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Wi-Fi And Roaming — Staying In Touch On Your Cruise

24th August 2012

Updated October 2017



Mobile Phone Data Roaming In The EU

As of June 2017 the European Commission announced an end to roaming charges in the EU. Meaning that mobile phone users travelling in the EU will now pay the same price that they pay at home, with no extra or hidden charges. This is great news and eliminates the chances of returning home to a hefty mobile phone bill after your holiday. Some non-EU countries (e.g Norway, Switzerland, Turkey) are not included in the new agreement and mobile phone use in these countires may still incur an extra charge. However the good news is that most large network operators have decided to include these countries in the single market for mobile communications. If you are unsure which countires are included in your deal, check with your provider before you travel.

With Britiain set to leave the EU as a result of the 2016 referendum there is uncertainty as to whether or not the current agreement will remain. Therefor we suggest you always check the latest price guidance before you travel.

 

using tablet on a cruise

 

Cruise Ship Wi-Fi Packages and Costs

Cruise ship Wi-Fi can be a convenient benefit on your holiday. As long as the ship has satellite signal you can browse and upload to your hearts content. Unfortunately the cost and the speed of Wi-Fi at sea can sometimes leave little to be desired, but the good news is that most cruise lines respond to this feedback by consistently working to improve their connectivity offerings.

As the need for connectivity varies, so do the Wi-Fi packages that are available for purchase. Keen Instagrammers or social media savvy cruisers can often now opt for a simple social package. Those who require more time online can check out the more comprehensive connection packages at sea.

Below is a guide to the package prices* from some our most popular cruise lines:

 

Carnival Social Wi-Fi Plan (from $5 per day), Value Wi-Fi Plan (from $12 per day), Premium Wi-Fi Plan (from $17.70 per day)
Celebrity Cruises Xcelerate unlimited packages from $140 pp for 5-9 day cruises and from $199 pp for 10+ day sailings
Cunard Line From $45 for 120 minutes of satellite internet credit
Disney Cruise Line Connect@Sea Packages from $25 per MB PAYG. Small package from $19 per 100 MB, Large package from $89 per 1000 MB
Fred. Olsen From £13 for 30 minutes PAYG or £41 for 120 minutes. From £10 per day for 5 days continuous access
MSC Cruises Social Package from $4.50 per day, the Surfer Package from $11 per day and the Streamer Package from $22 per day
NCL Ultimate Cruise Plan from $29.99 per day for voyages of 1-12 days and various other packages available
P&O Cruises The Connect Package (ideal for social media) from £7.75 for 24 hours. The Browse Package from £12.50 for 24 hours. The Works from £24.95 for 24 hours
Princess Cruises From $69 for 120 minutes , from $99 for 240 minutes, from $159 for 460 minutes or from $199 for 680 minutes
Royal Caribbean Surf from $9.99 per device or Surf + Stream from $14.99 per device

*These prices are meant as an indication of cost as cruise lines can change their pricing at any time. Please check with your cruise line at the time of booking for live prices.

See more cruise line Wi-Fi packages detailed here.

 

Top Tip for using Wi-Fi at sea

Why not spend your free time at sea preparing your images, writing you draft tweets and offline blog updates, and actually do the online sending when you're in port? In some ports you may even find cafes and bars with free Wi-Fi, which is a win-win situation — enjoy a good coffee in the sun while uploading your photos without the worry of how much data you are using.


All Inclusive Drinks Packages, Are They A Good Thing?

23rd August 2012

All-inclusive drinks packages are becoming increasingly popular onboard ships as cruisers look to keep tabs on their spending. But, are these packages value for money and good for cruising?

We now live in a society where responsible drinking is encouraged and getting legless on holiday is seen as crass, inappropriate behaviour. But will an endless supply of booze take us back to the Costa de Sol of the 90s, or will it mean people can enjoy their cocktails and cold beers in a more relaxed way?

