Is Wifi the Same on Every Cruise

Do Cruise Ships Have Wifi?

Do cruise ships have wifi?“, is a common question this day and age. It’s important for folks to be able to stay connected whether it’s to work, kids at home, or friends and family afar. The simple answer is yes, cruise ships universally do have wifi available, but depending on the cruise line and ship you can have vastly different wifi experiences.

DO CRUISE SHIPS HAVE WIFI

Do Cruise Ships Have Wifi

This article is published in partnership with Princess Cruises . All content and opinions belong to Mama Loves Food.

Is Wifi the Same on Every Cruise

Wifi is NOT the same on every cruise! If connectivity is important to you, it is crucial that you research before sailing. As an avid cruiser (7 trips in the past two years!) I can unequivocally tell you that some ships do it (much) better than others.

WIFI CONNECTED MEDALLIONS FOR CRUISE

Which Cruise Line Has the Best Wifi

The best wifi that I’ve experienced, hands-down, has been the wifi on the Medallion Class Princess ships. We recently sailed on the Caribbean Princess, and our wifi was as good on the ship as it was at home. We were able to stream video, Facetime with our kids, and I even did a full live cruise tour on Facebook using the wifi!

Caribbean Princess now features MedallionNet™, offering guests Wi-Fi connectivity that is fast, reliable, unlimited and affordable with an access point in every stateroom.

Guests on MedallionClass™ ships experience land-like connectivity for streaming sports, movies, music and videos, communicating on video phone calls from anywhere on the ship, and sharing their vacation experiences in real time with friends and family back home on social media platforms – another factor contributing to higher guest satisfaction scores.

WIFI CONNECTED MEDALLIONS IN LANYARD FOR CRUISE

What is MedallionClass™?

Princess MedallionClass™ Featuring the OceanMedallion™ includes these amazing features:

  • Hands-Free Keyless Stateroom Entry: Access to staterooms is a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated as the door automatically unlocks. Personalized greetings including loyalty level recognition welcome the guest on their door portal.
  • OceanCompass™: Available on guests’ smart devices and portals throughout the ships, OceanCompass™ leverages the OceanMedallion to enable point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. OceanCompass™ guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest, as well as easily locate and chat with friends and family on board using ShipMates.
  • JourneyViewTM : Available now on ship portals and coming soon to smart devices, this interactive timeline lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage. Functionality will also soon give guests the ability to bookmark and add activities that appeal most to them to their own personalized itinerary.

EMBARKATION VIA THE OCEANREADY APP FOR PRINCESS CRUISES WITH MEDALLION TECHNOLOGY

  • MedallionPay™: An easy to use payment feature, enabling crew members to focus on meaningful guest interactions.
  • OceanCasino™: On smart devices and select portals, guests can wager real money on games, including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.
  • PlayOceanTM : On portals located shipwide and using smart devices, PlayOcean offers guests a new level of fun with interactive games, a digital scavenger hunt, customizable avatars, and more. PlayOcean also transforms guests’ mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming on the massive Movies Under the Stars screen.
  • OceanViewTM : Guests can stream more than 100 hours of award-winning Ocean Original travel shows to their smart device anywhere on the ship at no cost – content which airs nationally on weekends on ABC and NBC. OceanView is also available on stateroom TVs as well as on Roku, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

COUNTDOWN TO CRUISE ON OCEAN READY APP

Breakthrough Technology

Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and recently honored with a CES ® 2019 Innovation Award, the OceanMedallion features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.

INTERACTIVE MAPS THAT USE CRUISE SHIP WIFI FOR LOCATION

Medallion Class Makes Cruising Better

Princess MedallionClass vacations offer guests a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to enhance their cruise vacation, including:

  • From curbside to poolside in a breeze – guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile have a personalized check-in process that starts their vacation with ease. Personalization starts pre-cruise by guests becoming OceanReady™ while at home.
  • The best Wi-Fi at sea:MedallionNet™ is fast, reliable, affordable and unlimited. MedallionNet provides land-like speeds that allow guests to stay connected from anywhere on the ship including staterooms which are each equipped with a Wi-Fi access point. With MedallionNet guests easily share vacation experiences with friends and family back home, stream TV shows, movies and sports events, and even make voice and video calls.
  • On demand beverage delivery: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks using OceanNowTM and have them delivered directly to them throughout the ship and even in their stateroom.

KEYLESS ENTRY WITH WIFI ENABLED MEDALLION ON CRUISE SHIP

How Do You Get a MedallionClass™ Cruise?

Experiencing a MedallionClass™ cruise is as easy as booking one! As of this writing, Princess currently has three Medallion Class ships, and will have 8 more by the end of 2020, with plans to make the entire fleet Medallion class soon.

Check out where the MedallionClass™ ships are sailing here: Princess MedallionClass™.

OPTIONS FOR MEDALLION WEARABLES TO USE CRUISE WIFI AMENITIES

What Happens After Booking a MedallionClass™ Cruise?

After you’ve booked your MedallionClass™ cruise, download the OceanReady app on your phone and follow the instructions to have your OceanMedallions sent to you!. A lanyard is included, but you can also upgrade and request different wearable items.

If you don’t want to make the decision immediately, no worries! You can purchase wearables on the ship. The medallion is easy to pop in and out depending on your mood too. I went back and forth between the necklace and the sport wristband while Wesley preferred the lanyard.

PLAYING INTERACTIVE GAMES ON CRUISE SHIP WITH WIFI

My Medallion Arrived!

