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How important is WiFi? How well does it work?


mj_ewing
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I'm curious to get the opinion of folks who have more cruise experience than me (~3 cruises).  I'm sailing (Royal Caribbean) with my full family including teen kids.  How important will it be to get the expensive WiFi, and is the quality worth it?

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Surely the importance of wifi aboard ship is an individual thing. Some find no need for it at all. Others (myself included), don't require it, but find it convenient for emails and family contact. Still others do have a requirement for it, for either personal or business reasons. And then there are teenagers, the majority of which will vow that they absolutely would cease to exist if they had to disconnect for a whole week.

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Agree, asking someone else if wifi is important is like asking my tv its favorite color.

 

For me I go into ports and get better fast wifi and catch up with stuff. I never buy the wifi on a ship. So it's not worth it for me. I once used it on celebrity to play my game and was very frustrated. Once when hurricane Ike was coming in and guest services was clueless I wished I had it. So twice in over 15 years.

 

A few of the newer rcl ships have free texting if you want to stay in contact with your family on the ship. Depends on which ship you booked.

 

 

Edited by firefly333
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Such an individual question.

 

I guess it depends on how you define "worth it", what you expectations are, and what your current internet experience is.

Do you live in a rural community where your current experience is 1Mbps speed or do you currently live in an urban environment with 20 devices connected and experience 1 Gbps speed? Is everyone streaming, chatting, browsing at the same time with multiple windows active?

 

You're just going to have to adjust your expectations.

The best I've ever experienced on my device on a ship is about 3Mbps with up to 1 second latency.

I can do most things to include streaming SiriusXM. However, I'm 64 so I don't do most things teens are doing these days. I would imagine that interactive gaming would be a nogo. Not sure about streaming movies. FB, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Messenger, etc should work fine.

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I find it a convenience but not a necessity.  Expect that it will be very slow.  Some lines, such as Holland America, are offering "Have it All" packages that include Wifi.  This means that many more people will using the service and that it may be even slower.

 

I have heard that Princess is upgrading their wifi as part of their Medallion program.

You might find it useful to connect in to the ship's wifi system for the on board information.  This does not give you access to the internet, just to the on board information.

One another suggestion..... Be sure to put your phone in airplane mode so that you are not using cellular data which will be very expensive on board!

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25 minutes ago, Smokeyham said:

I find it a convenience but not a necessity.  Expect that it will be very slow.  Some lines, such as Holland America, are offering "Have it All" packages that include Wifi.  This means that many more people will using the service and that it may be even slower.

 

I have heard that Princess is upgrading their wifi as part of their Medallion program.

You might find it useful to connect in to the ship's wifi system for the on board information.  This does not give you access to the internet, just to the on board information.

One another suggestion..... Be sure to put your phone in airplane mode so that you are not using cellular data which will be very expensive on board!

Super helpful -- thank you!  Yes it's an individual question and choice, but this is the type of info that will help us choose.  

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9 minutes ago, mj_ewing said:

Super helpful -- thank you!  Yes it's an individual question and choice, but this is the type of info that will help us choose.  

You are most welcome.  

On our recent HAL cruise to Alaska we bought an internet package.  It allowed one device at a time to be connected.  It was a bit tricky to switch back and forth between an Android phone and a Windows laptop but not too bad once we learned the tricks.  Service was very slow and I understand this is particularly the case on Alaskan cruises.

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42 minutes ago, Smokeyham said:

You are most welcome.  

On our recent HAL cruise to Alaska we bought an internet package.  It allowed one device at a time to be connected.  It was a bit tricky to switch back and forth between an Android phone and a Windows laptop but not too bad once we learned the tricks.  Service was very slow and I understand this is particularly the case on Alaskan cruises.

I saw a utube video that MSC doesnt allow you to switch back and forth between devices. 

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I’m far too cheap to pay cruise WiFi prices... and end up “wasting” time in port funding a bar or restaurant with free WiFi. 
 

I’m not a teenager. The ones I know could not survive without access. If it were me, I’d shelol out for the crappy service, but not the fast service. They aren’t totally disconnected that way. And if crappy service gets them to put their phones down a few minutes each day, all the better. 

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I think I might be leaning the same way as Zekekelso.  Teens probably need a wifi IV running.  😆

 

For profile purposes I'll say I'm near 70.  I don't use much wifi on board or ashore.   Mrs Ldubs is 10 years younger.  She uses all of the 600 free minutes we typically get on a two week cruise.  Occasionally we will purchase more and she also uses free wifi spots on shore.  Most of her usage is uploading pic's and trip blurbs and checking to make sure the family are all OK.   

Edited by ldubs
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My regular job requires me to be constantly connected to the Internet. I'm taking a cruise to disconnect! Although I don't mind a Internet connection just to check the Audible Deal of the Day. 

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For me, the pleasures of cruising and getting away is all that I require.  For a week, it is a great experience to have no cell phone, and TV only to view ship related information.   This is the experience and joy of cruising.  But as stated earlier, a personal decision. 

