place, and one can easily get lost. Staying together becomes a pain if you are traveling as a group.
Since cruise ship WiFi is too expensive, messaging via the phone wasn’t a choice for us.
This is where walkie-talkie for cruise ships comes into play. I never thought of using a walkie-talkie until researching how to keep in touch with others on the sea.
A walkie-talkie is the most affordable and easy way to communicate inside the cruise ship. You don’t have to pay expensive WiFi bills to message others from your phone.
When it comes to using a walkie-talkie on a cruise ship, you need to consider many things. Firstly, you cannot blindly buy and use any walkie-talkie on every cruise ship. Usage of some specific types of walkie-talkies is illegal, and you could end up breaking the law.
So to make things easier, you will find everything you need to know about using a walkie-talkie on a cruise ship, including the best walkie-talkie for cruise ships, whether it is legal to use walkie-talkie on a cruise ship, what type of walkie-talkie to use and finally, tips on using a walkie-talkie for communication inside a cruise ship.
Are Walkie-talkies Allowed On Cruise Ships?
Walkie-talkies are generally allowed on a cruise ship. But not all walkie-walkies are permitted. Most FRS walkie-talkies should be good to go. Each cruise line has its own set of regulations when it comes to using walkies-talkies or two-way radios on board.
A simple yes or no won’t answer the question sufficiently.
Generally speaking, walkie-talkies are allowed on a cruise ship, but the type, the tech it uses, the cruise line, the country, etc., also matter.
Leading cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, etc, do not prohibit carrying walkie-talkie onboard.
In fact, you won’t find any mention of walkie-talkies on the list of prohibited or banned items to carry on cruise ships.
If you go through Royal Carribean’s website, they only allow you to carry FRS or GMRS two-way radio/walkie-takie. Furthermore, it should have an explicit ship mode setting as well.
Depending on the watt, antenna, etc., certain restrictions may apply, too.
So mostly, you are safe to go with a walkie-talkie.
To find the specific guideline for each cruise line, I recommend you go through their website once and see what items are prohibited and what is allowed.
Do Walkie-Talkies Work on a Cruise Ship
Walkie-talkies work best if used in the open air or in a place with few obstacles. It would be best if both parties were outside their cabin and better if they were in sight. Since walkie-talkies permitted on a cruise cannot fully penetrate through walls, they should be used on the deck.
As you may already know, most cruise ships are made of steel and metal. And they can easily interfere with or block low-frequency radio signals produced by walkie-talkies.
So using a walkie-talkie inside the cabin won’t be the best idea. A walkie-talkie may or may not work inside the cabin, but you will find it difficult to hear the other person.
Certain types of UHF (Ultra High Frequency) walkie-talkies can penetrate obstacles like walls to establish a connection. But these types of walkie-talkies are generally prohibited on cruise ships, and you cannot bring them on board.
In short, walkie-talkies should work reasonably well if used outside the cabin.
What Type Of Walkie-Talkie To Use On A Cruise Ship?
Both FRS and GMRS types of walkie-talkies will work on a cruise ship. But, depending on the cruise line, certain types like GMRS are prohibited. FRS is allowed on most cruise ships. But GMRS has better quality audio and signal than FRS.
If you are new to the whole walkie-talkie side of things, it can be quite confusing to understand many technical terms and what each type of walkie-talkie does differently.
For starters, below are the two types of walkie-talkies that are generally in use:
- FRS: FRS stands for Family Radio Service. It works on lower-frequency waves and uses less power bandwidth. Since the FRS frequencies are not used for any emergency services or by government, you should be mostly good to go with an FRS-type walkie-talkie on a cruise ship.
- GMRS: GMRS stands for General Mobile Radio Service. They work on higher frequencies, from 462 MHz to 467 MHz. Many governmental organizations use this range. So you should be careful when using these types of walkie-talkies. Furthermore, you need a license to keep and use GMRS walkie-talkies.
Now you know about FRS and GMRS.
Another two specifications of FRS are VHF and UHF.
