Crime: Tips for making phone calls and surfing while cruising

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A new mobile freedom has recently come into being for holidays within the European Union. Thanks to the abolition of roaming charges , travelers abroad can make calls and surf on the same terms as at home. On the high seas, however, there are very different rules when using cell phones, tablets and laptops. Many vacationers do not want to do without the usual access to the Internet even during the increasingly popular cruises - be it to share holiday photos, send e-mails, stay active in social networks or watch films via stream.

Telefonieren und Surfen während der Kreuzfahrt © Thinkstock Calling and surfing during the cruise

In general, caution should be exercised when using mobile data during the cruise. Regulations that protect consumers only apply on land. In addition to the elimination of roaming charges, this also applies, for example, to capping the costs for mobile data use. This so-called cost airbag usually means that the cell phone connection is automatically cut when costs of 59.50 euros are reached. Not so on the high seas.

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Sometimes exorbitant costs

Let's put it this way: On the open sea, there are very different rules when it comes to mobile voice and data traffic. Most cruise liners now have a mobile network. To do this, the ship's system is connected to the base station of a mobile phone provider on land by satellite. In order for the traveler to be able to use the usual offers on the high seas, there must be a roaming agreement between his mobile operator and the operator of the satellite network. Depending on the agreed conditions, the costs for the customer fluctuate.

In any case, those involved can afford to pay dearly for these so-called maritime services for mobile connections. A consumer protection center warns that a megabyte can cost up to 30 euros. This small amount of data is just enough, for example, to send 20 emails without a photo attachment or to open five websites. Anyone who calls at home using a cell phone also has to dig deep into their pockets. Depending on the provider, between three and seven euros per minute may be charged. Incoming calls also cost up to seven euros per minute of call. The classic SMS is comparatively “cheap”. It costs between 40 cents and 1.50 euros.

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Avoid online banking on the high seas

If you do not want to do without the use of the Internet on board, you should inform yourself about the ship's own WLAN offers. There are often special packages that can be booked before departure. For example, they range from minute-by-minute billing for little surfers to large data volumes at a fixed price. Before starting their vacation, travelers should find out exactly what the costs and conditions are from the shipping company and their mobile operator.

For example, the question of what happens when a booked data package is used up is also important. If the connection continues to go unnoticed on the same terms, there can quickly be a nasty surprise at the final billing. The general rule is: With open WLAN networks, increased caution is required when handling personal data. For example, online banking should be avoided if possible.

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The consumer centers still have these special saving tips ready:

* If you only want to check e-mails once in a while, you can simply visit a café, hotel or restaurant with a free WiFi hotspot when you go ashore.

* For longer stays ashore in the same country, the purchase of local prepaid cards can be worthwhile.

* If the ship is near the coast, the cheaper mobile network of the local provider can sometimes be used on land.

* Do you think the roaming costs stated in the mobile phone bill are too high? Customers can generally object to certain claims within eight weeks of receipt; the provider's SMS on the roaming costs should be kept for evidence

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By Jonathan Berg

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