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POA1

Data caps on the new HAL Unlmited Internet Plans?

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I was on the same Viking Passage voyage in August and September as Zelker and Turtles06, and am looking at the onboard handout for Internet plans. The only information is the daily price and the name of the plan...nothing about a data limit. However, on the Navigator page when signing up, the daily limits were clearly stated, as well as plan cost for the whole voyage. We bought the Surf plan, 300MB/day, for $200 (20-day trip). The plans were also available on a 24-hour basis for much higher prices ($20, $25, and $30).

However...HAL does block some sites on the Surf plan. I use DuckDuckGo for searches (they don't track you, unlike Google), and all I saw for three weeks was "site unavailable". Otherwise,  no problems, save for download speed. (We stayed with family in New Jersey at the end of the trip and were rewarded with 212MB speeds on their connection: yay!)

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4 hours ago, Vict0riann said:

Brian, do you think they will ever be able to fix it?  I'm also having problems with the drop-down menus dropping down and obscuring the page for 10 or 15 seconds every time the cursor passes over them.  It's just another thing that slows everything down.

If a little white X in a black circle appears near the fly out menu, you can click on it to close the menu. You can usually click on the top item (the root or base that's there before you open the menu) in a drop down menu to cause it to close. 

 

I have not run into that particular problem I wonder if it's an iPad thing. Maybe someone who uses an iPad can weigh in. 

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3 minutes ago, kwb101 said:

use DuckDuckGo for searches (they don't track you, unlike Google),

 

I use Duck, Duck, Go as the search engine in one of my browsers. I'll be interested to see if they block it next month. Why the heck would they? That's a really random site to block. 

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For those finding the error message when you click to get into Cruise Critic.....or if you hit the reply, or quote button, or 'go to this post' in an email notification..... I found if you wait (20  seconds or a little more) the error, or need to log in page goes away and you are logged in automatically.

 

The error type message I get is displayed here ....but goes away.  Just make sure your settings are at Keep me logged in..

CC ERROR.jpg

Edited by Buck1949

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9 hours ago, POA1 said:

If a little white X in a black circle appears near the fly out menu, you can click on it to close the menu. You can usually click on the top item (the root or base that's there before you open the menu) in a drop down menu to cause it to close. 

 

I have not run into that particular problem I wonder if it's an iPad thing. Maybe someone who uses an iPad can weigh in. 

 

I use an Ipad a lot and the only drop down I have is sometimes when I select colours for the Bon Voyage threads.  I just have to move it back up a bit and select the colour.

 

Otherwise I'm not having drop down issues as Ann is describing.

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Would browsers with data compressors like Opera Mini really save data usage compared to Safari?

 

Also if I just clear cookies and stay logged out of CC would it save data usage since that way CC wouldn’t keep refreshing?   I only read for the most part. 

Edited by Kruzer Zuker

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16 minutes ago, Kruzer Zuker said:

Would browsers with data compressors like Opera Mini really save data usage compared to Safari?

 

Also if I just clear cookies and stay logged out of CC would it save data usage since that way CC wouldn’t keep refreshing?   I only read for the most part. 

 

Opera mini might save some data. Mobile browsers tend to restart the session any time you switch away from them to another app and then return to the browser. They often restart the session if they've gone into power save mode. You may want to test those at home. I use Glasswire to test. 

 

I'm not clear on whether the the cap is an absolute cut off or if it's a throttling cap. 

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I definitel notice the new-&-improved CC site is Internet bandwidth unfriendly, not mobile efficient as was marketed for its release. Slower to (re)load pages & cludgy to move around in. I like some of the new site’s features etc. but faster (aka not bloated) this thing is not.  

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For those nerds (like me) who like to tinker... if you want to speed up the site and reduce the data transfer, you can block sites from loading.  And you'd be sadly surprised to see how many sites cruise critic is actually passing data (to or from) -- whether it is ads or user tracking it makes me very uncomfortable.

 

I've altered my hosts file to avoid these sites:

  • ad.doubleclick.net
  • ade.googlesyndication.com
  • adservice.google.com
  • ar.voicefive.com
  • bat.bing.com
  • cdn.flashtalking.com
  • cdn.optimizely.com
  • cruisecritic-d.openx.net
  • dpm.demdex.net
  • googleads.g.doubleclick.net
  • logx.optimizely.com
  • pagead2.googlesyndication.com
  • s0.2mdn.net
  • sb.scorecardresearch.com
  • sb.voicefive.com
  • securepubads.g.doubleclick.net
  • servedby.flashtalking.com
  • tpc.googlesyndication.com
  • us-u.openx.net

The result for me loading the HAL board page was:

2.8 MB transfered and 12.43 seconds load time with no changes

vs 1.25 MB transferred 6.60 sec load time with changes

Edited by killsport
updated with result data

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2 hours ago, POA1 said:

 

I'm not clear on whether the the cap is an absolute cut off or if it's a throttling cap. 

