Walkie Talkie On Cruise Ship: Are They Allowed? Which Is The Best?!

Cruise vacations offer a unique blend of relaxation, entertainment, and exploration. However, staying connected on these floating resorts can be a challenge, especially given the high cost of onboard Wi-Fi.

Many travelers consider alternative communication tools, with walkie-talkies emerging as a popular choice.

If you want to save some money, but want to break sure you don’t break any rules while at sea… We’ve got you covered.

Walkie Talkie on Cruise Ships

Are Walkie-Talkies Allowed on Cruise Ships?

Generally speaking, many cruise lines do allow passengers to bring and use walkie-talkies on board. Major cruise lines like Carnival, Disney Cruise Line, Princess, and Royal Caribbean don’t include walkie-talkies in their banned items list. NCL, however, doesn’t allow them.

That’s why it’s important to check the specific guidelines of the cruise line you’re traveling with.

Also, they must be FRS walkie talkies, not those used to broadcast beyond the cruise ship.

While some cruise lines are more lenient, others may have restrictions on frequency and power to ensure that passengers’ devices don’t interfere with ship operations.

That said, even if walkie-talkies are permitted, passengers should be conscious of their surroundings. Using them in quiet areas or late at night can be disruptive to other guests.

Also, while walkie-talkies can be handy, cruise ships are increasingly offering onboard apps, wifi, and services that allow passengers to message each other using smartphones.

Also, you’ll want to avoid using walkie-talkies while docked at a port. Accidentally accessing a local security or safety frequency could be illegal in that country.

Should You Bring Walkie-Talkies on a Cruise?

If you and your group plan on doing various activities separate and are hesitant about splurging on onboard Wi-Fi, walkie-talkies might be your best bet.

While modern communication apps like WhatsApp or Messenger offer seamless chatting, they rely on Wi-Fi, which can be quite pricey on a cruise.

Often, passengers might find themselves shelling out a considerable amount for an entire trip package.

Sure, some cruise lines grant access to their apps, which can include messaging features. Yet, there’s a catch. These might not be free and can sometimes be inefficient, requiring frequent log-ins to check for messages.

A quirky but less practical method some cruisers use is leaving post-it notes in cabins. While charming, this method requires regular cabin visits, which might not be ideal.

This is where walkie-talkies shine. They offer real-time communication without the need for Internet or returning to your room.

But, and it’s a significant ‘but,’ always be mindful while using them. No one wants their relaxation interrupted by blaring walkie-talkie chatter. To ensure you’re not that person, keep the volume low.

Better yet, invest in a walkie-talkie with an earpiece, letting you converse without broadcasting your discussion to everyone within earshot.

Do Walkie-Talkies Work from Inside Cruise Ship Cabins?

The effectiveness of walkie-talkies inside a cruise ship cabin largely depends on the device’s power and range. High-powered walkie-talkies are more likely to work through the ship’s thick metal walls and floors than their less powerful counterparts.

However, even the best devices can encounter some hiccups. Cruise ships are designed with multiple layers and compartments, which can sometimes interfere with radio signals.

Another factor to consider is the cruise ship’s size and construction. Larger ships with more decks might pose a more significant challenge for signal transmission, especially if you’re trying to communicate from one end of the ship to the other.

In contrast, the location of the cabin matters too. For instance, if you’re in an exterior cabin with a balcony, you might find that the walkie-talkie works slightly better due to fewer barriers between you and the open sea or the rest of the ship.

While walkie-talkies can offer a degree of connectivity inside cruise ship cabins, they’re not foolproof.

Always test your device once you’re onboard to gauge its effectiveness and consider alternative communication methods if necessary.

Cruise ship staff on Walkie Talkie

Will The Walkie-Talkies’ Range Cover An Entire Ship?

Devices typically advertise their maximum range under ideal conditions, like clear line of sight without obstructions.

On a cruise ship, however, multiple factors can limit this range. Thick metal walls, numerous compartments, and the ship’s structure can disrupt signals, diminishing the effective range.

The size and layout of the ship play a role too. On smaller ships, most standard walkie-talkies might suffice. But as ships get larger and more intricate in design, covering the entire vessel becomes a tougher challenge.

It’s not just about length; it’s about navigating the ship’s breadth, height, and all the internal barriers.

Additionally, external factors like weather conditions and other electronic devices on board can impact the walkie-talkie’s performance.

In essence, while a walkie-talkie might work perfectly on the top deck with a clear view, its effectiveness might wane as you venture deeper into the ship or move towards its far end.

Plus, since you’re only allowed to use FRS radios, there’s a higher chance they won’t work on a cruise if you’re far apart and on different decks.

Do Cruise Ship Staff Use Two-Way Radios?

Absolutely, cruise ship staff count on walkie-talkies, or two-way radios, as their primary mode of communication.

It’s integral to the smooth functioning of every voyage.

While passengers are also allowed to bring walkie-talkies for personal communication, it’s essential to note that not all devices make the cut. Some are deemed unfit for cruises due to not meeting specific safety standards.

Best Walkie Talkies for Cruise Ships

DURLK Walkie Talkies Long Range 4 Pack

DURLK Walkie Talkies

A great choice for cruise ship communication, offering rechargeable batteries, a long-range, and user-friendly features.


  • Built-in rechargeable Li-Po batteries
  • Long range of up to 15 miles
  • Multiple features including VOX and auto squelch


  • Limited maximum available channels
  • Environment and weather affect the range
  • Other channels may interfere during use

We recently used the DURLK Walkie Talkies on a cruise ship, and they were excellent for staying connected with family and friends onboard. Charging the walkie talkies took about 2-3 hours, and they had a standby time of 3-4 days.

