“Lemme here you say…fight the power…we’ve got to fight the powers that be.” …Public Enemy

So, I just got back from a Royal Caribbean Cruise. My father purchased berths for 4 families, including mine, to sail in the Caribbean for 7 days. I suppose I shouldn’t complain since my family got a complimentary vacation but since this is a blog post, you gotta know I’m gonna complain about something :.)

People in our industry know there are two types of hotels…those that offer free WiFi and those that charge a small daily fee for the privilege. As much as we grumble about paying for WiFi, most travelers have pretty much accepted the charge as a necessary evil.

Royal Caribbean does things differently. It charges 55 cents a minute for WiFi.

55 Cents a minute for WiFi.

55 Cents a minute for WiFi.

Charging 55 Cents a minute for WiFi is the equivalent of giving somebody the middle finger and slowly waving it in their face. It’s true that you could pre-purchase bulk minutes but no deal they offered drives the cost lower than 32 cents a minute.

Not only is the WiFi expensive, due to the necessary satellite Internet technology on the boats, it’s considerably slower than conventional broadband.

I clearly know that Royal Caribbean makes a high margin on upselling services above and beyond the basic cruise cost and I have no problem with that. And, I noticed that people were paying 55 Cents per minute to screw around on Facebook (…no sympathy for hosing those folks with a big bill). However, for those people such as me who need continual Internet Access 24/7 as part of their livelihood, a Royal Caribbean (and other companies) Cruise is not a feasible option for a vacation.

I did have some issues while on vacation that I needed to deal with. Fortunately, within 4 blocks of where the ship docked in San Juan, I found a Starbucks where for the price of 1 drink, I was able to get 3 ½ hours of free WiFi that enabled me to get my necessary work done.

If Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines care about attracting dedicated online professionals on their vacations, they need to offer reasonably priced unlimited Internet Access. I paid almost $70 for doing little more than checking my stats & my email for a week and I’m F***** P***** off about it. I will never set foot on another cruise ship unless and until I can get the quality and quantity of Internet Access to which I am accustomed.

19 thoughts on “F U Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (Internet Access)

  1. I did a transatlantic from Barcelona to Florida on Royal Caribbean last November. It was cheaper than flying, but their “nominal fees” onboard were such aggravation! The ship I was on was 55 cents a minute as well, but they did have a wifi 1 day charge too.

    I think my backpacker side started to show, when after the first week I did laundry in my room ($4 per item is not a deal to me) and hung up my travel clothesline across the room. I got a few looks from the hall stewards after that… 🙂


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  2. Nice to hear you got some R & R, at least… I’m actually in the process of determining which cruise line to book with for an upcoming family vacation, and appreciate the reminder to check that first. Are all cruise lines that high? $33 an hour sdeems pretty excessive…

    On vacation, getting in at least two hours of AM computer time before my wife and kids wake up is the norm, so over 7 days, that tacks on nearly $500. Definitely worth considering. Thanks for helping me say “F U” before booking!

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  3. Well there is your problem, trying to work while on vacation..

    I’m leaving on Sunday for 10 days of vacation.. No computers, no phones, no roads, no electricity, tv or radio, and most definitely no wife or kids, just a cabin on a remote Canadaian lake, 5 other guys, beer, and fishing.. That is how you go on vacation..

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  4. I am an Internet Professional and I love to criuse. I find it to be one of the most relaxing, stress free vacations available. I have spoken with the company that provides the Satelite based Internet Access for the cruise lines and they are actually doing some pretty cool stuff out there. They bring the Internet to a moving object in the ocean to thousands of people everyday. There is only so much bandwidth available on any given ship, so they watch the usage and price it accordingly. I believe that it what led to the $0.55 per minute wireless pricing. It is a small supply and demand market at work.

    As for selecting a cruise with Internet Access, you must look beyond the cruise line and inquire about the specific ship. They were each built at different times and return to dry dock for major repairs and upgrades after years of serivce. So, each ship may or may not have the type of access you are looking for. The cruise lines themselves sometimes sound like they are not fully equipped to answer those types of questions so, you will likely find better information at the cruise review sites. After trying many different lines, we have found Royal Caribbean to the leader in cruising and we prefer them.

