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SIM cards etc for 17 day Cruise from Dubai to Singapore

I know the information is there and I hate to clog up another thread with this subject but it is very confusing. So if someone could treat me like a third grader and show me how to do this or tell me what my best option is that would be great.

I know some people might say you just need to relax and enjoy your vacation. But with the flexibility of what I do for a living allows me to be anywhere in the world for long periods of time so long as I can connect with people every couple days ago at least.

So, at least for my phone I would like to have some pretty good internet capability is since I can do most everything with email and logging into my management system directly from my phone. The wife doesn't necessarily need it as badly. Just phone and text for her but she tends to just shut her phone off most of the time. I cannot

Wife and i have Verizon service. in the past we've always just done their international travel package. This time I want to try something different and not have to worry as much. We do already have WhatsApp and intend to use that but I'm thinking maybe trying a SIM card would be advantageous.

So, our cruise starts in Dubai and ends up in Singapore while going to the following places over a 17 day period:

Dubai (coming in 3 days early)
Abu Dhabi
Goa India
Sri Lanka
Phuket Thailand
Penang Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur

Again, I don't understand exactly how a SIM card works in conjunction with my phone. We have Samsung galaxys. Mine's a s9 plus I believe hers is an S7.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

  1. How exactly does the SIM card work with my phone and what is it do for me
  2. I need internet capability plus phone and text
Posted by
1553 posts

I doubt there is one SIM card that would cover that many countries (it does in Europe because of the EU). Your best bet may be using you phone provider's international plan. Usually they are expensive, but in this case, they could be the most reasonable alternative.

Posted by
4663 posts

I agree that over that wide an area, and with so many unconnected countries, a new SIM card is unlikely to provide the coverage you need at a low price. Look at your own provider's international plan.

To reduce your phone costs ( phone/text/data), consider using the ship's wifi as much as possible. It's usually not free, but you could use it for all your internet work, as well as email, messaging with WhatsApp, and calling via Skype. Just put your phone in airplane mode and then turn on wifi only, except for those times you need to make a phone call using your phone plan. To reduce data charges, turn any nonessential apps off so you don't run up charges with automatic updates every time you take the phone off airplane mode.

Posted by
294 posts

Vick Vega- I have no answer to your questions but oh boy! I would love to know more about your cruise! Who is the company, ship, etc. And where did you book this through? I have never seen a cruise of that kind advertised and would love some info, even just for fun and Googling!! Good luck with your actual questions!

Posted by
4431 posts

If you were in Europe, a sim card might work for you if you needed to make local phone calls, or calls within the countries in the same region (there seems to be multi country cellular zones making sim calls cheap). But for your purposes, I don't think it has value. You would need one for each country, it gives you a local phone number and calling rates, but that doesn't help with email,or wifi. A sim also means you can't receive incoming calls or texts to your normal phone number.

Posted by
2260 posts

To answer your question directly, a SIM card is a tiny chip inside your phone that tells the cellular network what company you use and what your phone number is. It's like a calling card - I'm Vick, I use Verizon, my number is XYZ - so you get hooked up to the right cellular network and the company knows to track your usage. If you get a SIM card in another country, it provides a new identity to the cellular network - I'm , I use and my number is . To change SIM cards your phones must be "unlocked" by Verizon - essentially get permission to remove your SIM be someone else for awhile. If not unlocked, the phone won't work with a different SIM. I'm not aware of any multi-country SIM card that will cover the list of countries you're going to - but it's possible you would need to buy a new SIM in each port, and each one will require setting up. I'd personally consider that quite a hassle.

Here's the twist, all of that info applies only on land. Since you will be on a cruise ship, there are TOTALLY different rules for cellular on ship. You will have to check what Verizon says about what services they offer on board. My folks are going on a Holland America cruise, which has a relationship with AT&T. On-ship plan for unlimited talk/text and 250 MB data is $100 for 30 days. The plan also covers on land calls for a few countries (but not all that they are visiting). Wifi on ship must be purchased separately - ranging from $55 for 100 minutes to $250 for 1000 minutes.

Cruise sounds amazing though - I hope you find something that works for you!

Posted by
4431 posts

@Judy, I decided to google to see if I could find out. Looks like it is NCL. When looking, it seems Cruise Critic lists cruises between specific ports. Several lines do Dubai to Singapore ofren as a repositioning cruise, or as a round the world segment. 2 cruise lines that offer exotic (to North Americans) itineraries are Costa Cruises and MSC. Both are European lines.

Posted by
343 posts

Thanks for the replies. The SIM answers are very helpful.

Yes , Norwegian Cruise line is the ship. We love them. Thank God for the drink package!

Posted by
32155 posts


First of all, some information on SIM cards. The letters stand for Subscriber Identity Module and refer to the small integrated circuit chip that is used in most phones these days. This contains the number of your phone and the International Mobile Subscriber Identity number that details which network your phone is with, etc. When your phone is first turned on (and periodically thereafter), this data is transmitted to the cell network to verify that the phone is attached to an authorized account.

The easiest solution would be to simply use the Verizon service that you've used in the past. That should provide roaming in all the countries you've mentioned but you'll have to check with Verizon to determine the cost, which may vary between country.

In order to use another SIM card in your phones, these must be unlocked. Verizon phones may be unlocked when sold (I didn't check). Note that when you change SIM cards, the phone number and terms of service will change. In terms of using another SIM card, there's no guarantee this will be any cheaper than Verizon service. You could have a look at......

SIM's with voice & text don't often have a generous data capability, but there are data-only SIM's. You'll have to do the number crunching to see whether one of these might work for you.

As you may be aware, cellular service on cruise ships is usually expensive. If the cruise line offers WiFi, you may want to leave cellular "off" and use only WiFi. You may find this helpful (scroll down to the "Cruise Ship Rates" section) - .

You may find this helpful - .

FWIW, I've used other SIM cards in the past and always found this method a bit "awkward". On more recent trips I simply use international roaming with my home cell network. It's a bit pricey at $12/day (maximum of 15 days charged per billing cycle) but in the overall cost of a European holiday, it's not a big deal. However that situation would be far different if I were taking a cruise, as my home network only offers pay-per-use pricing on cruise ships, at $4.00 per minute $15/MB of data. That would be prohibitively expense so I'm glad I don't take cruises.

Good luck!