So you’re on a cruise ship sailing around the world and you need to use the Internet for work or for pleasure. No problem! This is the 21st Century and Internet can be accessed on virtually any cruise ship. But how much is it going to cost you?
In our last blog, we discussed how Internet connectivity works on ships and why it’s expensive, but exactly how expensive is it?
Well, typically, you might expect to pay around 75 cents per minute on most ships, but you’ll be able to save a bit if you purchase an Internet package. Packages can run over $200, but if you’ll still have to pay a lot of money if you need to use the Internet for more than four hours a week. In the end, you might pay more for connectivity than you would for the actual cruise vacation. Is this fair? Well, you be the judge.
Internet connections aren’t always reliable on a ship, and that’s not necessarily a factor that can be controlled by the cruise lines. Sometimes, signals can be blocked, causing slower connections. If a ship’s mast or funnel is large enough, the signal can be lost as well. So then what happens if you need constant and reliable Internet access onboard a cruise ship? Our maritime attorneys have got a few ideas on what to do.
Choose Your Online Time Wisely
The more people on a ship that are connected to the Internet, the slower the connection will be. Try logging on at night or while a ship is in port to obtain faster connections. If you really need Internet access for an extended period of time, you may be able to get a Wi-Fi connection in port. Many locations offer free Wi-Fi close to dock, which you can use at leisure. Ask crew members or even local tourism offices where you can access free Wi-Fi, and once a ship docks, head to the location and enjoy your free Web access.
If you mostly use the Internet to send e-mails, try writing out what you need to send on Word or a notepad program (or any other program that you do not need Internet access for), and then just copy and paste the content into your email, so you can save time on your account. That way, you can just jot down all you need to say, then only spend a few minutes copying the content to your email and sending.
Use Your Laptop or Onboard Computers instead of Your Smart Phone
If you want to save some money using the Internet on a cruise ship, make sure to only use your actual laptop or the ship’s computers. Using your phone for the Internet will cost more than you can possibly imagine. You’ll might have several fees imposed on your monthly bill, including the ever-costly roaming charges. Before you get onboard, be sure to switch your phone on airplane mode or disable all data roaming capabilities so you don’t incur a huge bill.
All in all, Internet packages on ships can prove to be useful for those who need to use the Web during their vacation. But for business professionals that need constant Web access, costs will, undoubtedly, rack up. Can cruise lines, which make millions of dollars each year, afford to provide Internet access at a much lower rate? Well, yes and no. No matter what, Internet connectivity will cost a cruise ship a lot of money. They have to pay for satellite connections and air space, and that means they have to charge customers enough so they can not only cover those costs, but make a profit. Can prices be lower, yes, but not by much. Until more advanced technology is created that can bypass the need for satellites and antennae connections to achieve Internet on cruise ships, this is, unfortunately, the way it’s going to be for a while.