Following a trend initiated by Norwegian Cruise Line, guests aboard Holland America ships will soon be able to use their cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDA's) to stay in touch with land-locked friends and family.
Currently available on Volendam, the service will be operational fleetwide by March 2007. Whether in Canada, the Caribbean or Europe, passengers will simply make and receive calls and use text messaging as they would while driving or gossiping loudly in public. Besides activating their phones and PDA's for international dialing with a home provider, no additional changes
-- inputting codes, adding software -- are needed. International roaming fees apply to all shipboard cell phone usage; charges will appear on the guest's personal cell phone bill.
Implementation of cell phone usage on cruise ships has been met with some controversy -- amongst folks who go on cruises to disconnect and those who want to stay in touch at all times.