Fast Wi-Fi at sea: cruise lines investing in better Internet

Like it or not, the Internet is a big part of our day-to-day existence.

We use it to maintain friendships, research holidays and manage finances.

We’re very much a digital society, spending the equivalent of an entire day online every week, according to a recent Nielsen report.

So it explains why many of us go through withdrawal when our stable, fast and relatively cheap networks are replaced with slow and overpriced connections at sea.

Recognising the importance of keeping people connected while on cruise holidays, cruise companies are taking more initiative to provide people the same or similar internet access as they receive at home.

Fred Olsen this week announced it wants to establish a new connectivity infrastructure, which would provide guests with 100 percent Wi-Fi access from any point on the ship.

Currently the line, like many other companies, has hot spots on board in public areas where cruisers can connect to the Internet.

But the new ‘ship cloud’ will allow guests to use their own devices anywhere on the ship and at a faster connection.

Fred Olsen head of IT, Damon Impett said guests have high expectations for Internet on board, which can be difficult to meet.

“With the future concept of a ‘ship cloud’ and content being served locally over wireless, TV and video streaming will become a reality, ” Mr Impett said.

Last month, Royal Caribbean also revealed it had paired a new generation of medium-Earth-orbit satellites to antenna array aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas to provide guests with Internet speeds that match and surpass those ashore.

President and chief executive Adam Goldstein said the new technology will be fast enough for guests to download video or post video clips to Facebook.

“Vacations aren’t just about getting away from it all for modern families anymore,” he said.

“A great vacation today also means keeping friends updated over social media, and enjoying downtime with streaming content played on tablets and phones, not just movies on TV in your stateroom.”

Meanwhile, Disney Cruise Line announced in February it would no longer charge customers for how long they spend online, but rather how much data they use.

The change will not increase the speed of Internet at sea, however, it does mean that when the Internet is taking ten minutes to load a single page, guests won’t have to pay for anything other than the amount of data it uses to open the page – regardless of how long it takes.

Think more cruise lines need to make the initiative to introduce better Internet at sea? Let us know by leaving a comment below.