Using your cell phone on a cruise ship costs a fortune. It can also be a distraction from your trip if you are constantly bombarded with emails, texts, and social media notifications. However, it can be easy to get separated from your group members while onboard. If you are going on a cruise with your family or friends, you will need a way to keep in touch with them.
Whether you want a way to stay in touch in case of an emergency or just want to meet up for certain activities, having a way to communicate is essential. Unless you plan on sending smoke signals or a message in a bottle, check out these walkie-talkies for a cruise ship that will keep you connected in an affordable, non-distracting way.
Best Walkie-Talkies to Take on a Cruise: Reviews
1. Midland Walkie-Talkie Set – Editor’s choice
These two-way radios from Midland have a shocking 30-mile communication radius! While you don’t need this type of range on board the ship, this extra distance may come in handy during land excursions if you are going to a place where your cell phone won’t work.
Another astonishing feature about these radios is that they can pick up NOAA weather updates. Staying in the know about incoming storms is very important while onboard any watercraft. You will be able to alert other members of your group if bad weather is going to strike.
Keep in mind that the 30-mile radius only works under the condition that there are no obstructions.
The best part about this set is the ability to hear the weather. Some users have reported crystal clear sound up to ten miles away. These are definitely a recommended option for any group who wants to stay connected while visiting port cities.
- You can tune into the weather, making them an invaluable tool to take on the cruise.
- The range is great, and the transmission stays clear with distance.
- “30-mile range” can be misleading
2. Retevis 2-Pack Walkie Talkie Set — Our Best Walkie-Talkie for Cruise (Editor’s Choice)
These walkie-talkies can be charged via USB. You can plug your radio into a portable charger or even your laptop if you are away from an outlet. The small, compact size of these walkie talkies makes them easy to carry. You can slip it right into your pocket or clip it onto your belt.
This model is certified by the FCC.
It’s hard to find a complaint with this set. Even the price point is exceptional, and users love the integrated, short antenna. The convenient charging options make it a great choice to take on a cruise.
- Multiple charging options
- The extra small size makes it easy to carry
- FCC approved
- 12-hour battery life
- No NOAA weather scan
3. Wishouse 2 Walkie Talkies for Kids – Best Walkie-Talkie for Cruise Ship Travel (People’s Choice)
The Wishouse is a walkie-talkie for anyone that likes durability and range. As for the strength of the design, you’ve likely never seen one at this cost before. The exterior is water-resistant and will not break when used in the rain. You shouldn’t get it too wet, but small droplets aren’t able to stop you from using the radio. Distance is specified at about three miles when over the water, which is great if you’re going on a cruise or other boat.
You’ll be able to meet up with family quickly this way, especially since cellular phones aren’t likely to work in such a location. That doesn’t mean that things will hold up if you were to place it in a that has walls of concrete. But the average indoor setting wouldn’t diminish the signal by a high degree. In short, the radio won’t lose its signal when you’re walking around places with a lot of buildings, so definitely consider this as your go-to walkie-talkie when anticipating an upcoming vacation.
- The frame is water-resistant, along with speakers.
- It has a distance of up to 3.10 miles over water.
- It doesn’t lose signal when moving inside large buildings.
- Some clipping may be heard when the volume is high.
4. Ansoko Long-Range Walkie-Talkies – Best Value
Ansoko’s Ultra High-Frequency two-way radio will keep you connected no matter how big the cruise ship is. It has a three-mile radius, and this set is a four-pack! You even get a flashlight included on each walkie-talkie to light up your path or send a signal. The ultra-high-frequency radio waves can cut through wood, walls, and even concrete.
The long battery life and portability of this model make it an excellent choice to take on a cruise. You won’t have to constantly run back to your cabin to recharge. You can easily fit the radio into your purse or back pocket, so you don’t have to hold it all day.
It can be difficult to order spare batteries, so recharging the device when it’s not in use is the best way to ensure you have a way to communicate at all times.
Overall, this set will work great on the cruise. It can’t penetrate through metal walls, which may be an issue in some spots on the ship. However, it is recommended for use on a cruise ship. Due to the excellent value and transmission range, we recommend this set.
- Lightweight and portable
- Long-lasting battery
- Covers a long distance
- Excellent value for the price
- Hard to get a spare battery
- Not waterproof
5. Galwad Walkie-Talkie Two-Piece Set – Best Accessories
Galwad offers this set of two walkie-talkies at a reasonable price point and throws in some extras. Each radio includes a lanyard, belt clip, and an earpiece. These extras are nice because they allow you to easily transport your radio around the cruise ship and have a private conversation without disrupting other passengers. This easy to use radio can reach a three-mile radius and can transmit through 20 floors.
A nice feature about this radio is that it is equipped with a low-battery alarm to warm you when you need to recharge. This is important because you can let other members of your group know that you are going to be out of power, so they don’t get worried.
