Cell Phones on Deck
By Krysten Crawford

(Business 2.0) - Cruisers, rejoice: That stateroom telephone will no longer rob you blind. This year several top cruise lines--including Carnival (Research), Celebrity, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean (Research)--are rolling out new cell-phone services, allowing passengers to use their own phones and numbers. All at bearable rates: $2 to $5 per minute for most voice calls, which is far less than in-cabin fees. The company with the biggest upside, though, is Wireless Maritime Services, a Florida startup (partly owned by Cingular Wireless) that outfits ships with base stations that act as conduits between users, satellites, and cell towers. Another new marine cellular vendor, SeaMobile, recently signed up its first customers, Silversea and Oceania. Coming soon to all ports of call: rest, relaxation, and ringtones. Top of page

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