Disney Cruise Line to launch Wave Phone service in December
by, 11-17-2010 at 02:17 PM (5902 Views)
Disney will offer guests the use of "Portable Wave Phones" on board the ships of the Disney Cruise Line starting in December (December 16th on the Disney Wonder; December 18th on the Disney Magic.) The portable phones can send and receive phone calls and text messages from other Wave phones when used on board the ship or on Castaway Cay. The phones do not work off the ship, and are it doesn't sound like they can work with other carriers - you can use the device to call other Wave Phones on Disney's network, but not to call home.
Each stateroom will come equipped with two of the phones; concierge staterooms come with four phones. There is currently no charge to use the service, but you can rent additional units for $3.50 per unit per day if you need more than come with your room. There is a $250 charge per unit if they are lost / stolen / damaged, so that's something to consider before handing them to your pool-bound kids.
Disney is planning to use these phones to replace the pager system currently used by the Youth Activities department, which means that one parent/guardian must carry the unit at all times. If you don't have kids in Youth Programming and you don't want to use the phones, you can turn them in and Disney will turn off the service for your stateroom for the cruise.
As with most things there are going to be people who are thrilled with this new service, and those who will grumble that it will take some of the magic away from the cruise environment. Having just experienced a situation where we couldn't find one member of our party during our recent cruise, I know that we would have been grateful to have had access to one of these phones.
That said, part of the appeal of cruising for me is that I'm not "connected" 100% of the time like I tend to be at home. I once locked my husband's Blackberry in the room safe because he wouldn't stop checking his work e-mail during a trip, and this is just one more intrusion of technology into our vacation. I also dread the inevitable interruptions during shows or in the restaurants by someone who "forgot" to turn their phone to silent, or who has decided to have a long conversation during dinner. I do hope Disney implements a NO PHONES rule for the dining rooms, and reminds people to set them to silent before the stage shows.