One is as bad as the other.  On that Travel Pass experience, throttling was downgraded to a 2G(?) speed and nothing loaded, at all. 😜  Before our last land based trip, we installed a VPN for hotel WiFi and will use it in ports on our next cruise.

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39 minutes ago, killsport said:

For those nerds (like me) who like to tinker... if you want to speed up the site and reduce the data transfer, you can block sites from loading.  And you'd be sadly surprised to see how many sites cruise critic is actually passing data (to or from) -- whether it is ads or user tracking it makes me very uncomfortable.

 

I've altered my hosts file to avoid these sites:

  • ad.doubleclick.net
  • ade.googlesyndication.com
  • adservice.google.com
  • ar.voicefive.com
  • bat.bing.com
  • cdn.flashtalking.com
  • cdn.optimizely.com
  • cruisecritic-d.openx.net
  • dpm.demdex.net
  • googleads.g.doubleclick.net
  • logx.optimizely.com
  • pagead2.googlesyndication.com
  • s0.2mdn.net
  • sb.scorecardresearch.com
  • sb.voicefive.com
  • securepubads.g.doubleclick.net
  • servedby.flashtalking.com
  • tpc.googlesyndication.com
  • us-u.openx.net

The result for me loading the HAL board page was:

2.8 MB transfered and 12.43 seconds load time with no changes

vs 1.25 MB transferred 6.60 sec load time with changes

 

Thank you for the comparison. I already took appropriate measures on my laptop. I got the page size down a touch more and have prevented the login/reload that doubles the bandwidth on the first page page load. 

 

While I *could* perform the Android equivalent of editing the hosts file via ADB, the mobile version of CC is not serving up all the ads that the desktop one does. (Yet.) 

 

I really wish that CC would realize that there's a chasm of difference between mobile responsive and mobile optimized. They could be serving up ads in a mobile app and use 1/10th the bandwidth that the current mobile site is using.  If you ever take a look at the code that loads for the mobile site, you'll see that it's as streamlined as a sphere. 

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3 minutes ago, POA1 said:

If you ever take a look at the code that loads for the mobile site, you'll see that it's as streamlined as a sphere. 

Boy is that ever right! Even the code for desktop it is like ... um... a Zocchihedron.

Safe travels!

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A little off topic but still related to the new Internet plans.  Does anyone know how the 5-star discount is applied to the new plans?  

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4 hours ago, taxmantoo said:

A little off topic but still related to the new Internet plans.  Does anyone know how the 5-star discount is applied to the new plans?  

I have not seen anything about it. If no one one has an answer, I'll check in a few weeks when we're on the Zuiderdam. It should be technically possible for the billing / RADIUS server to handle both the daily plans and the 100 free 5* minutes. (That's what you got, right?) However, I hesitate to say for sure until I can actually find out on board.

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I will be checking on the Nieuw Statendam next week, too!  I hope to be able to stay in touch...

 

I seem to remember it was something like $25 off the price of the full-cruise package (but that was some time ago, on Westerdam, I think).

Edited by Vict0riann

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3 minutes ago, POA1 said:

I have not seen anything about it. If no one one has an answer, I'll check in a few weeks when we're on the Zuiderdam. It should be technically possible for the billing / RADIUS server to handle both the daily plans and the 100 free 5* minutes. (That's what you got, right?) However, I hesitate to say for sure until I can actually find out on board.

Thanks so much.  I hadn't seen the part about the 100 minutes yet (not quite free but 50% is better than nothing).  It was always "up to $30". I guess the medium unlimited package will qualify for the $30 off on a 30-day cruise but look forward to seeing what you find out on the Zuiderdam.  