VHF stands for Very High Frequency, and these walkie-talkies can work at longer ranges but mainly in the open air.
UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency, and these types of walkie-talkies can penetrate walls and other obstacles. So they work great indoors.
For indoor use, you need UHF, and for outdoor use, you need VHF.
Since there are many obstacles within the cruise ship, it is better to get a VHF FRS walkie-talkie for the best performance.
Best Walkie-Talkies For Cruise Ships
There are many different models of walkie-talkies suitable for different use. Depending on the type, tech, and use case, the perfect walkie-talkie is not the same for everyone.
Since there are a lot of limitations set by each cruise line, getting the perfect one is very crucial.
Below are some walkie-talkies that are a great fit for taking on a cruise trip.
If you are looking for an affordable walkie-talkie to take on your next cruise trip, the Retevis RT22 series may be the one for you.
Firstly, it is an affordable set of walkie-talkies that works well inside a cruise ship. The battery has a decent range that should easily last for many hours of continuous usage.
The design of the walkie-talkie is minimal, and the antenna is placed in such a way that it makes it easy to carry and store.
The belt clip helps you to easily hook it up on your bag strap.
Since this model has a hands-free mode, one can easily talk without pressing the button every time.
A total of 16 channels can be accessed using the Retevis RT22, performing decently well inside the ship.
The Retevis RT22 is an FRS two-way radio that does not require any license to use. So you can freely carry them anywhere.
As for charging, each walkie-talkie has a USB charging port and dedicated charging cable.
Do note that the Retevis RT22 does not come with a earpiece, but you can connect an external one.
NOAA 2 Way Radios Walkie Talkies 4 Pack
NOAA 2 way radio is a cheap walkie walkie that you can take on your next cruise trip. You have the option to select 3 pack, 4 pack, 5 pack, 6 pack or charging station with 2 pack.
All four walkie-talkie in the set comes in different colors. The build quality of the walkie-talkie is cheap. Even though it looks nice, it is not that durable as it is made of cheap plastic. So it would be best if you handled it with care.
This model is an FRS two-way walkie-talkie that works reasonably well on cruise ship decks and open spaces. The performance of the walkie-talkie goes down considerably inside the cabin. So, you can only use it on the deck properly.
An earpiece is attached to the walkie-talkie, letting you listen privately. It has got 22 channels.
As for charging, the entire set only has a single charger. So you will have to charge each walkie-talkie one after the other.
The walkie-talkie runs on four lithium polymer batteries. It is waterproof and weighs 1.9 pounds.
pxton Walkie Talkies
pxton Walkie Talkies is a set of 2 that also adds up as a flashlight.
If you are looking for an affordable walkie-talkie for cruise ships with good range then pxton Walkie Talkies is something you should consider. The walkie-talkie comes with 16 preset channels. You can jump from one channel to other by simply rotating the knob on the top.
The antenna of the walkie-talkie is a bit tall. Compared with other walkie-talkies in this article, it might not be that portable.
The wraparound earpieces ensure it does not fall off that easily. The build quality is not great but it can withstand drops from a few feets. Since it is a set of two, it is ideal for two people army rather than a group.
Each walkie-talkie comes with its charging dock, so each can be charged simultaneously.
VOX voice control, low battery alert, night flashlight, scanning option, etc, are a few other features.
Inside the box comes the walkie-talkie, charger, batteries, belt clip, earpieces, hand strap, and a user manual.
MOICO Walkie Talkies
MOICO walkie-talkies is an affordable set of 4 UHF walkie-talkies. If you are traveling as a group, you will need at least four walkie-talkies. MOICO may be the right choice for you as it is cheap compared to many other 4-set walkie-talkies.
This model is an FRS walkie-talkie with 22 FRS channels. The sound quality of the walkie-talkie is a bit of a concern for many. Since it is a cheap one, it works okayish in open spaces but struggles hard indoors. For the most part, the walkie-talkie won’t be able to communicate inside the cabin.
The walkie-talkie comes with 3 sensitivity levels for hands-free talking. It works best on open spaces with not so many obstacles.