The long-range communication was also impressive, with the talkies working well within a 1.5-mile distance of each other. In open areas, the range can reach up to 15 miles, although factors such as weather, cars, and buildings may affect this.

Overall, these are our top picks as they are a reliable and convenient choice for those looking to maintain communication on a cruise ship.

The rechargeable batteries, long-range, and user-friendly features more than make up for any limitations.

Retevis RT22 Walkie Talkies

Retevis RT22 Walkie Talkies


  • Compact and lightweight, perfect for carrying around on a cruise ship
  • VOX function allows for hands-free communication
  • Emergency alarm feature enhances safety during various outdoor activities


  • Not water-resistant
  • Hands-free feature may not always function as expected
  • Ideal range might be limited in the presence of numerous buildings or obstacles

Another great choice, not the ones we purchased but these com highly recommended by other cruisers.

Customers have reported you can easily communicate with each other even while on opposite ends of the ship. The walkie talkies easily fit into pockets, making them unobtrusive and easy to carry.

Another popular feature was the hands-free VOX function. This allows you to chat without needing to press the push-to-talk button continuously, which was helpful when our hands were busy with other tasks.

However, some users may find that the hands-free feature doesn’t always work perfectly, requiring occasional manual intervention.

One important thing to note is that these walkie-talkies are not water-resistant, so caution should be taken around pools and other wet areas on a cruise ship.

Also, when testing the range around the harbor and nearby buildings, some found that the signal could sometimes become weak or static as the distance increased.

Overall, they are a user-friendly and practical option for staying connected while on a cruise ship.

Topsung M880 Walkie Talkies

Topsung M880


  • Impressive range in different terrains (up to 1/4/16 miles)
  • Easy to operate, suitable for adults and kids
  • Many useful features like auto squelch, auto memory, and auto scan


  • Require 3 AA batteries (not included)
  • Waterproofing could be better
  • Maximum volume may not be loud enough for noisy environments

Our first impression of these walkie talkies was how lightweight and compact they are, making them easy to carry around on a cruise ship. They are simple to operate with a user-friendly interface, even for kids.

The adjustable power and volume allowed us to customize our preferences, while the belt clip and lanyard hole made it convenient to keep the device within reach.

One key factor that impressed us was the range of the walkie-talkies. The Topsung M880 boasts a long-range capability of up to 16 miles, which will be more than sufficient for your needs aboard a cruise ship.

With its smart system, the walkie-talkies automatically squelch background noise, resulting in clear and crisp sound quality.

One downside, we noticed that the M880 requires 3 AA batteries which were not included in the package.

We also found that the walkie-talkies could have a better waterproof rating to withstand potential water exposure on a cruise ship.

Lastly, the maximum volume may not be loud enough for individuals who have difficulty hearing, particularly in noisy environments.

Despite some minor drawbacks, their range, ease of use, and smart features make them a valuable communication tool for adventures on the high seas. Not to mention, they’re a budget-friendly choice!

DURLK Walkie Talkies 4 Pack

DURLK Walkie Talkies


  • Versatile power options with AA and Li-Po batteries
  • Long range and 22 channels with 121 sub channels
  • Lightweight with a hands-free belt clip


  • Batteries and chargers not included
  • Range could be affected by environmental factors
  • No mute function, only volume adjustment

Another great walkie-talkie for cruise ships!

This walkie-talkie is powered by AA batteries, rechargeable batteries, or Li-Po batteries making them perfect for various situations where power resources may be scarce.

Although the batteries and chargers are not included, we felt that the flexibility in power options were a nice touch.

One standout feature of these walkie talkies was their long range capabilities. You can communicate clearly over distances up to 15 miles in open areas, thanks to the upgraded antenna and sound technology.

With 22 channels and 121 sub-channels, you will have no trouble finding a clear and private connection for our group.

However, some customers have reported certain environmental factors, such as adverse weather and building materials, could affect signal strength.

The added VOX function is a great convenience, as it allows for voice-operated communication without having to press any buttons.

NXGKET Walkie Talkies for Adults Long Range 4 Pack

NXGKET Walkie Talkies


  • Slim, lightweight design
  • Rechargeable 1500mAh Li-ion battery
  • Impressive range (up to 3 miles in ideal conditions)


  • Non-USB-C charging
  • Earpieces have subpar audio quality
  • Channel overlaps with other walkie talkies

The slim and lightweight design makes these effortless to carry around with us, you won’t even notice them clipped to your bathing suit.

The rugged exterior seems durable enough to withstand drops, so we feel confident they would hold up, even with regular use.

Plus they have rechargeable 1500mAh Li-ion batteries. This eliminated the need for constantly purchasing and replacing disposable batteries and gave a sense of being more eco-friendly.

Customers have said the battery life lasted quite a long time, and they didn’t need to recharge them as often as they thought we would.

A minor drawback to these walkie talkies was their non-USB-C charging cable, which felt a little outdated compared to the USB-C chargers we use for our phones and other devices.

Additionally, while the included earpieces were a nice touch, some have found the audio quality through them to be muffled compared to using the walkie talkies without them.

Something worth mentioning is occasionally encountering channel overlaps with other walkie talkie users as well.

This could be a bit of a nuisance, as you’ll have to switch channels to find a clear one. However, once you find a clear channel, communication shouldn’t be a problem.

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