Yay! If you registered through the app at least a few weeks before the cruise, your medallions will be sent to your home. This is HUGE as it allows you to get everything in order for a super speedy embarkation. It took us less than 15 minutes to get onto the ship from the time our taxi dropped us off at the port. So convenient.

Pop into the app and make sure that all your details are filled out and you have green checkmarks next to the name of each passenger. Go ahead and pack up – you’re ready to cruise!

P.S. Not sure what to pack? Check out our super comprehensive cruise packing guide with free printable checklist!

Oh, and don’t forget to pack your Medallions!

SHOPPING WITH WIFI ENABLED MEDALLION ON CRUISE SHIP

Getting On Board

Getting onboard the ship is incredibly easy with your phone app and cruise medallion. You will speed through the line, tapping your Medallion to kiosks and confirming your identity. Make sure to stop for a picture before climbing aboard!

WINE ORDERED WITH WIFI ON CRUISE SHIP

I’m Onboard, Now What?

The first thing I like to do on any ship is orient myself with a map. You can do this two different ways. First, pull up the map on your phone with OceanCompass™! You’ll find that the Medallion will be able to show you exactly where you are on the ship, and how to get where you want to be.

Your other option is to walk up to one of the many interactive maps onboard. You can tap your Medallion and it will pull up all sorts of information from where you are, to where your guests are!

ORDERING CHAMPAGNE ON CRUISE SHIP WITH WIFI

How Do I Get Into My Room?

It may seem strange to be keyless at first, but I’ll tell you – second to the amazing wifi – it was my favorite thing. I am notorious for deactivating and losing key cards, so having it around my neck or wrist at all times was a lifesaver.

When you’re ready to head to your stateroom, just walk up to the door and the panel will recognize that you are there and will unlock and welcome you with a personalized greeting and a picture of your face.

I won’t lie, my husband and I got such a kick out of this that we went in and out of the room several times when we first arrived.

PIZZA ORDERED WITH CRUISE SHIP WIFI

Okay, I’m In – But Now I’m Hungry!

Fear not, hungry traveler! On the Medallion Class ship, food and drinks are that much easier. Find yourself a comfortable table or deck chair and order some delicious food directly to your table. I personally suggest the grilled chicken sandwiches and the pizza. Along with a margarita, of course.

The OceanMedallion can track your whereabouts, so the waitstaff can find exactly where you’re lounging by the pool for deliver your food and drinks. Cruising has just leveled up.

PRINCESS WEARABLE MEDALLION ON WRIST

Help! I Left My Medallion By the Pool – Or Maybe in the Casino?

No worries! That same technology that allows your waiter to find you by the pool makes it easy to track down dropped and lost medallions. That said, unless you took it off and forgot to put it back on, there’s little worry about it falling off on its own.

Only one person in our traveling group of twenty misplaced theirs during the trip, and no one’s fell off!

Okay, But Now Let’s Have Some Fun!

Whether it’s gambling on the interactive casino screens placed throughout the ship, using the screens on various levels for a virtual scavenger hunt, doing word puzzles while waiting for the elevator, or hanging on the pool deck racing fellow cruisers on the big screens, there are lots of ways to use and OceanCasino to have a good time. PlayOcean TM and OceanCasino TM to have a good time.

WEARING MY PRINCESS MEDALLION ON AN EXCURSION

Why Is Medallion Class Better?

Medallion Class makes Ocean Vacations more personal, immersive, simple and seamless than previously considered possible. At the heart of this personalized experience is the Ocean Medallion, which enables endless vacation possibilities.

The Ocean Medallion has no discernible technology – no on-off switch, no charging, no menu to navigate – and can be worn as a pendant on a wristband in a clip or simply placed in a pocket to reveal enhanced services and personalized experiences without guests having to push a button or take any action.

The pre-cruise engage will allow guests to provide preferences that detail their wants, needs and desires so that their onboard experience can be personalized.

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Internet access while on a cruise

    This article is a travel topic
Cruises can be a really fun time. There can be a lot to enjoy on and off the ship alike. At the same time, we live in an age where most of us want to be somehow connected. Whether you wish to sit on the deck of the ship chatting online with your friends, you want to send occasional emails to your family at home letting them know how you are doing, to share pictures via social media as you go, or if you must conduct some important business through telecommunications no matter where you are, all will come at a cost that could be quite hefty.

But cruises pose yet another challenge when it comes to accessing the internet. Not only will you have to address the cost of access on the ship out at sea, but very likely, one or more and possibly all ports of call will be in foreign countries. As most carriers will charge you to use your smartphones for internet access in a foreign country, you will have to separately address those fees if you wish to remain connected. See internet access while traveling abroad for more info on that topic.

The bottom line is, internet on a cruise is not cheap and is not the best in the world. If accessing the internet is necessary, which it is for many, planning in advance is key.

Contents

The basics of cruise ship internet [ edit ]

It is possible to access the internet on board a ships even when it is hundreds of miles out at sea, thanks to today’s technology. It is possible to do use one’s own WiFi-capable devices with the service. But for one who does not have their own device, most ships have no shortage of computers for your convenience.

There is a per minute fee to use the service, which on most lines is the same, regardless of whether you use the ship’s computer or your own device. Very typically, it is around $0.50-1.00 USD/minute when you pay for individual minutes. But you can get lower rates when you buy a package of minutes. Sometimes, such a package can reduce the cost per minute to as low as $0.20. Additionally, loyalty programs may earn some customers free minutes.

Internet access at sea is much slower and less reliable than on land. Cruise ship internet access works by sending a signal 22,000 miles to a satellite, then 22,000 miles again back to earth. This limits what applications can be used. Generally, high-data applications, such as video and VOIP services do not work.