    A while back , Explorer of the Seas, used to offer an Internet package that was $100 for unlimited wired access in your cabin for the week. Things change so, I don’t if that is still available or if they have changed the program. While that may not be ideal, I do remember pressing send on an email, while dolphines were swimming and “chirping” alongside our balcony cabin. That was cool!

    Working Vacations… I don’t look at vacations quite like that any more though. My vacation ideas over the long haul has moved to acknowledge that we NEED time away, off line, relaxing for a prolonged period of time. It is the deep experience of that “vacation mode” over mutliple days in a row (without working) that I believe recharges my batteries the best. When I go this route, I reenter the work force ramped,
    ready to go, and with a new perspective.

    A bit long but, thanks for the post and thanks for letting me reply. I have some more cruise info coming soon. If you would like to learn more about our next adventure, drop me a line.

  5. Mark, you made a lot of good points but if you actively manage revenue generating accounts (such as myself and the Search Commander), there isn’t any way to totally disengage because situations you encounter with them that need to be worked on don’t follow your vacation schedule.

    As for “unlimited” Internet Access, a bit of Google searching could not turn up any Cruise Ship / Line that offered that service (and RC did not seem to offer it at all currently) though I remain open to the possibility that having that option might cause me to take back my harsh words.

  6. Disconnecting from work for a few days is always good. If you can find a way to stop working and forget about it, even if its only for a few days, it really does make a difference.

  7. I totally agree with Todd. I am going on a 7-day Caribbean cruise of Christmas/New Years, on Celebrity Summit, and can’t believe they don’t offer an unlimited package! It’s 2010 for Goodness sake! I don’t necessarily need to work, but I need to be connected to the world — news, sports, daily crossword, etc. Also, if I don’t cull through my email occasionally, I’ll have 500 messages when I get back from the cruise!

  8. They do use Satelite and the system is fairly reliable. After many cruises and having purchased Internet services on board over the last 10 years I have concluded that it is a simple supply and demand economy set by a captive audience. You have to want it. :- )

  9. Isn’t it sad that Todd (person who initiated this blog) can’t appreciate something he received FREE (the entire cruise), finding something to complain about? He’s probably also one of those people that eats in the dinning room, all week, then the last night, eats in the buffet, to cheat the dinning room staff out of a tip! It’s like the people that complain about food, on a plane! If you want to eat out, you don’t fly somewhere; if you want to fly somewhere, you don’t go to a restaurant. If you want to e-mail, STAY HOME! On the other hand, if you want to go on a vacation, to relax and totally enjoy yourself, take a cruise, and ROYAL CARIBBEAN is one of the best you can do! If while on their cruise, you have a legitimate complaint, they do all they can to rectify it! Thank you RCCI, we’ll see you, again, in December. Will take my iPod, and use it off the ship, at the MANY free locations, or pay $100. onboard to use it, anywhere, anytime, during the entire cruise!

  10. You’re so welcome, Todd, now take another cruise and enjoy yourself!!! It’s really the only way to vacation! Enjoy life while you have it, as one never knows when it’s going to end! I’m 65 and am thankful everyday, I’m fortunate enough to wake up, rain or shine!!

  11. This is not a matter of supply/demand or captive audience as much as the cost of a certain service. If the author had a simple understanding of the cost of having internet access on a moving vessel, his harsh words were less harsh. The hotel that gives you free wifi is probably paying $50 a month for the internet while a cruise ship will pay tens of thousands of $$$. This you could learn with a little research but I guess it’s easier to give a finger.

  12. Just a thought!!! It’d be great if one cruiseline would have one ship that is geared towards the demographic that requires internet. My husband is in management. When we do travel he still spends a few hours/day online taking care of business. We’ve traveled Europe and had a wonderful time. We would not have been able to take that trip if he’d not been able to take care of business (he’s an investor in the business, and would worry if he was unreachable…and thereby not enjoy the holiday).

    I would jump on the opportunity to cruise (I’ve done it once with girlfriends and loved it, and wanted to share this experience with my husband).

    $100/week for unlimited would be okay, but according to this thread that is no longer offered. At 33 cents/minute our internet cost would be larger than our cruise cost.

    I’ll just keep watching online and see if any cruiseline gets with the times and realize how important the internet is to many people.

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