In the ever growing digital age, access to the Internet is becoming increasingly important. Laptops, smart phones and iPads mean we can access our emails, the Internet and our office desktop at the click of a button, and they are common place onboard ships these days.
Though Wi-Fi access probably won't be the main consideration when picking a cruise holiday, it may be useful to know who offers it, where you can gain access, and what the cost is when planning your holiday. Whether a workaholic or keeping in touch with friends and family, being online for some people is a must.
Internet costs onboard cruise ships can seem a little inflated and this is because ships connect to the outside world via satellite, which is more costly than the copper wires running into most homes. Connection is also weather dependent and will sometimes be turned off from the bridge. Fortunately you are on a cruise ship to relax, enjoy the hospitality and visit great destinations, therefore having access is a bonus.
Most cruise ships have offered Internet cafes or Internet access in their libraries for quite some time, but due to increased demand Wi-Fi connections onboard are increasingly popular. On some ships, such as Azamara, you can access the Wi-Fi network throughout the ship, other cruise lines access may be limited to hotspots (certain lounges or decks) and some even include access in your stateroom or suite.
If you are lucky you may be given limited free access from your suite, or for reaching a certain level with the cruise line's loyalty program, though generally you will be using the Internet on a pay as you play basis. Some cruise lines offer packages — Celebrity Cruises offer 100 minutes for $70 and 500 minutes for $250 — here is a run down of the basic costs of keeping in touch on your cruise:
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