Accessing the Internet While on a Cruise
Staying connected while on vacation has become the status quo for most travelers. Social media, text messaging and face to face video applications have quickly become the most convenient way to stay in touch with family and friends across the globe. However, these services often require connecting to the internet and sometimes require a consistent high-speed connection. As demand for connectivity and technology increases, we’re finding internet availability growing just as quickly. From the top of Mount Fuji to destinations across the globe and yes, even while sailing the seas, you’re never too far from getting your internet fix. That being said there’s quite a bit that travelers should know about internet access at sea.
Connecting at Sea?
While some may embrace a week or more at sea disconnected from life on land, others have a difficult time waiting an hour or two without checking emails, texts and refreshing their various social media timelines. Our cruise partners work extremely hard to cater to guests every request so its no wonder, each wants to be known as the best connected at sea. There’s good news on that front, there have been huge advancements in Wi-Fi at sea and almost every cruise line and ship that navigates the waters of the world will have some form of Wi-Fi available. Many of the cruising industries big players are investing millions into connectivity enhancing infrastructure to provide the best possible experience for everyone on board. Depending on your chosen cruise line or even your location on the ship, internet at sea may not be quite as speedy as you would find in the comfort of your own home and it may even feel a bit spotty. This could simply be due to geographical location or bandwidth availability, meaning you’re too far from the closest tower or too many people on the ship are attempting to use the internet at the same time. The majority of cruise lines won’t be able to offer the kind of speeds required to stream video services like Netflix or Hulu but this could change in the coming years as the technology shows no signs of slowing down.
Isn’t it Expensive?
The cost of internet while at sea will typically vary greatly from one cruise line to another. Some may offer Internet access by the minute while others may offer daily or entire trip length packages. Many lines will incentivize passengers to go to more premium suites by offering allotments of free internet time. There does seem to be a growing trend of cruise lines offering tier-based internet packages based on how the passengers are using the internet. For example, there may be a package just for texting or email usage and another for heavy use like streaming Netflix. Packages like these are bringing the cost down for cruisers although not as wallet-friendly as land-based internet yet. The tier based system is convenient for those who really don’t use the internet very often while others like myself might use it at every convenience.
What About Cell Phones?
Cell phone connectivity is another challenge entirely. While connectivity will likely be available by connecting with the tower on most ships, cellular rates for phone text and data will usually reflect international roaming rates at sea and a country-specific roaming rate for when in port, which is often very expensive. You can speak to your cell phone provider for information on country-specific call, text and data packages, these typically have allotted time frames such as a week, two or a month at a time. Its worth mentioning that some cruise ships provide smart device applications allowing passengers to communicate with each other onboard for no extra cost.
If you’re like me and not wanting to risk finding a shockingly large cell phone bill when you return from a nice relaxing vacation its best to turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode. Airplane mode restricts data from being transmitted between cellular towers and your device. Airplane mode also allows you to snap photos of all the beautiful scenery on your trip without risking any extra charges!
If you find you’re struggling to connect while at sea, try these connectivity tips – Attempt to connect while fewer people are likely to be online such as late at night or in port when many passengers have gone ashore. The ability to have a strong connection also goes way up when the ship is near shore connecting to land-based services.
You’ll find exclusive offers and experienced travel professionals with knowledge of all things travel including Wi-Fi and internet options at CruisePlus, to book your next vacation with CruisePlus contact us at 1-800-854-9664!