Not too long ago, the fully inclusive cruise included everything, with the possible exception of the Sail-a-way cocktail and other bar drinks.
That all changed a decade ago when the cruise line accountants sought to boost the onboard revenue stream. To be fair, the cost of the average cruise has marked time for a number of years so the need to extract additional revenue is understandable. What does not receive such a sympathetic reception is the sky high Wi-Fi charges on cruise ships.
It has became a vital component for cruise lines research conducted by Cruise.co.uk. The top of cruisers’ wish list for future cruise innovations is free Wi-Fi – a costly luxury when it comes to cruise ships. Although there are now a range of digital detox holiday options, nearly 90 per cent of cruisers’ have stated that they still need to stay connected, whether it’s for work purposes or to keep in contact with friends and family. With a tech savvy generation of children who are addicted to computers and tablets, the demand for Wi-Fi is stronger than ever especially with the decision-making influence which children have on their parents.
In a bid to meet consumer wants and needs, cruise ships have invested in some innovative technology to improve the quality of Wi-Fi (which is sometimes reported as patchy) and head towards the ‘smart-ship’ route. Royal Caribbean recently launched its new satellite internet – an innovation from O3B – which delivers faster bandwidth amongst other innovations on their new ship Quantum of the Seas and this will also be introduced to Anthem of the Seas when she comes into Southampton in April 2015. Other operators are also reviewing the quality and connectivity of Wi-Fi. A recent release from Regent Seven Seas indicate totally free Wi-Fi is in the offing....but then nothing is really free is it?
Currently the cheapest cruise Wi-Fi is Fred Olsen from 20p per minute (£12 per hour) or MSC where the first 10 minutes is 10 euros then 0.10 euros per minute. The most expensive is Princess and Celebrity Cruises $0.79 (£39 per hour) but you can buy packages of Wi-Fi.