February 12, 2014

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Staying connected on a cruise ship – Internet access options, how to use and what is the cost

 

Internet on cruise ship - Laptop with WiFi

Internet on cruise ship - Laptop with Wi-Fi

You take a cruise vacation to take time off from your busy routine. But let’s face it – you might feel totally cut off if you don’t check your email at least once a day! And your colleagues at work might want to seek your opinion for something urgent…

Basically, the need for internet access on a cruise ship is becoming more and more real. That’s why more and more people are traveling on a cruise ship with their laptops!

(Image by JamesEverett)

 

Internet access options on a cruise ship

With demand comes supply – and that’s why there are multiple internet access options provided by almost all cruise lines these days.

So whether you are carrying your laptop with you or not, you can always access internet on your cruise vacation conveniently.

 

Wireless internet access / Wi-Fi hot spots

Most new ships have wi-fi internet access available throughout the ship – from bow-to-stern. Slightly older vessels would have specific wi-fi hot spots – usually in public spaces like lounges and libraries.

The charge for using internet is normally on a per-minute basis, and ranges anywhere from $0.25 to $1.25 per minute.

If you are a heavy user, most cruise lines offer a heavily discounted rate for bulk packages – say for 50 minutes, 100 minutes, and so on. Obviously, the more the number of minutes in the package, the higher is the discount – and the lower is your per-minute internet usage cost.

Some cruise lines also charge a time based rate – you pay a certain amount for the entire duration of the cruise, or say, for 5 days.

If you are not carrying your own laptop but still want the convenience of wireless internet, many cruise lines also offer laptops on rent.

 

Cyber cafes / Internet centers

Some older ships don’t have wireless internet access in any form – for these ships, going to the ships cyber cafe or internet center is your only option to have internet access (although some ships do have wired internet access available in staterooms).

Even in the ships where there is wi-fi internet available, a cyber cafe is a convenient option to use internet if you are not carrying your laptop with you.

On most ships, the charge for using internet through the cyber cafe is the same as that for wi-fi usage.

 

Tips and important things to remember

  • Internet cafe / cyber center on a cruise shipUsing a cyber cafe on a port of call is always a better option if you can wait till the cruise ship docks – these are a lot cheaper, and usually have faster connection speeds. The cost can be anywhere from $1 to $6 per hour.
  • The speed of internet on a cruise ship would never be the same as the high speed internet connection you are used to on land. So, please be patient while accessing internet on a cruise ship.

(Image by mamamusings)

  • If you are purchasing a multi-minute bundle or package for internet usage, please factor in the slow internet speed – remember that you would take longer to do things on the ship compared to your home / office.
  • The speed of internet varies vastly between cruise lines and cruise ships, and depends on how much investment the cruise line has made in the supporting infrastructure. So before finalizing your cruise ship, do your research well if internet speed is crucial to you.
  • Since the internet speed also depends on the number of people simultaneously using the ship’s connection, you can usually get the best speed during off hours – early mornings and late nights are usually the best. Another good time is during dinner time.

 

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