Depending on the vessel, internet access may or may not be possible in your cabin. On some vessels, access is limited to selected hotspots. Even on vessels where access is possible in cabins, it may work in some cabins but not others, and the cruise line will not be able to provide this information to you in advance. And there is no cost difference to the cabin based on whether or not internet access is possible.

Be aware that when you are not using minutes, to avoid letting your minutes tick away, type logout.com in the address bar of your browser. If you fail to do this, even if you cut the WiFi signal, your minutes may still tick away.

Costs per minute of various cruise lines [ edit ]

The following are the costs per minute to access the internet on some major cruise lines. The information below is here to give you an overview and is not always up to date and is subject to change at any time at the discretion of the line, so check with the line prior to departure so there are no surprises, and update as necessary.

Cruise Line Per minute
price with
no package
Package 1 Package 2 Package 3 Package 4 Package 5 Package 6 Link to site Notes
Azamara 65¢ $9.95/15 minutes
(65¢/minute)
$18.95/30 minutes
(63¢/minute)
$26.95/45 minutes
(60¢/minute)
$47.95/85 minutes
(56¢/minute)
$79.95/150 minutes
(53¢/minute)
$99.95/235 minutes
(43¢/minute)
Azamara internet packages
Carnival 75¢ $16.50/30 minutes
(55¢/minute)
$24/60 minutes
(40¢/minute)
$55/100 minutes
(55¢/minute)
$100/250 minutes
(40¢/minute)
Carnival internet packages Packages 1&2 for cruises 1-5 days only; packages 3&4 for cruises 6+ days only
Celebrity 75¢ $24.95/38 minutes
(66¢/minute)
$49.95/90 minutes
(56¢/minute)
$99.95/208 minutes
(48¢/minute)
$199.95/555 minutes
(36¢/minute)
$399.95/1666 minutes
(24¢/minute)
Celebrity internet packages
Costa* 66¢ $13.19/60 minutes
(22¢/minute)
$31.52/180 minutes
(18¢/minute)
Crystal 74¢ $300/1500
(20¢/minute)
All customers receive 60 free minutes each day
Cunard* 75¢ $47.95/120 minutes
(40¢/minute)
$89.95/240 minutes
(37¢/minute)
$167.95/480 minutes
(35¢/minute)
Cunard internet packages
Disney 25¢/MB $19/200 MB
(19¢/MB)
$39/300 MB
(13¢/MB)
$80/1000 MB
(9¢/MB)
Disney internet packages Disney, unlike other lines, charges by the megabyte rather than the minute.
Holland America 75¢ $55/100 minutes
(55¢/minute)
$100/250 minutes
(40¢/minute)
$250/1000 minutes
(25¢/minute)
Holland America internet packages site does not list 1000-minute plan, which is available
Norwegian 75¢ $55/100 minutes
(55¢/minute)
$100/250 minutes
(40¢/minute)
Norwegian internet packages
Princess 75¢ $69/120 minutes
(58¢/minute)
$99/240 minutes
(41¢/minute)
$159/460 minutes
(34¢/minute)
$199/680 minutes
(29¢/minute)
$249/1100 minutes
(23¢/minute)
Princess internet packages Bonus minutes available with advance purchase
Royal Caribbean 65¢ $35/60 minutes
(58¢/minute)
$150/500 minutes
(30¢/minute)
Royal Caribbean now offers unlimited internet packages. See below for more details.

* Euro prices converted to US dollars

Notes about pricing [ edit ]

The per minute prices listed in parenthesis are only that low if 100% of minutes in package are used, and are higher if not all minutes are used.

Most lines will charge an additional one-time fee, often $3.95, to start using internet.

In addition to the packages listed above, many cruise lines have more packages than what is listed above, discounts, and ways of earning more minutes. Some lines have loyalty programs that allow a certain number of free minutes after a certain number of sailings. Others give additional minutes to what is listed in the package if purchased in advance or by a certain day.

A package can be shared by two or more travelers, and can even be used on multiple devices, but cannot be used by multiple people at the same time.

Most cruise lines charge the same price for internet, regardless of whether you use their own computer or a laptop, tablet, or smartphone that you brought from home.

Companies offering unlimited internet access [ edit ]

Royal Caribbean [ edit ]

Beginning in February 2015, Royal Caribbean began offering unlimited internet access for a fixed price. If purchased for each day until the end of the voyage, the daily fee is $20/daily for the first device associated with a stateroom and $10 for the second. If purchased for a single day, the daily fee is $39.95.

Ways to save minutes on a cruise ship [ edit ]

With minutes each costing so much, and the need to use them sparingly, there are ways you can save minutes.

For example, if you are checking and sending email, log on and let all your email download and become visible. Then log off. While offline, you can spend all the time you need writing your emails, and they will be saved in your outbox. When you are finished, log on again, and let your emails all send.

If you plan to read a web page, simply load that page. Then log off. After logging off, you will have plenty of time to read the page.

Other ways to access on a cruise ship [ edit ]

If you are on a cruise ship, your smartphone or data-enabled tablet may be able to access the internet. However, not all international data plans cover use on a cruise ship. Check with your carrier. Regardless, the device will most likely work. You will just be billed at the rate of $20/MB.

If the ship is in port or close enough to land, you may be able to utilize the land signal. On some routes, the ship will remain in close proximity of the land network, and with an international data plan, you can make use of the package you purchased. Likewise, if you have a Kindle, you may be able to reach the signal while out at sea.

