Whether you’re wanting to stay connected with family during your holiday or need to get a bit of work done during your sailing, all cruise lines offer internet services – and most charge a daily fee for access.
But not all WI-Fi packages are equal. Recently, Royal Caribbean partnered with Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink to power its internet connections.
Cruise Passenger decided it’s time to compare onboard Wi-Fi options.
Some services are better – more reliable – than others and there’s no doubt that on-board internet services work better when ships are close to the mainland, rather then when they are crossing The Atlantic.
There’s also no doubt that purchasing your internet package prior to sailing will save you money. In some cases it can save you as much as $20 per day.
You can also include internet plans as part of a bundle with specialty dining, drinks packages and shore excursion credits. Always ask your travel agent for details of what packages are available because they will save you money.
If you are not a heavy internet user, don’t even worry about buying a package. You can always check your emails while enjoying a drink at a café when the ship is in port.
It’s also possible to share access with your roommate if internet access if offered per cabin, rather than per person. Doing that cuts the price in half.
It’s hard to say which cruise line offers the best internet service at sea. Most offer a very similar service but that could be about to change thanks to the deal Royal Caribbean has struck with one of Elon Musk’s companies.
Price: $12.99 per day
Royal Caribbean has signed a deal with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network that it hopes will counter the age-old problem of poor internet connectivity at sea. Royal Caribbean will install the new software across all ships by early next year. Royal CEO Jason Liberty said the new service will “improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming as well as activities like video calls”.
The line currently offers Voom-branded internet packages that it boasts are the fastest at sea. The Voom Surf package offers almost everything except streaming and is available from $12.99 per day, per device. Access on additional devices costs a further $8.99 per day. Royal’s Voom Surf and Stream package costs $17.99 per device, per day.
Price: $11.05 per day
Carnival offers passengers a three-tier internet access service. Guests are able to buy a Social package for $8.50 per person per day which allows you to text and check social media.
Then comes the Value package for $11.05 per person per day which provides access to everything except streaming services. The Premium package is $14.45 per person per day which gives passengers full access.
P&O also offer a similar three-tier plan starting with the Social package priced at $9 (AUD) which includes texts and access to social media platforms when bought pre-cruise. The Social Talk+ packages at $12 (AUD) adds voice calls and access to music streaming sites.
The Premium package is $15 (AUD) per person and it includes video streaming services and access to newspapers The Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail and The Herald-Sun.
Price: $9.99 per day
On Princess, MedallionNet Wif-Fi is included in your fare when you book Princess Plus of Princess Premier. The Princess Premier package bundles internet access with specialty dining experiences, photo packages and drinks packages with WI-Fi access on up to four devices per guest for $85 per day.
If you only want internet access the best way is to buy it pre-cruise through the MedallionClass app with prices starting at $9.99 per day.
Price: $29.95 per day
Azamara has three internet offerings starting with the 60-minute package for $19.95. A one-day pass costs $29.95 and Full Voyage access costs $19.95 per day.
Price: $20 per day
Celebrity has simplified its offering to two distinct packages. The Basic Wi-Fi offerings costs $20 per day and includes web browsing, text messaging and email access.
The Premium package ($35) adds the ability for guests to share photos and videos, stream videos and engage in video chats.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Price: $12.50 per day
Norwegian Cruise Line has eight different internet packages starting, with its Unlimited Social Media Wi-Fi packages at $12.50 per day. For a flat price of $105 you can purchase 250 minutes of internet access that can be used at anytime during your cruise.
The top end offering is the Unlimited Premium Wi-Fi packages for four devices that costs $109.99 per day when bought pre-cruise. If you buy this on the ship it costs $129.99 per day.
High-end cruise lines like Oceania Cruises include Wavenet free unlimited Wi-Fi in their fares. Guests can access the internet anywhere on the ship. Each suite or stateroom is given one log-in which can be used on one device at a time.
Additional log-ins can be bought if required. Regent Seven Seas Cruises also offer guests free internet access.
Silversea Cruises offers free standard internet to all passengers.
For and extra $29 per day though guests can upgrade to a premium package that offers enhance speed and features.
Seabourn’s Surf Wi-Fi package is free to all guests. It is certainly good enough to browse the web, read and send emails and access social media but if you want to stream movies or make video calls you would need to pay for the Stream Wi-Fi service at $19.95 per day.
Before buying anything, work out what kind of internet user you are because matching the package to your actual needs is important – and will ultimately save you money.
Prices are listed in USD unless noted.