If you want a 4-set walkie-talkie with decent performance, range, and okayish sound quality, you may consider the MOICO walkie-talkie.
Do note that AAA batteries and earpieces are not included in the box. If you need to listen privately, you must also buy an earpiece. The walkie-talkie has a port to connect external earpieces.
Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio
The Midland walkie-talkie is the only GMRS type walkie-talkie in the list. And as explained earlier, you need a license to use GMRS two-way radios.
Since many restrictions apply for GMRS walkie-talkies, you need to turn them off and not use them when on the port. The Midland GMRS walkie-talkie performs far better than the FRS ones discussed in this article.
The build quality of the walkie-talkie is good, and when you hold it in your hands, you get a rugged feeling. The antenna of the walkie-talkie is a bit taller than others on the list. Since it is a GMRS type walkie-talkie, it offers up to 36-mile range.
The Midland walkie-talkie performs well on decks and open spaces. Even if they are used from either end of the cruise ship, users can comfortably listen to each other.
This model comes with nine sensitivity levels for hands-free talking.
The box includes two walkie-talkies, 2 earpieces, batteries and a charger.
This walkie-talkie is a bit on the expensive side but works great among others. Do not forget about the license and other restrictions when using a GMRS walkie-talkie.
Furthermore, ensure your cruise line has no restriction on bringing a GMRS walkie-talkie onboard.
Which Is The Best Walkie-Talkie For Cruise Ships?
Overall, the best walkie-talkie for cruise ships is the Retevis RT22 model, which comes with good build quality and range, ease of use, and is lightweight. It comes in a pack of 6, making it ideal for large groups to stay in touch wherever on the cruise ship.
When selecting a walkie-talkie specifically for cruise ships, there are certain things you should consider.
- Range: The range is an important factor when it comes to selecting a walkie-talkie to use in a cruise ship. As you might already know, a cruise ship has a lot of steel and metal structure, so a great range means it can perform well.
- Battery Life: As you will be using your walkie-talkie for extended period of time, you will need to select one that has reasonably well battery life. A walkie-talkie for cruise ships should last for at least a day on a full charge.
- Walkie-talkie Type: If you want to freely carry and use your walkie-talkie throughout your cruise trip, you should consider getting an FRS-type. To use GMRS walkie-talkies, you need a license and you cannot use them while the ship is berthed on a port.
- The number of Channels: To avoid interference, your walkie-talkie should have a good number of different channels to choose from. It will be especially useful if your group have a large number of people.
- Additional features: An earpiece is nice to have if you want to listen privately, a torch light to use at night, weather radio, emergency radio alert, and more.
Should You Get A Walkie-Talkie For Cruise Ship?
There are multiple ways one can communicate with others. You may either choose to pay for WiFi and use any messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram or Instagram on your phone, use the cruise line’s exclusive messaging service, or stick a note on the cabin.
WiFi bills on cruise ships are generally costly. A good WiFi package on a cruise ship will cost you hundreds of dollars, depending on the package.
The best alternative to all of the above-mentioned forms of communication is to get a walkie-talkie. You can get a reasonably well-built and good-quality walkie-talkie with a good range for less than $25 apiece.
Furthermore, you can use the same set of walkie-talkies in your upcoming cruise, hiking, or even road trips.
So yeah, bringing a walkie-talkie onto a cruise ship is the best and cheap way to communicate with others in your group without leaving a hole in your pocket.
If you are planning to buy a new set of walkie-talkies, ensure you do at least a week before your cruise trip, so you will have enough time to learn how to use the walkie-talkie, try all the features it has to offer and test it’s range as well.
If you do not want to get a license to use the walkie-talkie, consider buying an FRS-type walkie-talkie. Using a GMRS walkie-talkie has many benefits, but you will have to obtain a license, and there are many restrictions that applies when using it onboard. In many ports, you will have to actually turn it off.
If you do not want to pay for expensive WiFi on the cruise trip, walkie-talkies are the perfect alternative to keep in touch with people onboard.