If you are on a river cruise, the river will very likely be within close proximity of the land where there is a good chance there is a signal. If you have a device that has a plan with that country, you can use internet while on the vessel as much as the service allows.

In any case, you can obtain some form of access in port. If you have an international data package, you can use that while in the port in most countries. The Kindle may work in the port if it works in that country. And if you have a portable device, you may be able to find a WiFi zone while in port. Some ports even have their own WiFi access.

Accessing the internet while off the ship [ edit ]

If you choose to access the internet while off of the ship, you may have to purchase a separate plan, as there is a good chance you will be in a foreign country, and use of your device will come at a higher cost. It may be optimal to forego internet access on the ship and limit usage to land, especially if you can do without full time access and you don’t mind limiting yourself to the ports. In many cases, data plans for land will cost less than minutes packages at sea, making this the cheaper option. Additionally, some ports have free wifi.

Why is internet access on a cruise ship so expensive? [ edit ]

Industry experts have questioned the high price of internet access on the vessel while out at sea, which on most lines is billed by the minute. While it is true that it depends on the satellite and is a slower signal, other modes of transportation, such as planes, trains, and buses, offer Wi-Fi via the same technology for little or nothing.

A major reason that is believed by experts is the lack of competition. The cruise line’s signal, arranged through a company that has little competition itself, is the only method of connecting while at sea. Even a smartphone that establishes its own connection runs through this service. Cruise lines are therefore able to charge as much as they wish, seeing this as a means of additional profit. And it is not to the cruise line’s advantage to offer data plans on one’s carrier or via a rented device or SIM card from another company at a lower price when they have this means of profit available to them.

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WIFI on Cruise Ships: Onboard Internet Access Complete Guide

Wifi On a Cruise

Cruising can be a great holiday option. During the summer, millions of people have a cruise vacation. But then you may ask:

Is there WiFi on cruise ships?

The answer is YES!

Getting WiFi on a cruise is possible.

One of the great pleasure on cruising is disconnecting from all the bustles and hustles of everyday lives. You can also turn off an iPhone and a laptop while you are on holiday.

But then staying connected is still important. Even in the middle of the sea, you need an internet connection. The internet access is inevitable in our lives.

You may pay more than you thought for emails, Facebook and Skype in your previous cruise. The problem is that getting WiFi on cruise ships is costly. This time, you are looking for something better.

If so, you are in the right place.

In this article, you will find detailed information on how to get the best service on WiFi.

Different cruise lines have different services. We will introduce you leading cruise lines which offer innovative WiFi service at sea.

We will also explain how WiFi works at sea as easy as possible. You need to set up your iPhone.

Prepare your cruise in advance and maximise your vacation! This article will help you save money and prepare a WiFi connection on cruise ships ‘before you leave home’.

Is there WiFi on cruise ships?

In modern cruise ships, internet access is available through WiFi. When you are in the middle of the sea, even hundreds of miles away from the shore, you can have an internet connection on a cruise ship.

The cruise lines provide internet service through WiFi onboard. You can stay connected with your personal computer, iPhone, iPad and smartphone at the internet point. Let your family and friends know how you are and how things are going on.

The internet experience onboard is poor in comparison to land use. WiFi on a cruise is also slow, and yet it is high priced.

It usually costs about less than $1.00 USD per minute if you select a minute to pay for internet onboard. It is fairly expensive. This is why you need to know about the cruise lines’ WiFi packages. You can reduce the cost as low as $0.20 per minute.

Connecting the Internet with WiFi at Sea

Getting WiFi for internet access is costly at sea. This is because there is no competition in the industry. The situation now is much improved than before. The internet connection was unreliable and was costly.

Good news is that some cruise lines are changing the scenery. What they have changed are:

  • Implementing the system for high-speed service.
  • The price is also getting more affordable.

Many cruise ships now have their own brand apps. Family cruisers and couples can talk to each other on the ship. Or have you got new friends on the ship? That’s great. High-bandwidth WiFi makes communication at sea much easier than before.

First, let’s find out the WiFi service the cruise lines offers. You can compare the prices and pick up the best for you. Then set up your iPhone before you set sail.

A Cruise Ship in Santorini, Greece - WIFI on a Cruise: Onboard Internet Access (Complete Guide)

1. Wifi on cruise ships at Carnival

Carnival Cruise’s internet pricing is currently one of the best in the industry. Carnival currently has the world’s largest maritime satellite network. All Carnival Cruise fleets can provide internet service through satellite connection.

Carnival offers 3 WiFi plans (source).

The Social Plan
To access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not for email, Skype or other internet pages to explore.
Fees: $8 per day

The Value Plan
Includes full website and email access.
Fees: $16 per day

The Premium Plan
Fastest internet access. Skype and music streaming are available.
Fees: $25 per day

  • If you only use WiFi for social media and do not need to check email and websites, the Social Plan is the best.
  • If you need to explore the websites and email, you need the Value Plan. The Premium Plan is 3 times faster than the Social Plan and the Value Plan.
  • If you purchase the WiFi plan Carnival’s online in advance, you can save 20% off. You may receive this discount if you purchase the package on the embarkation day. Check it out with your cruise line.

*Prices are subject to change at any time.

2. WiFi on cruise ships at Disney

Disney Cruise Line offers a WiFi service called Connect@Sea. You pay for the megabytes you use. Disney does not have a service for an unlimited per day WiFi usage.

Disney offers 3 WiFi plans. Disney WiFi costs:

Pay as You Go
You can set a spending limit to prevent overspending or prevent to turn off the WiFi after the usage.
Fees: $0.25 per minutes

Small Package
100 MB
Fees: $19

Medium Package
300 MB
Fees: $39

Large Package
1000 MB
Fees: $89

Disney’s Connect@Sea packages can be a little tricky. The WiFi service is based on megabytes you use. You might not know how long you can be connected for 100 MB.