Drinks Packages

Drinks packages on cruise ships are not a new thing — Thomson have been offering all-inclusive upgrades for years and sister line, Island Cruises, are going all-inclusive full stop come 2013. Most major cruise lines have offered soft drinks packages in the past, usually consisting of one price for a cruise worth of soda, fruit juice and mocktails. In general these deals aren't often abused and even if they are, the sugar wears off eventually. So, could the adult-only drinks deals offer a sensible, good value way to enjoy your cruise onboard?

At a glance the all-inclusive options range from ship-wide, to cabin. The per cabin deals usually stipulate everyone staying in the cabin has to purchase the package, and sometimes everyone in the party— this is to stop people trying to buy it once and then get drinks for several people, which is smart. The prices vary too, from £24 per person per day for wine and beer with your meals, to $71 pppd for unlimited premium drinks by the glass.

Value For Money?

Value for money really comes down to how much you would normally spend onboard, what you usually drink and how much you value not having to second guess your bar bill at the end of the cruise. Some people will happily enjoy a couple of glasses of wine during lunch, a cold beer by the pool, a couple more glasses of wine during dinner and a cocktail in the evening, and they will gain exceptional value for money.

The route Fred. Olsen has taken is to offer a selection of all-inclusive cruises, where house wine, beers and spirits are included. This is similar to Island Cruises, who will offer the same on all their cruises circa April '13. With the cruise fares not rising by huge costs, this amounts to great value as your only worries onboard are the shops, shore excursions and luxury drink items.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania and MSC Cruises have all gone down the route of offering cruise packages. MSC are the only cruise line offering the dinner only package, which is $24 pppd. The main packages include house wines, beers, house cocktails and spirits on an unlimited basis. So if you like a drink at $40-$50 pppd, these are good value, as five cocktails in a day can set you back nearly $50 and you are on holiday after all.

There are also a few premium packages, which don't include wine by the bottle, but do include more premium wines by the glass as well as premium spirits and cocktails, these usually give you 25% off decent bottle of wine or fizz. So if you prefer the finer things in life — in moderation of course — but don't want to scrutinize your bill at the end of the cruise, the $70-odd pppd, actually works out good value too — premium cocktails, such as a decent Martini, can cost your $15 a go onboard some ships.

Personally I think these packages are a good idea, and the next cruise I am on offering them, I will most likely be taking advantage. These deals aren't designed for people looking to "drink their money's worth", they are designed to help you kick back and relax on your cruise and are priced to reflect the quality of drinks you can enjoy, as opposed to the quantity.

Cruise lines are trying to appeal to the variety of audiences they have onboard these days, and during a time of supposed austerity, paying one price for a week's worth of drinks on your cruise is going to appeal to the mass markets. Well done to the cruise lines for recognising it, but fingers crossed the old Costa del Sol crew will stick to their cheap hotels, Linekar bars and Spanish beaches.

Here's a selection of 2013 all inclusive cruises, just in case they take your fancy.


Transatlantic Queen Mary 2 Style

1st August 2011

Updated July 2019

Being a fan of shopping in New York, Simone Clark - Iglu's Head of Global Supply - decided to try a Transatlantic cruise as opposed to flying to this fantastic destination. Find out how she got on.

I enjoyed my first Transatlantic crossing onboard Queen Mary 2, but before boarding I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Would I get bored? What was there to do? Would it be claustrophobic? On previous cruises, I've always preferred the port days over the sea days, so this was going to be a real test.

 

 

No Airport

I stayed in an extremely hot and humid New York City for five days of shopping, exploring, and sight seeing (I also got to see the Independence Day fireworks!) So it was superb to not have to waste a day transferring to the airport, then lugging cases around before flying overnight and coming back tired and jet lagged. Instead, I took a taxi from the hotel direct to Manhattan Pier in 55th street, and was in my cabin within the hour sipping on champagne! (Note: Usually the ship sails from Brooklyn but we sailed from Manhattan as a Princess Cruises ship was in port).

