ShipCom (nee AT&T high seas radio) provides ship to shore radio service at about .99/minute. Setting up an account is free. Works great.
You can also call the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300 (ham) and hope that someone on frequency with good propagation to you has a phone patch.
Those are options, but what I wanted is for her to be able to just use a radio so that we can set up a sked to have routine communication. Would rather not pay .99/min or need to rely on someone to run a phone patch. Wife obtaining General Class license is only way I can see to do this. Would be nice if Marine SSB could be used, but what I read, that would not be legal.