I tried a data usage calculator. It says you can explore website browsing for 4 hours with 100 MB (source).

Disney gives you 50MB for free on the first night of the cruise as a trial. So sign up for it ‘before you leave home’.

Why before you leave home?

There are two important points you need to keep in mind:

  1. You need to add Disney’s app for the WiFi connection on the ship. While you set up the app, you use the megabytes you purchased or free service for it. While you enjoy websites or checking out your emails, you are wasting megabytes you bought for setting up. So do the set up not on the ship but at home.
  2. 50MB will end less than 10 minutes if you did not set up your iPhone properly in advance. Work on it while you have WiFi at home. I will also show you how to do it little later in this article.

*Prices are subject to change at any time.

WiFi Pricing summary

  • Carnival – The Value Plan – $16 per day
  • Royal Caribbean – Voom Surf – $12.99 per device and per day. Find out everything about Royal Caribbean internet package. See whether it may change your cruise vacation.
  • Disney – Medium Package 100 MB for $19

Other cruise lines on WiFi service pricing (source)

  • WiFi on Princess Cruise – $99 for 240 minutes
  • WiFi on Norwegian Cruise Line – $100 for 250 minutes
  • WiFi on Celebrity Cruise – $99 for 208 minutes

Cruise Ship WiFi Hack

Why is Internet Access on Cruise Ships so Expensive?

The internet access service is fairly expensive on board. The cruise lines are getting aware of the needs of internet access. High-speed internet is the key to attract millennials cruisers.

If cruise lines want to attract the millennials, it is inevitable to implement high-speed internet system on the ships.

Is There Free WiFi on Cruise Ships?

Luxury cruise lines offer WiFi service for free. Not all the luxury cruise lines but Regent Seven Seas and Crystal do provide. Viking is currently receiving a lot of consumer attention. Their service is innovative. Unlimited free WiFi service cannot be found in any mainstream and hi-end cruise lines.

  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer a free unlimited WiFi that will be accessible anywhere onboard (source).
  • Crystal Cruises provide complimentary WiFi service, but Skype is not available (source).
  • Viking Cruises offers unlimited WiFi usage with free for charge. (source)
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is a mainstream cruise line and offers a 60 minutes free wifi on cruise ships. At Norwegian, every new booking will receive a 60-minute data package per person.

How to get free WiFi on a Cruise Ship

1. Get on a port and find a WiFi signal

When the ship docks in the port. You can usually get a free WiFi land signal. Find crews. At the port lounge, they are using the cruise port’s free WiFi network. It is much much faster than WiFi on the ship!

It takes some time to make a queue for disembarkation and get out the ship. If you stay on the ship, you can still try the signal at your cabin. If you can’t, go to an open deck and find a WiFi signal at the ship’s port side.

Cruise Insider Tips: Cruise staffs know all the free WiFi hot spots on the ship as well as at the ports.

Have you seen that they are getting out of the ship with an iPhone or a laptop? This is for free WiFi at ports. You can ask them nicely. They’ll be more than happiest to share all the good hotspots.

2. Enjoy a Drink Whilst You Check Emails

Many cafes and bars in ports offer free WiFi. The connection is much faster than on the ship. Try your coffee, beer or some cocktail while you enjoy the landscape around. You can also check out Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter and let your loved ones how your cruise is going on.

3. Check out Loyalty Programs

Cruise lines have loyalty programmes. Their returning guests can receive a benefit. Free Wifi can be one of them. Check out what benefit you can have. Many people do not realise what they are actually entitled to receive the service.

Wifi Tips and Tricks at Sea

Setting up your phone is important before you use the WiFi service at sea. Make sure that your devices are powered up and prepared before leave home.

Preparing Before You Leave Home

1. Tell your phone company

Never go abroad without telling your phone company. It prevents unexpected massive roaming charges. You do not need to receive a security message. They might suspect that your phone was stolen. Let them know which countries you are visiting. You might find a good service while you travel.

2. Pre-Purchase a WiFi Package

The WiFi packages are now available to pre-purchase online before you leave home.

  • You can get a 15 to 20 % discount.
  • You can set up your cruise line’s app which enables you to access the internet through WiFi.
  • You do not need to consume megabyte you paid for setting up the app on the ship. Set up while you have a free WiFi connection or at home.

If you buy the internet plan before your cruise, be aware of risks.

  • The cruise ships’ WiFi is a satellite rather than cellular service for the connection. When it is bad weather, the internet connection becomes weak. Or I had no signal when the ship was facing rough sea as well as a typhoon in Australia and in Asia.
  • The WiFi might get weak or no signal at your cabin. The router is normally situated on the internet desk near the reception. If you need to work at your cabin with the internet, it is good to book a cabin nearby and which I do.

3. VPN

Free WiFi is everywhere at ports or in town. One thing I would remind you is:

It is very important not to access your bank account or other important personal information with free WiFi.

I use a VPN to protect personal information and from malware while I travel. It is also good to receive a discount when I book a flight ticket.

Carnival clearly mentions that VPN connections are not supported on the ship. You may need to talk to your company’s IT department and check out the setting at sea.

4. Set Up Apps

You can download your ship’s apps into your devices to connect the WiFi on the ship. You need to set this up before you leave home or while you still have free WiFi access. So that you can save money and time. This pre-setting up prevents from consuming minutes or megabyte data you paid.

