The Internet has become an incredibly important part of our daily lives. Many travelers simply need to have an Internet connection when cruising. This might be because they need to work, chat with family members, or even just watch Netflix to fall asleep. Luckily, cruise ships have made it relatively easy to stay connected while out at sea. But still, there are some things you should know about wi-fi on cruise ships. It’s a little bit different than what you’re used to.
The most important thing to note is that wi-fi is very rarely free on cruise ships. You can get excellent deals on an Internet connection by purchasing more luxurious tickets, but the price of wi-fi is still factored into that higher initial price. Although costs are going down as time goes on, it’s still pretty costly to use the Internet on a cruise ship. While some cruise lines offer daily packages that are more affordable, others ask you to pay per minute. That can really add up if you’re using the Internet for extended periods.
You should also note that the Internet connection on a cruise ship isn’t going to be as good as what you have at home. Instead of using a landline that connects to a wireless router, cruise ships are forced to use satellites for their Internet connection. This is inherently less reliable than traditional wired Internet. The signal can – and probably will – be lost if there is something in between the cruise ship and the satellite. Load times will also inevitably be slower than your home Internet, so expect to do some waiting. Internet activities that eat up a lot of bandwidth like streaming or video calls will also be tough to do on a cruise ship, but it certainly isn’t impossible.
The fact that cruises use satellite Internet also means that your surroundings greatly impact your connection. A river cruise through a heavily forested region will generally have a pretty bad connection, for instance, while an open ocean cruise on a clear day will work much better. Common cruise environments like the cliffs around fjords and large mountains will also pose potential problems.
Finally, another important factor about cruise Internet is deciding which package to choose. Most cruise lines offer many different Internet packages that allow you to customize your experience. Be careful that you choose a package that doesn’t give you way more Internet time than you need. Additionally, be aware that some packages restrict what you can actually do. For instance, the cheapest packages will generally only allow you access to social media sites and nothing else.
Cruises are a great opportunity to unplug and enjoy the natural world, but that isn’t possible for everyone. If you need an Internet connection, just keep these factors in mind. Although cruise Internet isn’t perfect, it’s not half bad for being in the middle of the ocean.