 

independence day new york

 

Spectacular Sail Away

Queen Mary 2 felt like an oasis right next to the hubbub of the city. We sailed away in the sunshine at 5 o'clock after a relaxed lunch. I'll never forget it — the most spectacular sailaway ever. We passed the towering skyscrapers of midtown and lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey on the other shores, and then right past the Statue of Liberty before squeezing under the low Verrazano bridge and out to sea. Then we were en route to Southampton, with no land to be seen for the duration of seven days.

 

Queen Mary 2 in NY

 

What to do

There's so much to do on a Transatlantic cruise - there's something for everyone.

For me it was a big learning exercise as I decided to attend all the lectures in the Illuminations Theatre, of which there were two or three every day! I became an expert in espionage and counter-surveillance, cracking the Enigma Code, Beatrix Potter, and the Solar System. I also found time to attend talks from the celebrity speaker and broadcaster Nicholas Owen — and attend two Planetarium shows*. Not only this, but I enjoyed two RADA productions - Hamlet and the Canterbury Tales - and then spent time in the gym and went jogging on the Promenade deck (3 laps = 1 mile). We had some glorious sunshine on a couple of days, so we relaxed on deck and on our private balcony. We also had a very enjoyable afternoon tea one day.

 

Cunard's ballroom

 

In addition to all this daytime entertainment, there are daily bridge classes and tournaments, dance classes, RADA workshops, computer classes, various gym classes and spa treatments for you to enjoy. I just didn't have the time to fit it all in! You could also spend time in the largest at-sea library, which not only has a fantastic selection of books, but is also decorated in a beautiful, warm, and lavish style. There is also an art gallery onboard, featuring some commanding pieces. Evenings are packed with 3D films in the cinema, live music, brilliant theatre productions, and of course traditional ballroom dancing in the Queen's room. There is also a night club style venue where you can dance the night away should you wish to.

All in all I came back thoroughly relaxed, and couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed. I can honestly say that if I had the time, I would always travel Transatlantic this way. Slower definitely is better in this case.

Take a look at Cunard's transatlantic cruises, and find out what adventures you could go on.

*Lecture programming, speakers, and shows are subject to change.


Simone On The Celebrity Silhouette

1st August 2011

Updated July 2019

Our Head of Global Supply, Simone Clark, was lucky enough to receive an invitation to go onboard Celebrity Cruises' stunning ship, Celebrity Silhouette for her naming ceremony. Find out what she thought of the occasion, and of the ship itself.

Celebrity Silhouette is the fourth of the Solstice-class ships, and in my opinion the best. This beautifully designed ship, has some superb features for your enjoyment.

 

 

Celebrity Silhouette's Stand Out Features

 

The Lawn Club features the Porch, a cafe where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch outdoors, and the Lawn Club Grill, where for an additional charge guests can barbecue their own dinner under the watchful eye of the chef. There are also plenty of places to sit and relax, with cabanas that you can hire for the day, hammocks and giant chairs. All these new features, really bring the Lawn Club to life - making it a hub of relaxed activity.

The Hideaway is another popular feature of the ship - situated between the library, card room and iLounge - this is simply a cool and quiet area where guests can sit and relax with a book for an hour or two in one of the modern chairs, cubby holes, or even in their own tree house! Pure bliss for those of us with busy lives.

 

 

The old favourite Michael's club has evolved into a sports bar, serving international bottled beer; sure to be popular. You will also find the superb specialty dining venues, Tuscan Grill, Qsine and Muranos' - all mouthwatering!

 

Celebrity Silhouette's Incredible Art Collection

 

The folks at Celebrity Cruises truly went above and beyond in adorning their beautiful ship in some wonderful art pieces.

You cannot escape the Upper Grand Foyer's suspended live tree. The subtle blue-green iridescent finish on the gold sculptured arms created by Swiss artist duo Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann hold the tree in a centred focal point engaging anyone entering the foyer.

