We’re on a cruise ship, here’s what the internet is like

Cruise ship Internet connections

The last time we cruised was in 2010 – using the Internet was expensive and slow. What is the Internet connection like now? It’s still expensive and slow! We were hoping to find out otherwise. Maybe it’s better on other cruise lines, we are on Norwegian Cruise Lines. If you buy the high-speed Internet package for the whole week, it will set you back $279. We did not do that, so our experience is on the basic (low speed 150 minutes) package that came with our dining/drinking plan..

Norwegian Encore

We are currently in port in the Dominican Republic. During the cruise we’ve spend about half time at sea and half time in port. We have 2 options
for accessing the Internet.

In Port:

While in port we have cellular connections because our phones are on a Google Fi plan. Google Fi is an international plan, no extra charge, no pre-planning, and it works well. Just like cellular service anywhere, sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s slow, but it does work. We’ve even used the mobile hotspot
on Jim’s Pixel phone to use the Google Fi connection on my Chromebook.

On board the ship, we can usually get the cellular connection from a tower on shore, but if we’re indoors, the signal was blocked. We found that we could only connect if we were on our balcony, or at some other outside area of the ship.

As soon as we left the ship and wandered around
the port there was usually a free Wi-Fi network in the port shopping area and, of course, if you visited a bar or restaurant, they would often have free Wi-Fi.

See Episode 233: Cellular phone and data for International travelers for more info about Google Fi.

At Sea:

I did get a message on my Verizon phone that connection was available on board ship. It would cost $20 for 500 MB! That’s megabyte with an M, not Gigabytes. I would run thru that with the first day of photos uploaded. No Thanks.

Other than that, when we’re at sea there is no cellular available so we need to use the Ship’s Wi-Fi or nothing. Here are the things we’ve learned about
the Shipboard Wi-Fi on NCL.

  • For free, you can connect to the Wi-Fi just for reading the cruise information, making reservations for dinners and shows and shore excursions. Just turn on Wi-Fi on your device and connect to the NCL signal.
  • For a one-time $10 charge you can use the Wi-Fi for communicating with fellow shipmates. We had 6 family members on this cruise, so we all paid the $10 to be able to message each other and send photos.
  • The cruise plan that we chose included 150 minutes of standard Internet access. You can pay more for high-speed access.
Luckily, we didn’t plan to do much work during the week. This email is the extent of our work this week.
Bon Voyage!
Jim and Chris, aka Geeks on Tour