Some users don’t like the way the earpiece fits in their ear. Depending on the shape and size of earpieces you are used to, the earpiece included with this set may not work for you. You can easily find a more suitable replacement online or in the store.
The overall performance of this walkie-talkie set is decent. You will be able to communicate just fine with your group onboard the cruise ship. These radios have a user-friendly interface for adults and children, making them an appropriate choice for each family member. We recommend these as an option for cruises because of the reasonable price point and battery-saving features.
- The low-battery indicator allows you to warn others before losing power
- Good accessories included for portability and privacy
- You may need to buy a different earpiece
6. Floureon Walkie-Talkies Set of Four – Best for Kids
This pack of four walkie-talkies is set at an excellent price point. If you are worried about handing your kids an expensive walkie out of fear it might be thrown overboard or smashed, this might be the set for you.
You may like that these are battery-powered if your children are old enough to know how to pop new batteries in when they lose power. As long as each group member always has a spare set of batteries, everyone will always be able to stay in touch. No recharge periods!
The power button and the button to change the channel are the same. This can cause the user to accidentally change the channel when powering down the device.
While this set might work just fine on a cruise, it isn’t the best way to spend your money. There are higher quality walkie-talkies out there at a similar price point that will likely last longer than these. The cost of operating these walkie-talkies is significantly higher because you have to keep buying batteries.
- Great for kids to play with without worrying about them breaking an expensive radio
- It May not last long, depending on the quality of the batteries you use
7. Floureon Long Range Walkie-Talkies – Great Usability at Night
This set includes four LCD backlit walkie-talkies. Each radio is equipped with an LED torch to light up dark spaces and signal your group members. The radios are compact and easily clip onto your belt.
A great feature about these walkie-talkies is that they automatically mute any background noise for crystal clear communication.
Like the other walkie-talkies from Floureon, this set only runs on AAA batteries. It is not rechargeable and replacement batteries must be kept on hand. However, the radios are equipped with a low-battery indicator.
Users praise this product for its usability on cruise ships. Therefore, we highly recommend this set for you and your family to take on your next cruise. With a range of about three miles, you should be able to stay in touch with your fellow group members just fine.
- Built-in flashlight
- LCD backlight for easy use at night
- Automatically tunes out background noise
- NOT rechargeable
8. Greaval Walkie-Talkies – Best Battery Life
You can use these walkies talkies for up to 12 hours without losing power. If you and your group members have a long day planned, this may be a good choice for you.
There is an earpiece included for each radio, but you may want to purchase your own if it doesn’t fit comfortably.
Some users have reported broken radios and charging docks; however, the manufacturer promptly replaced the damaged items.
Overall, the range and clarity of these walkie-talkies make them acceptable to take on a cruise. They come in a four-pack, so they are affordable.
- Long-lasting battery
- Excellent customer service
- You should order this well ahead of your cruise to ensure everything works properly.
9. Midland Walkie-Talkies – Best Professional Walkie-Talkie
There are 50 General Mobile channels available on these walkie-talkies. This model has access to NOAA weather updates and can reach a 36-mile range.
The best feature about this set is that they are waterproof. You don’t have to worry about taking your walkie-talkie to the pool or accidentally getting splashed with ocean spray.
This model may be too advanced for some users, especially kids. Extra features like privacy codes and eVOX may be difficult for some people to learn.
This model is recommended for cruises because they are waterproof and can access important weather updates. Extra technologies and features cause this set of two to fall in at a similar price point to a set of four. Depending on how advanced you want your walkie-talkies to be, you may not mind paying a higher price to get more features.
- NOAA Weather Scan
- Hands-free talk
- Advanced features may make this set difficult to use for some.
10. Retevis Pack of 10 Walkie-Talkies – Most Bang for Your Buck
This set is ideal for large groups. This version is license-free, so you and your group members don’t have to scramble to get a special permit to use these on your cruise.
The model is equipped with voice scrambling and VOX functions for privacy and ease of use.
There are no earpieces included with these walkie-talkies.
Overall, this would be great to take on a cruise. The battery life, connection, and range are exceptional, and you can communicate clearly with your group members in this unit.
- No license required
- Privacy and hands-free function
- Plugs are NOT included
Best Walkie-Talkies for Cruise Buyer’s Guide
Before you decide which walkie-talkies to purchase for your cruise, read over this buyer’s guide for an explanation of licensing, terms and technologies, and other factors to consider.
This aspect of choosing walkie-talkies can be very intimidating. The only walkie-talkies you do not need a special license to operate are ones labeled as Family Radio Service (FRS) only. Any walkie-talkies that have access to General Mobile Radio Service channels (GMRS) technically require the user to obtain a license from the FCC.
