You have a family, so you know what happens.  You board your cruise, you find your stateroom, and like magic, everyone disappears.  Your husband has staked out the perfect deck chair, and your kids are already halfway up the rock-climbing wall.  The best thing about a cruise is that there is something to keep everyone entertained.

But just try to get them all to come back in time for dinner!  That’s when the Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) comes in handy.

Many families choose cruise vacations because there are so many activities in one conveniently confined space. Parents can be sure their children are busy and happy, without worrying when they are out of sight.  But there are still times when you want to check in; to find out if your teenage son is on his way back from the pool, or if your 8-year-old is still having fun at the children’ center.

The Motorola 2 Way Radio is like a high tech walkie-talkie.  It claims a powerful range of up to 23 miles, however, the reality is generally much less…though still more than enough to cover the length of the ship.  And with 22 channels plus privacy codes, there’s little worry about overhearing other families communicating! Even if you do, just switch to another channel and/or privacy code to find a clear channel.

You can also set up ten different call tones, so you can alert each individual family member when you want to talk to them.  And you can transmit hands-free, without needing a headset.  The Motorola can detect your voice and transmits when you speak into the microphone.  Perfect for when your hands are covered in suntan lotion.

Leave your Cell Phone at Home

You may plan on keeping in touch with your family by using the cell phones you already own, but that idea can be both unaffordable and occasionally impossible.  Depending on your cell phone plan, roaming charges will mean a monster bill at the end of your trip, and service can be patchy to completely unavailable once you are out on the ocean.

The Motorola 2 Way Radio offers unlimited access, and it’s free.  It broadcasts on radio frequencies, so the handsets will work anywhere, without needing to bounce off transmitting towers; ideal for communicating when you’re out on the open seas.

It’s important to note that these two way radios are broadcasting over radio airwaves, which are regulated by the country you’re using them in.  In the United States, what’s known as the Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) allows people to communicate among themselves for personal or business purposes. The key difference between the two is that GMRS allows a higher power radio and 22 channels but requires an FCC license. FRS does NOT require a license but is limited to 500 mW of power and to channels 1-14.  There are a number of frequencies available for personal radio use in the U.S., but those same frequencies are illegal for public use in Europe.  In Mexico, the U.S.-defined FRS channels are allowed but GMRS is not so hybrids radios such as the MH230R are not technically permitted; be very cautious about the channels and broadcast power you’re using in Cozumel or Costa Maya. In Europe, most countries allow use of a PMR446 radio –which is just like the FRS/GMRS system of the U.S.– so you can still communicate there as well. Make sure to check on which system your device is using, and ask your travel agent or the cruise line about using it on the cruise you have booked.

But being brutally honest, there is a down side to inexpensive hybrid radios like the Motorola MH230R. Because the maximum power output of this radio is only 1.0 Watt, it will have problems penetrating the decks of the new monster ships. With the amount of steel on a ship like the Carnival Dream or Norwegian Epic, you can realistically figure on doing well on open decks and maybe penetrating through a couple of interior decks. You will not get from Lido deck to Deck 1 inside cabins. For that you’d need at least a 5.0 Watt GMRS radio such as the Midland Outfitter Series GXT1050VP4 50-Channel 36-Mile Waterproof 2-Way GMRS Radio at about double the price of the MH230R. The MH230R will also work well in your ports of call (where allowed) while shopping or playing at the beach. The high power unit is simply not permitted outside the United States.

So when you’re on your next cruise lying by the pool, thinking about going for a drink with your husband, there’s no need to have to get up and go to the gym to find him.  Pick up a Motorola Two-Way Radio before you set sail, and make keeping in touch with the whole family as easy as pushing a button.

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  1. Kayla Rogers says:

    It would be nice to be able to leave your cell phone at home for a camping trip or skiing trip. And with a two way radio, you could still have a way to communicate with them. In fact, in low-reception areas, this one is probably more reliable than cell phone service!

  2. I have a pair of Motorola two-way radios too and yes, they are more efficient than the mobile phone. I trust these devices especially when there are many times when the cellphone signals don’t work.
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  3. LifeAfter50 says:

    So glad to see this article! We just took a cruise & are planning our next. Someone suggested the 2 way radios, but we weren’t sure if they would be allowed.

  4. Radios says:

    I have to say that this site is a great collection of information. I always found the best things here!Thank for sharing this amazing article.

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