5. Set Up your phone

First, verify the connection settings of your iPhone, iPad or smartphone to improve your onboard WiFi experience.

Second, automatic updates of your PC, iPad or iPhone will consume a lot of data. You need to set them up for a cruise. The browsing speed gets faster. Hence the price for the connection decreases.

6. Prevent from automatically uploading on iPhone and Mac

You can disable the certain setting on your iPhone. You can save money. If you do not work on the setting properly, you will finish 50 MB within less than 10 minutes.

Once you get off the ship, turn them back as they were before. But please keep antivirus app on if you have.

  • Software Updates (Software Update > Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Uncheck Auto Update)
  • My Photo Stream (Settings > Photo & Camera)
  • iTunes Disable auto updates (Settings > iTunes & App Store)
  • Location Services (Settings > Privacy)
  • iCloud Backup (Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup)
    Important: if you are using iCloud Backup, remind you to turn it back after you get off the ship. Otherwise, you would lose a lot of pictures.
  • Mac Book Automatically check for Updates (System Preferences > App Store > Uncheck Automatically check for Updates)

What to Do with WiFi on Cruise Ships

You can organise and set up to improve the internet experience on board. There are some tips for it.

1. Go into ‘Airplane’ mode

As soon as you get on the ship, put your phone into ‘Airplane’ mode. This will assure that you will not get roaming charges from your mobile career.

No worries. You can use WiFi with Aeroplane mode. But when you use cellular service, you need to turn off Aeroplane mode.

2. Find the best time for the connection

Satellite internet speed is different depending on the time of the day.

It is much faster from 5 am to 8 am as well as after midnight. I also found the dinner time from 7 to 9 pm is fast. Daytime is always a peak time. Internet loading time is very slow.

3. Set up your phone and save money

You may not aware but there are background applications on your devices. Turn off the background app if you have on a phone. In doing so, you keep fast loading speed. Otherwise 50 MB you get for free from the cruise line, for example, will be finished within about 5 minutes. But keep antivirus app though if you have.

  • Prevents Background apps from refreshing it automatically
    Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh)

4. Remember to turn off WiFi and log out

You have decided which WiFi plan you are going to use. Downloaded the cruise line’s apps and set up your phone. You have also set up your phone properly. You are ready to have a nice WiFi experience at sea and can save money.

But if you forget to turn off WiFi on the ship. You will all lose the money paid for it overnight. So.. it is very important to remember to log out of your internet session each time.

Remember to turn off WiFi and log out whenever you finished an internet session.

If you forget to do these two things, ‘turn off’ and ‘log out’, even if you turn off the WiFi signal, you lose your minutes. To be honest with you… I made that mistake once before. So, now you do not need to do the same.

5. Save minutes and megabytes

If you selected Pay as you Go or minutes pay, each minute is costing. It is quite expensive. Find ways to save minutes as follow.

For emails:

  • Turn on WiFi and Log on the internet.
  • Download your emails.
  • Check out all the texts are visible properly.
  • Turn off WiFi and log out the connection.
  • Check out your emails and write replies.
  • When you finished writing, turn on WiFi and log on the internet.

For web browsing:

  • Once you loaded the web page, turn off WiFi and log out.
  • Enjoy reading it.

6. Limit what you download

You can choose what you download and limit downloading videos and music files. Skype with a video also consumes a lot of data. A voice chat over Skype is much better. This is how I talk with my family at sea.

You may buy unlimited high-speed WiFi services, Royal Caribbean’s Voom Surf and Stream. In that case, you do not need to think of the limit.

Conclusion

Whether you are a heavy internet user or only for occasionally need to access social media, you need WiFi on a cruise. First, you need to learn which package is the best for your cruise vacation. Set up your device for better internet experience on board. You can do this all before you leave home and save money and time. Once you are ready with WiFi setting for a next cruise, check out more cruise tips. Make your cruise much better this time!

You may enjoy reading on:

Next Reading >> 10 Things You Need to Prepare for the Embarkation Day

>> 9 Things to Prevent Motion Thickness before You Get on the Ship

>> Cruise Drink Package at Carnival

>> Royal Caribbean WiFi Internet Package

How do you find WiFi on a Cruise: Onboard Internet Access in this article? If you find this article useful, please share it with your friends and help them on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Sharing is caring. Thank you for reading!

Staying Connected with WiFi on Cruise Ships

Akiko Morita

Cruise Geo author photoAkiko is a cruise expert and founder of Cruise Geo, a blog about cruise port guides, destinations and cruise tips. She has been travelling the world as a photo/videographer professionally since 2013. Cruise Geo is aimed at helping readers cruise more and longer in order to achieve their dream trips around the world.

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Wi-Fi Aboard a Cruise Ship and How Much it Costs

Most of us are so connected to the internet that it’s hard to imagine going a week or more without it. Even though you are going on a cruise and want to get away from it all, sometimes you just need to check your email, see a website, or download an important file.

Fortunately, using Wi-Fi with your laptop or tablet has never been easier on cruise ships. Almost every cruise ship from a major cruise line like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Holland America has Wi-Fi and allows you to access the internet for a fee.

Wifi Fees

Wi-Fi is available on most cruise ships but it is not usually free. But they make things simple for you and just charge all of your internet usage fees to your room card. So how much does it cost you?

Well every cruise line charges different rates. You can per per minute, but it is much cheaper just to buy a package of minutes and then use them wisely. Keep in mind that you can use these minutes to surf the web on your own laptop or at the internet cafes on the ship.

