Going on a cruise used to mean getting away from it all and it was difficult to impossible to stay connected with the mainland while you were enjoying your holiday. However, these days when you are on a cruise vacation it is possible to access the internet and keep up to date with the news and your friends and family back home. Having internet on a cruise ship can allow you to work while you travel – digital nomad style – or stay in touch with your loved ones.
The internet is becoming more and more of a part of our daily lives that most of us don’t know what to do with ourselves when we don’t have access to it. We start to go into withdrawal when we can’t check our emails and social media accounts and when we want to prove we are right in an argument – we panic because we can’t Google to check our facts.
However, internet on cruise ships is still known for being excruciatingly slow and very expensive. You are in the middle of the ocean, after all. However, it also has a lot to do with the bandwidth that is provided by the ship – so some cruise lines will have better Wifi than others. It is important to understand this and accept the fact that the internet you get on a cruise ship will never be as fast as your connection at home. Once you lower your expectations, the experience is much less frustrating. You can assume that you won’t find fast internet and if you do, it will be a happy bonus.
Finding Free WiFi in Port
If you want to be free of the ship’s slow connection, it is a good idea to seek out the Wifi for a few hours while you are in port. Here’s a tip – watch for the crew members who are leaving the ship carrying their laptops and follow them. They will know where the best free public Wifi hotspots can be found.
WiFi Is Better Closer to the Equator
If you are taking a tropical cruise close to the equator, you will find that you have better Wifi than you would if you were up in the Northern Waters of Alaska. This is because satellites are positioned in an orbit above the equator in order for them to have the maximum coverage possible.
More Tricks for Getting a Better Connection
There are a few work-arounds that you can use in order to get a better connection while you are on a cruise ship. One technique is the use the internet while very few people are online, such as late at night. The fewer people who are online using the bandwidth, the faster the connection will be for you.
Also, another strategy is to write all of your emails offline in a word processing document and then only pay for 5 minutes worth of internet access while you send them all. This will save you a lot of money, as you won’t have to pay expensive internet rates for being online while you write all of the emails.
Also, if you think you will use the internet a lot during your trip, you can buy set packages of internet minutes at a cheaper rate than if you were to use them separately.
Can You Skype on a Cruise Ship?
Unfortunately, using the internet based phone and video chat program Skype on a cruise ship is pretty much impossible. Most of the time the connection on the ship is so slow that it makes using Skype almost impossible. Also, sometimes the program is blocked because it uses up so much of the shared bandwidth. If you are going on a cruise, let your friends and family know that you won’t be able to Skype them from the ship anytime soon.
These are just a few important things to know about staying connected on a cruise ship while you are enjoying your holiday. While it is possible to access the internet, it won’t always be fast, cheap or easy to try to minimise your web use as much as possible if you can. Cruise comparison sites like http://www.cruisesalefinder.com.au/ have social media pages that allow you to read about other passenger’s experiences and this information can help you be more prepared to anticipate any difficulties in advance.
Ryan Posa is the General Manager of Cruise Republic and he is passionate about travel. He has enjoyed visiting beautiful places across the globe, from Alaska to New Zealand and more.