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    Why Wi-Fi Is So Expensive On Cruise Ships


    Cruise lines charge up to £10.50 for just half an hour's internet access. Donald Strachan examines the best and worst operators

    On-board cruise Wi-Fi often uses satellite technology, and can therefore be expensive. Most cruise lines also admit that signals can occasionally be weak and browsing speeds slow. Skype and video-streaming are unlikely to work reliably. For fast, free Wi-Fi, the best advice is to follow the crew when they disembark at ports of call.

    Most major cruise operators supply Wi-Fi on a pay-as-you-browse basis, generally costing $0.65 to $0.75 (39p­44p) per minute. Prepaid bundles of online time usually work out better value. Prices are broadly similar.

    P&O Cruises (0843 374 0111; pocruises.com ) provides internet at designated hot spots. Bundles are available ranging from £10.50 for 30 minutes to £62.50 for 250 minutes of online time.

    On Norwegian Cruise Line (0845 201 8900; ncl.com ) short trips, prepaid bundles include $24 (£14.20) for one hour. Long-cruise bundle rates include $100 (£59.25) for 250 minutes. Norwegian charges internet users an initial “activation fee” of $3.95 (£2.35), as does Holland America Line (0843 374 2300; hollandamerica.co.uk ), where it also costs $100 (£59.25) for 250 minutes on board.

    Seven Royal Caribbean ships have in-cabroom Wi‑Fi, with the rest providing wireless internet via hot spots in public areas. Prepaid bundles also include $100 (£59.25) for 250 minutes. In March the company announced major investments to boost Wi-Fi speeds on two of its ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

    Celebrity Cruises (0844 493 2043; celebritycruises.co.uk ) offers five internet bundles, including 208 minutes for $100 (£59.25) and 555 minutes for $200 (£118.50).

    Cunard (0843 374 2224; cunard.co.uk ) sells three different bundles on its three Queens, including 240 minutes for $90 (£53.30).

    Arctic and Antarctic specialist Quark Expeditions (0808 120 2333; quarkexpeditions.com ) charges on the basis of traffic, with 30MB costing $50 (£29.60).

    A few lines stand out for slightly cheaper browsing packages. Fred Olsen (01473 742424; fredolsen.co.uk ) has Wi-Fi hot spots in public areas on all four of their ships. The line’s pay-as-you-go rate is 20p per minute, and passengers can buy prepaid tokens up to £50 for 300 minutes.

    Luxury yacht cruise operator Compagnie du Ponant (0800 980 4027; ponant.com ) sells bundles including 240 minutes for €60 (£48.60) and 1,000 minutes for €180 (£145.75).

    Saga Cruises (0800 096 0079; travel.saga.co.uk ) offers free Wi-Fi in public areas on both of its ships.

    From this autumn, Crystal Cruises (020 7399 7601; crystalcruises.co.uk ) will offer repeat guests 60 minutes’ free internet access a day. Standard Crystal Wi-Fi charges come in five bands, with 300 minutes for $115 (£68.30).

    The technical challenges are less severe for river and coastal cruise ships, which can access cellular Wi-Fi. This is reflected in more generous pricing. However, cellular coverage can sometimes be patchy in remote areas.

    Emerald Waterways (08081 020142; emeraldwaterways.co.uk ) reports “being asked more and more during the booking process” about Wi-Fi. Emerald provides free Wi-Fi to all passengers, and an iPad for guest use in some cabins. Viking River Cruises (0800 319 6660; vikingrivercruises.co.uk ) uses a mix of satellite and cellular technology to offer free in-cabin Wi-Fi to all passengers on its European cruises, including in Russia and Ukraine. On Viking cruises around China and south-east Asia, passengers connect using desktop computers at the on board internet cafe (also free). AmaWaterways (0808 223 5009; amawaterways.co.uk ) provides unlimited free Wi-Fi to passengers. Fjord specialist Hurtigruten (020 3582 6642; hurtigruten.co.uk ) offers free onboard Wi-Fi on its coastal routes.

    By DONALD STRACHAN, THE TELEGRAPH

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

    http://www.cruisecrazies.com

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    We’re almost never 100% on vacation so internet access is vital to us. Fortunately we get some free minutes on many cruise lines thanks to past passenger programs. We’ve also gotten really good at making the most of our aircard while in US ports and finding free WiFi in ports we’ve been to many times. Sometimes we still need to pay for more time but we try to keep it to a minimum.

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