Royal Caribbean Wi-Fi Rates:

$.65 per minute or…

$35 for 60 minutes
$55 for 100 minutes
$75 for 150 minutes
$100 for 250 minutes
$150 for 500 minutes

Carnival Wi-Fi Rates:

$3.95 one-time connection fee for your first login.

Longer Cruises (6 days and longer)
• 250 minutes for $100.00
• 100 minutes for $55.00
• Pay As You Go: $0.75/min

Shorter Cruises (5 days and shorter)
• 60 minutes for $24.00
• 30 minutes for $16.50
• Pay As You Go: $0.75/min

*At the internet café on Carnival ships you can pay just $.50 per page viewed, which is only a good option if you need to read a long email or will not have to surf a lot of web pages.

Norwegian Cruise Line Rates:

$.75 per minute or…

Longer Cruise (6 days and longer) Time Package Plans:

  • 250 minutes for $100 ($0.40 per minute)
  • 100 minutes for $55 ($0.55 per minute)
  • Pay as you go $0.75 per minute

Short Cruise (5 days and shorter) Time Package Plans:

  • 60 minutes for $24 ($0.40 per minute)
  • 30 minutes for $16.50 ($0.55 per minute)
  • Pay as you go $0.75 per minute

*Activation Fee of $3.95 for initial log-in only.

Printing costs $.50 per page.

Norwegian sometimes has laptops you can rent as well, but these are not always available.

Internet Speed

Keep in mind that you are accessing the internet via satellite on these ships and it will not be the same speed you are used to at home. Don’t expect to be able to download movies in the blink of an eye and use Skype with perfect clarity. In fact, if you do decide to do some heavy internet downloading you will end up slowing down the connection for everyone. This is why certain times of day are very slow for the internet because the more people that are using it the slower the connection speed will be. Some of the newer cruise ships have better technology with their Wi-Fi, but don’t expect blazing fast speeds while you’re on the high seas.

Most cruise ships also have an internet café with a few desktops that you can use to access the internet as well, but the rates are the same for using Wi-Fi. So if you bring your laptop you should be able to access the internet from your room. But depending on where your room is in relation to where the router is will make a difference in your connection speed as well.

Learn the cruise secrets most people don’t know and cruise like a boss. Check out Intelligent Cruiser here for a better cruise vacation. (Sponsored)

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Yes, the Internet on Cruise Ships Is Getting Better — Really

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For most of the many years I’ve been writing about cruising, the typical internet connection at sea hasn’t just been slow. It’s been glacial. You’d click on a website only to experience many seconds of frustration. Maybe the page would come up. Maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe the cruise would end while you were still sitting there.

Meanwhile, you were paying a small fortune for the privilege of giving it a try. The base rate for Wi-Fi on many ships for years started around 75 cents a minute. That’s $45 for a single hour online!

But we have good news for those of you who assume the only way to stay in touch with home from a cruise ship is via a message in a bottle: The Wi-Fi connection on ships has been getting faster at a rapid rate — and cheaper, too.

While checking emails and surfing the web on some vessels still requires the patience of Job, on-board technological improvements on many ships combined with new satellite and direct ship-to-shore systems is making the internet experience at sea much more like what you find on land (or even in the air).

On some ships, the signal has become so much faster you now can stream Netflix from the comfort of your cabin — something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

If you’re booking a cruise and wondering about your connectivity, here are five things to know before you set sail.

Cruise Wi-Fi Will Never Be as Fast (or Reliable) as Home

There is no Comcast cable wire running to your cruise ship. That should be obvious, right? We’re pretty sure it is. Except that I routinely encounter people on ships who don’t understand why the internet can’t be as fast as it is at their home, where they probably have a hard wire bringing it in at speeds of 50, 100 or even 200 megabits per second.

On cruise ships, every packet of data you are downloading onto your phone or computer, for the most part, is coming over a satellite, which is not a simple or inexpensive proposition.

There are maritime communication companies that specialize in providing internet connections to ships, and in recent years, they’ve been speeding things up by adding more satellites and linking their systems to land-based towers that connect with ships as they near shore.

Cruise ship night

There have been major speed improvements in internet on cruise ships over the years but there is still work to do. (Photo by anthony metcalfe / Unsplash)

But, in the end, there are limits to just how well a satellite system can work. For starters, a ship needs a clear “line of sight” to a satellite to exchange data, something that isn’t always the case. Vessels traveling through the famed Norwegian fjords, for instance, can lose their satellite signal due to the height of surrounding mountains. And there are certain parts of the world where satellite coverage is too thin or nonexistent to allow for internet access. Last year, during a sailing in the Russian Arctic on a Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ship, I was forced to live without internet for a good part of a week due to a lack of satellite coverage in the area (something, I must say, was kind of wonderful).

But It Is Getting Much Faster

New satellite systems, paired with multimillion-dollar investments in shipboard technology, really are making things better in a big way. A turning point came in 2014, when cruise giant Royal Caribbean partnered with satellite company O3b Networks to create a new on-board internet system that it claimed was six times faster than anything else at sea. Called Voom, the system tapped into new Medium Earth Orbit satellites operated by O3b that can shoot their beams directly at ships as they move.

Speed tests run by the cruise site Cruzely.com in 2018 found Voom allowed for downloading at 3 to 5 megabits per second. While still significantly slower than many home connections, that’s fast enough to enjoy Netflix and other streaming video services.

cruise ship around corner

You won’t get the same speeds as home but cruise ship internet is improving over time. (Photo by vidar nordli mathisen / Unsplash)

Royal Caribbean still claims the Wi-Fi speed on its ships is six times faster than on any other cruise vessel. But we’re a bit skeptical, given the catch-up we’ve seen at other lines. Carnival Cruise Line has begun touting internet connections fast enough to support Netflix streaming, too, on some of its ships. The company uses a hybrid system that combines faster satellite connections at sea with a network of less-expensive land-based towers that take over as its vessels near coastal areas.

