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  • Writer's pictureCruise Dreams

3 Things You Need To Know About On-board Internet: Staying Connected At Sea

In a world devoted to staying in touch, an ever-increasing number of travelers are making their smart phones and laptops must-pack items. It’s a fact that cruise liners not only take notice to, but have been working diligently on in order to roll out new upgrades for their current and future fleets. Today, staying in touch with friends and family back on land is easier than ever, and for less hassle and cost than most might assume. Before booking your next cruise, becoming aware of the improvements and limitations on-board Internet has, will help you understand the nature of surfing the Web at sea better.

1. On-board Internet will be slightly slower at sea than at home Cruise lines have been investing millions of dollars to revamp wireless infrastructures and increase bandwidth for faster connection speeds, but there will continue to be some limitations to browsing on board. On land, there may be only a few miles of fiber optic cable from your house to a main substation for a signal, but cruise ships in the middle of the ocean have to shoot a signal 22,300 miles into space and then have the signal return to Earth before the it can jump onto the fiber optic cable for the service. A delay of half a second can occur because of this, which is barely a delay at all, but can add up depending on the number of tabs open and the nature of a website guests are visiting. If you plan on surfing the web while at sea, aiming to use the Internet when the fewest number of fellow travelers are online, such as at night or in port when most passengers are ashore can help increase speeds.

2. Not all cruise ship liners’ Internet speeds are created equal The quality of passengers’ Internet signals on board depends quite a bit on how much money the cruise line wants to pay. Cruise lines can pay for more bandwidth to make the connection faster, but it’s often not really cost effective. While many users can often share the Internet costs on land, only a few cruise ships, cargo ships, and oil rigs can share the cost at sea, which means higher costs for the cruise lines that in turn, get passed onto the passengers. In order to keep Internet rates moderate instead of exuberant, the bandwidth is set at a smaller rate than may be possible, in order to keep the highest number of guests satisfied with the prices. If Internet is a priority to you on a business incentive cruise, for example, checking cruise liners bandwidth before booking can help provide an indication of the speeds to expect while browsing aboard.

3. Cruise line technology is quickly advancing If you’ve been on a cruise ship over a year ago, chances are there have been significant improvements to broadband service since, and even the improvements currently enjoyed today will be upgraded by tomorrow. Cruise lines are consistently making technological leaps to make Internet at sea more like the Internet you enjoy at home. Two featured cruise liners at Royal Caribbean are enjoying access to “lightning-fast” satellite-delivered broadband service for instance, making their Internet download and performance speed four times faster than their previous service, and many cruise companies, including Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas and Crystal Cruises are doubling their speeds and expanding Wi-Fi signal range to make wireless connection available throughout all areas of the cruise liner. One of the most exciting technological advances is Viking Cruises, creating their first ocean-going cruise ship, Viking Star, that will set sail in 2015 complete with free Wi-Fi for all passengers.

Many cruise liners are lowering rates for their Internet packages, and are providing guests with improved and expanded broadband levels. If staying connected while at sea is important to you, many cruise liners are willing to negotiate group cruise packages for Internet minutes and provide other cruise incentives to have you stay aboard. Whether traveling by yourself, with a loved one, or with friends or co-workers, cruise ships value their customer’s satisfaction and work diligently to improve Internet quality at sea among providing additional group vacation packages and incentive travel programs to keep visitors of all travel parties satisfied on their trip.

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