"50% discount on a 100-minute internet package (one time only per cruise) Up to US$30 credit toward any Internet package"

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12 minutes ago, taxmantoo said:
21 minutes ago, POA1 said:

 

Thanks so much.  I hadn't seen the part about the 100 minutes yet

 

The free 100 minutes was from my (obviously faulty) memory. I'll see what I can find in mid December. I'll post it in my "live from" to try to force you to read it and jack up my view count. :classic_wink:

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Brian, to your original topic, I really came to believe that the data cap is a throttle point and not a hard cap.  You didn't see the volume of photos I was uploading (far more than what my blog contained on a daily basis from both myself and Roger) and I never experienced any issues with being cut off after my 500 and 300 mb limits were exceeded.  I could tell when there was a heavy load on the bandwidth towards the end of each leg of the cruise and did find a couple of geographic areas where there was no satellite foot print, but never got cut off altogether at any point.

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22 minutes ago, 0bnxshs said:

Brian, to your original topic, I really came to believe that the data cap is a throttle point and not a hard cap.  You didn't see the volume of photos I was uploading (far more than what my blog contained on a daily basis from both myself and Roger) and I never experienced any issues with being cut off after my 500 and 300 mb limits were exceeded.  I could tell when there was a heavy load on the bandwidth towards the end of each leg of the cruise and did find a couple of geographic areas where there was no satellite foot print, but never got cut off altogether at any point.

Thanks!  I'm glad you weighed in since you have recent real world experience. Do you recommend one plan over the other? I assume that the speeds are equal. (Although I could be wrong.) 

 

 I'm hoping that's the case. I can minimize usage by sticking to my laptop, but sometimes using the phone is a lot more convenient. I was a little worried because when you switch away from the mobile phone browser and come back, you burn at least a megabyte on the new and improved CC site. I'll have a T-Mobile international data pass (512 MB / day of 3G or 4G, falling back to 2G after the cap) on our port days, but I am worried about sea days.

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1 hour ago, 0bnxshs said:

Brian, to your original topic, I really came to believe that the data cap is a throttle point and not a hard cap.  

That would square with what I was told on board a couple of months ago.  HAL should really clarify its written info on this... 

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32 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:

That would square with what I was told on board a couple of months ago.  HAL should really clarify its written info on this... 

 

I haven't actually seen the full set of information that's available, just a one page handout.  I'll try to dig deeper when we're on the Zuiderdam in a few weeks. I tend to get more into the minutiae of shipboard Internet access.

 

I can't get that upset because it's not like our cellular carriers at home are terribly up front with their limitation.  Here's an example from Verizon.  The mid-level plan is called "Beyond Unlimited" but when you mouse over the little i in a circle, you see that it does get throttled. The lower level plan, "Go Unlimited" is actually throttled when the network gets busy.

 

vzw-beyond-unlimited.thumb.jpg.e00daf06044bb35cc6f34721b029a80c.jpg

 

 

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18 hours ago, taxmantoo said:

A little off topic but still related to the new Internet plans.  Does anyone know how the 5-star discount is applied to the new plans?  

 

Yes, they deduct the equivalent of what was the 100 minute plan off the cost.

 

My memory is short but I think it was around $34?

 

At least that is what they did the last time I had unlimited.

 

 

 

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Thanks Jacqui! I figured you might know. I'll still double check to see if they've made it more formal with the new roll out. 

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15 hours ago, POA1 said:

Thanks!  I'm glad you weighed in since you have recent real world experience. Do you recommend one plan over the other? I assume that the speeds are equal. (Although I could be wrong.) 

 

 I'm hoping that's the case. I can minimize usage by sticking to my laptop, but sometimes using the phone is a lot more convenient. I was a little worried because when you switch away from the mobile phone browser and come back, you burn at least a megabyte on the new and improved CC site. I'll have a T-Mobile international data pass (512 MB / day of 3G or 4G, falling back to 2G after the cap) on our port days, but I am worried about sea days.

 

I had no trouble with the mid-tier (I think called "Surf Unlimited") plan when using it on the last 9 days of the cruise.  I did find they only sold up to 31 days at a time in a package, so I was stuck having to renew the top tier I was on (again, I think called "Premium Unlimited") or choosing a lesser plan; I chose the mid tier plan.  I did not see a reduction in speed at all until the very end of the cruise when everyone was online for email, checking travel plans, printing boarding tickets, etc. and maxing out the bandwidth available; our photos and videos uploaded at generally similar speeds.

 

I know people are complaining about the "Umlimited" description, but it's all simple hype and marketing.  It is unlimited in terms of time; my travel router stayed connected 24/7 for several days at a time without interruption.  It seems unlimited in terms of data usage, only occasionally speed throttled once the published cap is reached.  One could also consider the old, "timed" plans unlimited as long as you were willing to pay for the time, so it's really nonsensical to even argue about it.

 

Brian, hope your cruise goes well!

Edited by 0bnxshs

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