Remember when the only way to connect with friends and family at home was by using your very expensive cabin phone while on a cruise? Some of us remember not even having a phone (or television!) in our cabins. That was ancient history in today's high tech vernacular. It's not uncommon these days to see many, if not the majority, of passengers using electronic devices—including laptops, cell phones, and tablets—to connect over the Internet on modern cruise ships today. However, using those devices on ships could be frustrating, not to mention expensive. That is, until recently.
From emails and texts to tweets and Instagram posts, travelers increasingly want to digitally share and stay connected while on vacation. While the perception may be that a cruise vacation does not offer a chance to be accessible, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reveals that cruise lines have introduced a host of Wi-Fi capabilities and offerings on cruise ships making it easier than ever before to stay connected at sea.
“In our increasingly connected world, it has become incredibly important for travelers to stay connected,” said Thomas P. Ostebo, President and CEO, CLIA. “Cruise lines globally have made major technological strides to offer our travelers the chance to stay connected while enjoying a cruise vacation.”
These are some of the latest examples of Internet accessibility on cruise ships:
• Minutes vs. Data: Wi-Fi is more available on cruise lines than ever and the costs to travelers are steadily declining. More cruise lines are offering Internet services at reasonable prices. Disney Cruise Line, for example, offers guests Connect@Sea a service that charges based on data use instead of by the minute.“There are common misconceptions that Wi-Fi capabilities on cruise ships are expensive, unreliable, or nonexistent,” Ostebo continued. “We are happy to dispel this myth and prove that connectivity and cruising are not mutually exclusive.”
• Social Media Packages: Travelers looking to text and tweet while at sea have never had so many options for connectivity. In addition to Internet packages, many cruise ships are offering social media specialty packages. Half the Carnival Cruise Line fleet now offers a social media package that allows guests to access popular sites like Facebook and Twitter for a flat fee of five dollars per day.
• Internet Café: Almost all cruise lines offer an Internet Café complete with pay-as-you-use options for guests to stay connected. These Wi-Fi hubs are available on major lines, including Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, that offer a variety of other packages as well.
• Loyalty Member Services: Some cruise lines also offer Internet access for loyalty program members. Members of Royal Caribbean International’s Crown and Anchor Society loyalty program get discounts on internet packages while cruising. Silversea guests sailing in select suites enjoy unlimited free Wi-Fi and every guest receives at least one free hour of Wi-Fi per day.
That connectivity has allowed the Cruise Diva crew to receive emails, conduct business, and share daily blogs from sea—which was unheard of not that long ago.
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