 

 

The Damien Hirst on the stairs and the Gilbert & George located at the entrance of the Oceanview Café prompted me to ask Guest Services for a book on ship's art collection, which was delivered instantly to my stateroom. I was offered a self-guided tour of the ship's art collection on an iPad, which helped me locate the rest of the pieces onboard.

Anish Kapoor's signature stainless steel mirror beckons you in what I can describe as a visual vortex into the speciality restaurant corridors, into culinary world of Blu, Murano, Qsine, and the Tuscan Grille.

The ensemble and dining corridor vestibules' entire ceiling, wall and floor have been cleverly transformed into a fresco of magical realism. Birds singing and water trickling audio complement Hefferman's self portrait as Host and self portrait as Radiant Host - how appropriate for the Silhouette!

 

 

The Naming Ceremony

 

The naming ceremony itself was held in Hamburg, and featured entertainment from some of the crew. The Captain, Dimitrios Kafetzis, and his team, sang the Greek National Anthem - a reference to Celebrity Cruises' Greek origins.

It was a very glamorous affair, with guests dressing up to the nines to celebrate this fantastic new ship, and the increasing growth of a well-loved cruise line.

If you're feeling inspired, take a look at our range of upcoming Celebrity Silhouette sailings.


A First Club Cruising Journey

27th June 2011

Have you ever wondered what club cruising is all about and if it's for you? Well one of Iglu's latest cruise converts from our renowned ski team jumped onboard the Azamara Journey recently and here are his thoughts as a first time cruiser.

Azamara Journey is not like any other cruise, the experience is more like a home from home. “Welcome home” the crew say as they greet you after spending the day ashore. Of course you aren’t waited on hand and foot at home, and the food onboard is much better!

Greeted with a glass of champagne, while your bags are whisked off to your room you feel instantly comfortable onboard. Felicidad, our room attendant comes round to make sure we have everything, she does seem surprised that we are so young. The age of the customers onboard ranged from mid-twenties to over 65's — a very diverse group of people.

The crew clearly love their jobs, smiling and happy to serve you. Throughout the cruise we were treated to exceptional service. From the chefs freshly preparing omelettes in the morning, to the casino staff convincing us that we feel lucky today, there is a very unique atmosphere onboard (we weren’t lucky!).

Each morning we found the daily newsletter in our cabin filled with information about the weather, the days events, opening times of restaurants and key points of interest about the destination we were in that day. Perhaps we should’ve read the weather report on our first day in Corsica, when we found ourselves caught in the rain on land. Of course Azamara had towels waiting at the tender station in the port.

We were lucky enough to visit both the specialty restaurants onboard. Prime C served a fantastic filet mignon accompanied by wines recommended by the staff. Aqualina, the Mediterranean inspired restaurant served the most perfectly cooked fish courses and delicious deserts. Both restaurants charge a very modest cover charge — definitely worth every penny.

If for any reason you don't feel like leaving your cabin for dinner (or any other meal or snack throughout the day) then you can make use of the extensive 24 hour complementary room service menu which comprises of everything from cheese and fruit plates, to individually prepared steaks. Having sampled the majority of the room service menu, we decided it may be a good idea to visit the ships gym. Although not the largest gym I have been to, it is very well equipped, and was never too busy whatever time of day we visited.

The main thing that made the Azamara cruising experience so special was the combination of all the small touches that you don't get with a lot of other cruise lines. Examples of these touches include; the staff handing out cold towels, bottled water and lemonade while you wait for your tender back to the ship. The free bus that was set up to take guests to the centre of town at one of the ports, even if you were not booked on an excursion. The bar staff even knew what I was drinking by the second day of the cruise, and had the drink ready for me in the time it took to enter the room and walk across to the bar. It is these things that made the Azamara experience stand out from all the other cruises we have been on.

The prices may look more expensive than other cruise lines, but taking into account what's included, an Azamara cruise is exceptional value. Its not the hardware that makes Azamara special, it's the software: the staff, the food, and the feeling of the ship is second to none.


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