In today’s modern society, people are more or less glued to their smartphones, tablets and laptops. The thought of losing the convenience and connectivity benefits that they have at their fingertips simply isn’t an option for an increasing number of tech savvy travellers.
Thankfully, staying connected at sea is easier than ever as a huge number of cruise ships have Wi-Fi hotspots, internet cafes and static free mobile phone reception. Whether you need internet access for business or personal use, the majority of modern cruise ships will most definitely have you covered.
However, before embarking on a cruise, it pays to do your research when it comes to determining exactly what services are available and whether or not there are any additional charges associated with staying connected. Read on for a handy guide that will help you get your head around the Wi-Fi situation on the high seas:
Check the signal speeds
While many lines have progressed in leaps and bounds as far as technology goes, it’s unlikely that your cruise ship will offer the same lighting fast service speeds you enjoy in your home. In fact, speeds and connection quality can vary greatly from ship to ship and even the most sophisticated of vessels can run into problems depending on location and signal strength.
The majority of the time you’ll also be asked to pay a surcharge in order to access the ship’s internet services. Costs vary from line to line however in general, they range from around 35 cents to $1 per minute. If you plan on using the internet on a regular basis you may be able to pick up a discounted package deal. For added convenience, many ships also offer pre-paid Wi-Fi network cards which are a great way to keep track of your spending. If you only need to use the internet in short sessions, choosing a ship with an internet café of computer centre is an economical option.
If you simply can’t live without hours of daily internet browsing but aren’t willing to fork out a fortune, why not look into a river cruise where internet connection is often complimentary or priced at an affordable flat rate?
As far as Wi-Fi mobile phone service goes, rates will vary depending on the wireless company with which your ship is partnered. In general, international roaming rates are used which can be incredibly expensive. When you reach port, your mobile should automatically pick up a local country signal, the costs of which are determined by your service provider. Keep in mind that these can also be horrendously high so if you plan on using mobile Wi-Fi when you’re cruising, make sure you check the costs in order to avoid a nasty shock when you receive your monthly bill!
Access all areas?
One further thing to consider is where you will be able to access the internet. While some ships offer vessel wide connectivity, others will restrict access to common areas or even just bars and cafes. If you only plan on using the internet for short, social bursts this is fine however if you need peace and quiet to work, concentrate of chat privately with family, lack of in-cabin service could be extremely inconvenient.
The final verdict?
Overall, it’s effortlessly easy to stay connected while at sea, however it does come at a cost. At the end of the day, the best thing to do is to keep internet and phone usage to a minimum and instead focus on all the amazing on-board facilities and port of call activities that are on offer!
If you’re thinking of embarking on a cruise but still need reliable access to the internet, take a look at some of the great deals on offer from Cruise 1st or call our team on 1300-857-345 for more information. Boasting great partnerships with all the leading liners, you’re guaranteed to find a ship that offers you an efficient Wi-Fi service at the best possible price.
Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Pierre Lecourt