If you have never used a walkie-talkie before, the associated terms can be confusing. Technologies like squelch, VOX, and privacy codes aren’t exactly common knowledge. Here is a quick guide to understanding these terms to make an educated purchase.
Squelch: Squelch prevents that annoying fuzzy sound from being transmitted when no one is talking. The squelch threshold is preset on some models.
VOX: Many modern models are equipped with Voice Operated Exchange. This simply means that you don’t have to push a talk button when you want to say something to your group members. The sound sensor simply turns on the transmitter when you talk loud enough.
Privacy Codes: Walkie-talkies operate on radio frequencies called channels. If another walkie-talkie user is on the same channel, you can encounter interference from their conversation. There are two types of coding that can protect your privacy. The two filtering systems are the continuous tone-coded squelch system (CTCSS) and the digital-coded squelch (DCS).
Channel Scan: This feature allows your walkie-talkie to continuously scan through the channels. It will stop automatically when it receives a transmission, and you will hear what is being said on that channel.
NOAA Weather Scan: This is an invaluable tool to have while on a ship. NOAA broadcasts on channels available to 95% of the United States. Transmitters can reach a 40-mile radius and continuously broadcast the latest weather updates in detail.
Factors to Consider
You may also want to consider the following when selecting a walkie talkie set for your cruise:
- Is it waterproof?
- Is it rechargeable, or does it require batteries?
- Does it come with all the necessary items? (Plugs, batteries, etc.)
- Can everyone in your group learn to use it easily?
- Does it require a license?
The waterproof feature will come in handy on a cruise. Even if you don’t plan on going to the pool, you never know when a bit of ocean spray will hit you or if someone will knock their drink over. Better safe than sorry.
Rechargeable Walkie-talkies VS Battery-Powered
Whether you choose a rechargeable or battery-powered model is based on personal preference. Battery-operated models may be inconvenient for a cruise if you don’t have a place to buy more batteries.
Some models sets exclude things like charging cords and batteries. You will want to note any extra expenses like these when considering the value of each set you look at.
Advanced technologies and extra features may make it hard for kids to use walkie-talkies. Everyone in the group should know how to operate the walkie-talkies before going their separate ways.
As mentioned before, some models will require a license. This can not be stressed enough. You must either choose a set that doesn’t require a license (FRS) or obtain the proper license before using the walkie-talkies.
With all of these factors considered and the terms and technology explained, you should be able to choose a set of walkie-talkies that best suits you and your group members’ needs and abilities.
Walkie-Talkies have come a long way since their invention in 1937. New technologies on the horizon have tried to copy the push-to-talk feature. A service called WAVE Connections was tested by Marc Weber Tobias, a Forbes contributor, during his travels across Europe.
Tobias explains that this technology is far more sophisticated than any walkie-talkie app available. The ability to push a button and instantly communicate with another person is invaluable, especially if you find yourself in a pickle with no cell service.
However, further research of this technology was practically a dead-end search. With little information available, let alone a place to download the technology from, it looks like “old-fashioned” walkie-talkies are here to stay for a while. Out of this round-up, one clear winner is the best choice to take on your next cruise.
Our Best Choice
The price was the first thing that was considered in choosing the best walkie-talkie for a cruise. With so many other expenses that come with taking a cruise, the last thing you want to spend big money on is a radio. The set from Retevis comes with two walkie-talkies at an unbeatable price point. The pack of ten was also considered for its amazing price value, but most groups aren’t big enough to justify a set that large.
The next factor considered in this choice was the value. The Retevis walkie-talkies give you a lot of bang for your buck. They are durable, and they cover a range of up to three miles, an ample reach for a cruise ship. Midland walkie-talkies were also considered for their great range, but you won’t need a 36-mile range on a ship. This set of two includes everything you need in one package.
The Retevis walkie-talkies aren’t the most high-tech. You don’t get the LCD screen, but you get VOX, a flashlight, and privacy filtering. The Retevis is intuitive, has a great battery life, and even includes an emergency alarm. They are USB compatible, so they can be charged on the go with a portable charger or while you are using your laptop.
The walkie-talkies from Retevis are also one of the most portable designs. The Ansoko walkie-talkies were also considered for their portability. Excluding the antenna, the Ansoko walkie-talkies are about the size of a credit card in height. If portability is your number one priority, the Retevis is a great choice because it uses an integrated antenna, making it the shortest and thinnest design.
The best part about these walkie-talkies is that you don’t need a license to operate them! They still rank at the top with so many factors considered, such as price, value, and usability. If you are going on a cruise with one other person, this is probably the best choice.
They are advanced enough to work well onboard a giant metal ship, and they have a battery life that will provide you with a way to communicate throughout your daily activities on your cruise. If you want a cost-effective, mid-range walkie-talkie for your next cruise, the set of two from Retevis is highly recommended.