It is my understanding that you will still be paying the ship phone charges if you using a basic international phone card from your cabin. So you are paying for the card up front as well as every minute you are on the cabin phone from the first ring.
Some ships(not sure about NCL) might sell a ship to shore phone card that might be only used at a pay phone in port.
Some pay as you go phones do have an international rate/plans, might be worth looking into. Regardless, a quick "hello can you hear me now" conversation will cost 2.50.
Even the e-mail (sea-mail) is going to be expensive (and time consuming). Figure on between 55 and 75 cents per minute, with a really slow connect speed.
The folks back home will handle any "problems" that come up, without your input. Will they make the exact decision you would? Probably not. Will they adapt and overcome on their own? You betcha'. If there is an on-going problem that is so monumental that you, and only you, must be actively involved in handling it ... then stay home and cruise at some other time.
When you get on the ship, turn off and put away your cell phone. Spend your time doing any of the hundreds of on-board activities, instead of burrying your nose in a computer. Give those at home and work the phone number for the ship and your cabin number, and let them pay for the shore-to-ship charges, only to hear you tell them, "Sorry, but I'm a hundred miles out to sea. I can't get off the ship until the day after tomorrow. And I don't have $2,500 readily available to pay for a flight home to handle that problem. You'll have to do the best you can, or leave it until I return next week. Good-bye."
Real life example - Last cruise (a month ago) a medical problem came up with the daughter-in-law back in Arizona. SunFlower found out when she spent $75 for a block of internet time (of which she only used $47 - the rest was not used and was non refundable). She called DS. Three days after the fact. Did DS and DIL handle it? Yes. Without our help? Yes. Could we have done anything, even if we had known earlier? No. $75 for internet. $97 for an 8 minute ship-to-shore. And nothing was accomplished that hadn't already been done without our input ....
Thanks for the advise...I talked to my cell phone company and they don't allow out of country calls....It will be fine at home...I'm sure..just paranoid because they are only 4 and 2...I'm just being a mommie. LOL
We're booked on NCL's Pearl for the Alaska Cruise in July. We were told we can use our AT&T cell phones and we will go through the ship's communication system automatically when we turn them on. Charges are 2.49 a minute (AT&T charges us directly) but when we're in port, the ship's system is turned off and all calls are charged as regular cell phone calls. In our case we have nationwide calling with unlimited minutes. Whatever cell service you use will still go through the ships communication system automatically, when you turn it on. We booked the Garden Villa Suite and the ship's internet wifi is free.