Until now, equipping ships with high-speed wireless Internet access hasn’t been a top priority for most cruise lines: after all, a cruise is an opportunity to unplug from daily life and put away your laptops, smart phones and other devices, right?
Actually, it’s not surprising that cruise travelers are demanding better Wi-Fi: some really can’t get away for a cruise without the ability to check in with work (hopefully, not too often) or with loved ones at home.
Many ships already offer some wireless Internet access, but the connections are often much slower than what you’re used to. But, some cruise lines have announced plans to meet the demand for fast, stronger Wi-Fi.
For example, Royal Caribbean has equipped its Oasis and Quantum Class ships with a high-speed Internet service that it calls Voom. The service uses satellite internet technology that provides high-speed connections, even in the middle of the ocean. Royal Caribbean doesn’t say exactly how fast Voom is, but promises that, in addition to checking email and using the Web, guests can connect with their offices via VPN, stream music and movies, upload photos, and video chat with people back home. Voom will expand to more Royal Caribbean ships in 2016.
Be aware that, at least for now, there is often an extra fee for high-speed internet connections (satellite Internet technology is expensive). Royal Caribbean’s Voom costs $15 per day for a multi-day package; that gives you unlimited Internet access on one device, with a discount available for a second device.
Beginning in October 2016, luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer free, unlimited, high-speed Wi-Fi access to all passengers on all of its ships. Regent Seven Seas already offers Wi-Fi throughout its ships, but it’s currently free and unlimited only for occupants of top-of-the-line suites; other passengers have a limited access and need to pay for upgrades.
Upscale cruise lines Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Crystal Cruises have also announced plans to expand the availability of free, unlimited Wi-Fi. And, Viking Ocean Cruises’ new Viking Star already offers complimentary and continuous Internet access on board.
If you can’t do without high-speed Internet access on your next cruise, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert about which ships can provide you with the access you need.