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Internet on Cruise Ships - Tips and Fees

Internet on cruise ships is more expensive and less troublesome than many people expect.

Imagine being on a Caribbean cruise, plowing through choppy waters and heavy winds in the middle of a tropical storm and trying to stay in touch with work via a satellite feed from an Internet cafe in the middle of the ship.

Internet on cruise shipsIt sounds like a challenge, but it was not. However, it was expensive.

Internet access on cruise ships has a reputation for being slow. In my case, it was not terribly slow. I was able to handle email, Web surfing and even processing files back and forth with relative ease throughout a storm that lasted days, although it was not at the same speed as my work access.

However, it was expensive. By the end of the week, I had spent more than $150 to stay in touch with work.

I brought my own laptop and accessed Wi-Fi both in the ship’s Internet cafe and in a lounge next to it. Many ships have cafes with desktop computers that often have an extra fee for usage.

If you want to save money, research the port of call to see if Wi-Fi is available in the cruise terminal. For example, in Nassau Bahamas, the terminal had free access and was packed with ship passengers going online.

Another option is Internet cafes located near the terminal. They usually have access rates far below the rates on the ships.

But if you are in the middle of the ocean all day and need access, there is no choice but to use the ship’s Wi-Fi.

The access rates for many of the major cruise lines are similar in cost.

Following are Internet access rates at the time of this writing for some major cruise lines. All rates are in U.S. dollars.

Carnival Cruise Line
$3.95 activation fee
Pay as you go $0.75/min
480 minutes for $159
240 minutes for $89
120 minutes for $59
45 minutes for $29

Royal Caribbean
Pay as you go $0.65 per minute
$35 for 60 minutes
$55 for 100 minutes
$75 for 150 minutes
$100 for 250 minutes
$150 for 500 minutes

Disney Cruise Lines
For sailings less than 7-nights:
Pay as you go - $0.75 per minute
50 min for $27.50 ($.55 per minute)
100 min for $40 ($.40 per minute)
250 min for $75 ($.30 per minute)
Seven nights or longer:
Pay as you go - $0.75 per minute
100 min for $55.00 ($.55 per minute)
250 min for $100 ($.40 per minute)
500 min for $150 ($.30 per minute)

Norwegian Cruise Lines
$3.95 activation fee
Pay as you go: $0.75 per minute
Longer Cruise (6 days and longer):
250 minutes for $100 ($0.40 per minute)
100 minutes for $55 ($0.55 per minute)
Short Cruise (5 days and shorter) Time Package Plans:
60 minutes for $24 ($0.40 per minute)
30 minutes for $16.50 ($0.55 per minute)

Pay as you go: $0.75 per minute
38 minutes $24.95
90 minutes $49.95
208 minutes $99.95
555 minutes $199.95
1666 minutes $399.95
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Cruise Tips   

June 11, 2012

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