Q: Can my group of 10, all of whom have the Voxer smartphone app, communicate “walkie-talkie” style on Allure of the Seas cruise ship in the Caribbean?

Leon Cohen, Minneapolis


A: In theory, yes, but as a practical matter, probably not.

Voxer is a two-way communications app for Apple and Android smartphones; it can send voice, text or photos over the Internet to other Voxer users using either Wi-Fi or cellphone connections. In the U.S., a “push to talk” function in the app works fast enough that users can have live, two-way voice conversations.

The trouble is that a cruise ship in the Caribbean typically doesn’t offer the kind of Internet connections found in the U.S.

Allure of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean International, says that Wi-Fi and cellphone connections are available on the cruise ship. But Allure uses a pricing plan that makes Wi-Fi and cellular service expensive. And reviews of cruises aboard the Allure say that those Internet connections are relatively slow.

Take Wi-Fi, for example. The Allure boasts that it has Wi-Fi Internet connectivity throughout the ship. But it also charges those aboard a minimum of $35 for each person in your group, and potentially more. Prepaid packages of Wi-Fi minutes range from 60 minutes for $35 to 500 minutes for $150.

The Allure’s cellphone rates are based on international voice roaming and data charge plans, which vary in cost from one cell service provider to another but are typically expensive compared with U.S. calling and data rates.

In addition, reviews of the Allure say the Wi-Fi and cellular Internet speeds available on the ship are roughly comparable to dial-up computer service speeds, which means your Voxer app would probably work poorly, if at all.


Q: Is it possible to retrieve deleted text messages from an iPhone? Also, are you able to retrieve them even if the phone isn’t in service?

Cheryl Newberry, Miami


A: Yes to both. Text messages, sometimes called SMS (short message service), continue to reside on the iPhone after being deleted. In addition, if the iPhone has been backed up to iTunes, the deleted messages also exist there.

There is a way to recover deleted text messages simply by using iTunes, but it’s considered a bit risky because a single mistake can wipe out the messages you’re trying to recover. For details, see tinyurl.com/aksqslm.

A safer method is to use data recovery software that’s less accident-prone. Two programs that are said to effectively retrieve deleted text messages are “Wondershare Dr. Fone”(free trial for Windows or Macintosh, $99.95 to buy, see tinyurl.com/d83hbb8) and Data Recovery for iTunes (Macintosh only, free trial, $59.95 to buy, see tinyurl.com/8j5elzx.)


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