 

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Aside from all of the people telling you how they disconnect, it depends what you are looking for. Personally, I don't see the premium wifi as important unless you must stream HD content. I keep the cheapest plan just to stay connected in case someone tries to get ahold of me.

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19 hours ago, ldubs said:

I think I might be leaning the same way as Zekekelso.  Teens probably need a wifi IV running.  😆

 

For profile purposes I'll say I'm near 70.  I don't use much wifi on board or ashore.   Mrs Ldubs is 10 years younger.  She uses all of the 600 free minutes we typically get on a two week cruise.  Occasionally we will purchase more and she also uses free wifi spots on shore.  Most of her usage is uploading pic's and trip blurbs and checking to make sure the family are all OK.   

I am older than Mr.Ldubs.I have never used WiFi anywhere other than at home.Mrs.66 is close to my age and uses it almost never anywhere.

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2 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

I am older than Mr.Ldubs.I have never used WiFi anywhere other than at home.Mrs.66 is close to my age and uses it almost never anywhere.

I would suggest that many people consider their cruise cabin/hotel room /etc. their "home."

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OP. Yes, cruise line Wi-Fi is expensive and the quality is not vert good but you have to ask yourself this question. Is saving the additional expensive of the Wi-Fi worth the whining and grief your teenagers will give you on the ship?  😭

 

Also, if you pay for your kids' cell phones, do you have a cheap International date package for them? Because I'm pretty sure ( 99.99%) the teens will be on their data as soon as the ship gets in range of a cell tower. Cha Ching!💸

 

 

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16 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

I am older than Mr.Ldubs.I have never used WiFi anywhere other than at home.Mrs.66 is close to my age and uses it almost never anywhere.

 

You know, sometimes I feel kind of weird being the same age as old people!  😆

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2 minutes ago, ldubs said:

 

You know, sometimes I feel kind of weird being the same age as old people!  😆

In 2017 we met a couple on a cruise and became good friends with them.He is currently 67 and his wife is 65.They invited us to join them and a friend of theirs and his wife on a 2018 cruise.I wondered if I would be able to converse with a second young couple.Their friends were in their 80’s.Age is only a number.

You ,Ldubs are in the same decade as me.😀

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On 10/7/2021 at 3:45 AM, DirtyDawg said:

OP. Yes, cruise line Wi-Fi is expensive and the quality is not vert good but you have to ask yourself this question. Is saving the additional expensive of the Wi-Fi worth the whining and grief your teenagers will give you on the ship?  😭

 

Also, if you pay for your kids' cell phones, do you have a cheap International date package for them? Because I'm pretty sure ( 99.99%) the teens will be on their data as soon as the ship gets in range of a cell tower. Cha Ching!💸

 

 

This brings up a good point, namely to be sure that your kids understand the consequences of using their cellular data plan while on board.   I have friends who did not have this discussion with their teenager and came home to a bill of around 400 British pounds (~ $550 US).

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We never bother.  On one or two cruise lines we do get some 'free' internet time.  We stopped buying it. It was expensive, even more so when you consider the speed/quality.

 

We will use our ipads during a port stop.  But beside the dock where everyone else is. Often some bar or restaurant a few blocks away that is not crowed and has free wifi.

 

But...it has been a while since we have purchased wifi on any ship.  Perhaps it has improved or the price has gone down.    

 

Might do everyone some good to be without wifi for a spell.

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If you HONESTLY answer the question: do I REALLY need to spend much time on line while on vacation?   You will likely realize your response is “not much”.

 

Connection is sort of a habit (perhaps “addiction” is a better term) which might well be dispensed with while on vacation - which is when you might better spend your time doing things differently than when at home.

 

Wi-Fi on ship is usually expensive and not terribly reliable - best to minimize the time spent on line. 

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One thing for certain.....IF we were buying an internet package we would never buy a package in advance of the cruise.

 

We would buy a small amount on board and then determine if it is worth our while in terms of speed and access. 

 

More than once we have been disappointed with 'free' internet minutes on a ship because of performance/speed that we never bothered to use all of our free time.

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Here is the factor in my decision making... according to Celebrity's web page, their "Xcelerate Surf" is $13 per guest per day, while their "Xcelerate Stream" is $30 per guest per day. For my upcoming ten day cruise, that is more than what I pay for my mobile service and my gigabit internet service combined. And I don't know how Celebrity's "All Included" WiFi fits into this.

 

From my perspective, the cost/benefit just isn't there. If my employer wants me to remain connected during my cruise (unlikely), then I would have to expense it, or deal with me connecting while I am in port. 

Edited by Z'Loth
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Wifi is important to me, but not my husband. We travel with carnival. So I’ll purchase the middle package for myself and he can always borrow it. I still like being able to check in at home, make sure the dog is ok, and having the ability to check info flights is nice too. 

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