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by Ray Carlson

Q. I am taking a cruise next week.  The information provided by the cruise line indicates I need to pay a large fee for Internet access plus $4 for each email message sent even if I send the same message to different people.  Is there some way I can avoid some of these costs?

A. It is difficult to avoid the fee to use the Internet, but, if you have Internet access, it is not necessary to pay for email.  First, check to see if the service you normally use for email allows you to access your email account through their webpage.  If not, you can send messages through sites like Google or Yahoo.  Go to one of these sites and open an email account.  Give that email address to friends and family, and you will be able to send and receive emails for no additional cost.

For example, Google calls its email “gmail.”  Go to and click on gmail at the top of the page.  Click on open an account and set up a username and password.  You will be asked a couple of questions and then the account will be processed.  Give others the email address where username is the one you set up.  Later anytime you want to send or receive email, go to and type in your username and password.  At, select “Free mail: Sign Up” and the process will be similar.  In this case, your new email address will be

Published: Courier 6/7/09 - Page 5C