On a recent sailing on one of the Carnival ships outfitted for faster internet, Carnival Sunrise, I did notice a significant improvement in speed. But as I wrote in May, the promised access to Netflix streaming wasn’t quite as smooth as I had hoped. Clicking on a favorite show, I only could watch for a few minutes before the connection inevitably froze.

And It’s Becoming More Affordable

At many lines, the old pay-by-the-minute system that could leave even modest internet users with sky-high bills is giving way to simpler and more affordable “all you can browse” plans. The highest-speed version of Royal Caribbean’s Voom connection currently costs $19.99 per day for one device. In the old days of 75 cents-a-minute pricing, that same amount of money would have gotten you just 27 minutes of web time. Royal Caribbean also offers a slower-speed version of Voom that can’t support streaming for $15.99 per day for one device. For both packages, there are discounts for adding more devices.

Another line bringing down costs dramatically is Carnival. At the very low end, it now offers a Social Wi-Fi plan that allows access to all the key social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) as well as messaging services such as WhatsApp, for just $8 a day. A slightly more expensive Value Wi-Fi plan, at $12 per day, adds access to email and most websites. The line’s top-tier Premium Wi-Fi plan, at $17 per day, triples the speed of the Value plan and adds access to VoIP calling on messaging apps and Skype (but not FaceTime). Passengers who pay for a plan in advance of sailing get a 15% discount. That knocks the price of the top-tier Premium plan to just $14.45 per day.

But perhaps the biggest development in cruise internet costs in recent years is that many higher-end lines have begun offering internet access for — get this — free. Viking Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea are among lines now including unlimited internet time in the base cost of a voyage. At some of these lines, such as Regent, you can pay extra for faster service.

(Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP / Getty Images)

Viking Cruises and a few other carries are even offering FREE internet onboard some cruises. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP / Getty Images)

Another way to get free internet time on ships is to join cruise line loyalty programs. Many offer at least a few hours of free internet per voyage to customers who hit mid- to upper-tier levels. At Princess Cruises, for instance, customers can get 150 to 500 minutes of free internet time per voyage, depending on the voyage length, after reaching the Platinum level in the line’s Captain’s Circle loyalty program (to qualify, you’ll need to complete either six cruises, or 51 cruise days). At Celebrity Cruises, the top Zenith tier in the line’s Captain’s Club loyalty program comes with unlimited free internet.

Apps Offer an Alternative to Paid Wi-Fi

In recent years, a growing number of cruise lines have rolled out free apps for your phone that will let you make reservations for on-board restaurants, spa treatments and other services without ever leaving your Lido Deck lounge chair. On some ships operated by Carnival, you even can order beer and pizza to wherever you happen to be using an app.

(Photo by mtcurado / Getty Images)

On Carnival cruises, you can order pizza and beer wherever you are on the ship. (Photo by mtcurado / Getty Images)

Many of these apps also will show you a schedule of daily activities, offer ship deck plans and sometimes port maps to help you get around, and let you check your onboard account statement in real time. On one of Celebrity Cruises’ newest ships, Celebrity Edge, you even can use an app to remotely open your cabin door, change channels on the television and turn off the lights.

While all these apps work off the Wi-Fi systems on ships, the good news is they don’t require the purchase of a plan to use. Nor do they come with any other sort of fee — at least for most features. At Carnival, you’ll pay $5 per cruise to add a “chat” feature to the line’s otherwise free HUB app that will let you communicate via text-like messages with other app-enabled passengers. Norwegian Cruise Line also requires passengers to pay a fee (currently $9.95 per cruise) to use a messaging and calling feature of its Cruise Norwegian app.

Use Airplane Mode to Avoid Unwanted Charges

Whether or not you’re purchasing a Wi-Fi plan on a ship, I have one very strong piece of advice: Put your phone in airplane mode the moment you step on board the vessel and leave it that way for the duration of the sailing. This is the safest way to avoid unwanted data charges, which can be enormous. (Remember the story of a family that recently racked up $14,000 in data charges on a cruise?)

As many cruisers have found the hard way, international phone plans such as AT&T’s $10-a-day International Day Pass do not apply to cruise ships at sea. If you let your AT&T phone roam while you’re on a vessel, you’ll pay an exorbitant $6.14 per megabyte of data — even if your base plan at home offers you unlimited data. You’ll also pay $3 per minute to make a call, $0.50 per text and $1.30 to send a photo. All that adds up very quickly.

(Photo by dimarik / Getty Images)

It’s a smart idea to keep Airplane mode on your phone to avoid any unnecessary surcharges. (Photo by dimarik / Getty Images)

AT&T does offer a “cruise talk, text and data” plan for a flat fee of $100 that allows unlimited talk and text during sailings up to 30 days in duration. But it only comes with 200 megabytes of data, with any overage billing at a still-hefty $2 per megabyte. It’s also not available on every ship. As of this month, about 170 vessels are part of the program.

If you insist on leaving your cellular service on during a cruise, you should at least disable any apps running in the background (as they’ll be eating up data, and running up your bill) and disable email auto-check.

Personally, I find it easier to just hit the airplane mode button. Once in airplane mode, I reactivate the Wi-Fi feature on my phone to access the ship’s Wi-Fi, and sign up for a shipboard plan that will let me stay in touch by email or a VoIP service like WhatsApp.

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