Ultra-fast internet at sea just got better across nine cruise lines and nearly 100 ships. Carnival has installed Starlink to its network on Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Costa Cruises as well as Cunard.

But along with drinks packages, WiFi can still be a bone of contention on any cruise. And you should always check prices before you sail. If you can’t get a good deal, do not purchase your internet onboard the ship. It will be less expensive to purchase the WiFi plan before you sail. Buying a package rate is a better deal than the daily rate.

Ask the staff where the ship has free WiFi in port, and where the best place is to pick it up. Some cruise lines onboard, have free WiFi spots like a restaurants, bars or shops.

Remember, when you want to upload photos, wait on port days when the ship’s WiFi service has less people connected. Early morning and late at night when people are sleeping is also a good time to get a faster connection.

Staying connected is more important than ever for many cruisers, especially those embarking on longer voyages. Most cruise lines have different internet at sea plans. So for users who are just looking for email and texting, and there are more affordable options than those looking for streaming and WiFi calling services.

Bear in mind, that most luxury and upper premium cruise lines offer basic WiFi packages. Some will ask you to pay extra for a faster connection.

Before you set sail, consider what you will be using the WiFi for. Some cruise companies like Norwegian Cruise Line offer social media plans for those looking to post updates on their holiday.

Another thing to consider is how many devices are you bringing onboard? Are you bring a smartphone, laptop and tablet? Many cruise lines allow you to use one plan across multiple devices. But only as long as you are logged in to one at a time.

Here’s our line-by-line guide:

Carnival Cruises

Carnival Cruises offers three different options for internet access, each at different price points. You can grab the Social WiFi Plan, which starts at $15.30 per day, and will get one user access to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and so on. 

If you want more varied internet access, the Value WiFi plan starts from $17.85 and will get you access to most websites and general internet access. However, it won’t support video calling and streaming services like Spotify or Netflix. 

For more access to streaming and more, you can opt for the Premium Wi-Fi plan which starts from $21.25 per day. It will support streaming and offer internet access up to three times after than the value plan. If you want to purchase an internet package, you’ll have to purchase it online and can grab it up to 11:59PM EST the day before you sail.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity’s basic internet at sea WiFi package starts at $20 per day, but there are limitations and you won’t be able to email large files, use streaming platforms or share photos and videos on social media. To do any of the above you’ll have to upgrade to the premium WiFi package at $35 per day.

Celebrity packages start from $20 per day.

Cunard

Cunard offers its essential internet plan which includes web browsing, email, music streaming, and social media for USD$18(AUD$25). If you’d rather opt for the premium internet plan which also includes video streaming and has a faster connection, you’ll need to fork out USD$24(AUD$34).

Holland America

Holland America has three internet at sea packages available, starting from USD$10(AUD$14), which earns you access to social media networks. Increasing that to USD$15USD(AUD$22) will also get you access to web surfing and email and then for USD$20(AUD$28) you can add audio and video streaming to your package, allowing you to watch Netflix, listen to podcasts, and so on.

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL charges USD$25 (AUD$36) per devices per day for unlimited internet at sea access (minus streaming), with lower rates for longer cruises and adding more devices to the plan. However, booking with their ‘free at sea’ promotion at the moment, which is available for the majority of cruises, will include free Wi-Fi. 

Premium WiFi packages start from USD$35 (AUD$50) per device per day, this adds streaming to your package.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises offers free and unlimited access via Wavenet WiFi. Guests can log on to the internet throughout the ship including in their staterooms or suites as well as public spaces and outdoor areas. They can also use the computers at the Oceania@Sea Center onboard their ships.

One login is provided per cabin for use on one device at a time. Plans that include access for additional devices can be purchased on the ship and guests can upgrade to streaming services for movies or music for USD$9.99 per day.

P&O Cruises Australia

P&O has three different internet packages available. All of their packages are cheaper when pre-purchased, rather than bought while onboard. However, to get this discount you’ll have to buy your package at least four days before your cruise sets off. The Social package starts from $9 a day with access to social media platforms, rising to $12 per day for a social plus talk plan, which also allows for voice and video calls. 

If you rather spend $15 a day, you’ll have comprehensive internet access, including video streaming services and access to a range of popular newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail, and Herald Sun. 

Ponant

Ponant offers free WiFi access on all of their ships, and there are also generally computers available to use in the recreational areas. As with many expedition lines, you can expect WiFi connection to become particularly spotty in remote regions, rough seas or other difficult circumstances. 

Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas offers complimentary unlimited WiFi. However, websites and apps that use higher bandwidth such as YouTube and Netflix aren’t included in this. You can pay for increased streaming services for USD$9.99 ($14AUD) per device per day. 

Although higher suite categories and members of the Seven Seas Society may receive access for an increased number of devices.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean’s VOOM internet at sea claims to be six times faster than any other WiFi at sea, since Royal Caribbean linked up with SpaceX’s Starlink in a mission to improve connectivity at sea. 

While prices can vary from cruise to cruise, generally the basic internet package ‘Voom Surf Voyage Package’ is $12.99 per day and will get you everything you need except won’t support streaming. For added streaming, you can pay another $5 per day. It should be noted these prices are per device, rather than per person. Meaning, for example if you want connectivity on both your phone and laptop, you’ll need to pay double.

Silversea

Silversea has complimentary standard internet access in Vista and Verandah suites, while premium WiFi is complimentary for guests booked in medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand and Owner’s Suites. The level of internet on their expedition ships though is determined by the suite category except for the Silver Origin where all guests have complimentary WiFi. Those travelling on Silversea’s full World Cruises of Grand Voyages also have access to complimentary premium access for the entire sailing.

On all voyages across both internet plans, the WiFi is unlimited for two devices used at the same time. There is a cost fo an additional device on the standard WiFi plan.

Seabourn

Seabourn voyages include unlimited WiFi access for one device per guest, with access to web browsing, email and social media. However, if you want video streaming and video calls you’ll have to upgrade to the Stream WiFi package, which offers extended access for up to four devices per guest. Prices may vary but it should cost around USD$20(AUD$28.70) per day. 

Stay connected in remote destinations.

Viking Cruises

All Viking Ocean ships have free WiFi, with the option of connecting via your own device or using computers in the business lounge. While Viking asks that you limit large downloads and that WiFi connection may vary based on terrain and weather, the connection uses a VSAT satellite terminal, generally allowing for fast WiFi across the ship. 

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