Soon Slow Wi-Fi Will Be a Thing of the Past for Cruising – Starlink is Everywhere!

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If you have experienced the frustration of internet connectivity on cruise ships in the past, then you might be looking at the rollout of Starlink internet onboard as a long awaited wonderful improvement. Is there a downside or is this truly a “win-win-win” to quote Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. Let’s dive in and consider some possibilities.

Intrusions

We touched on the potential impact on the peace and quiet one might desire on a cruise vacation of having more reliable internet service onboard in this post. Much has been said about those who choose to video chat with family and friends or even conduct work related video conferencing without considering that others around them do not wish to be party to their conversation. On my recent Carnival cruise I had my breakfast interrupted by a couple in a public dining area loudly video chatting with their son. With better internet connectivity this will now be possible even during a long quiet stretch of sea days rather than mostly on port days where smartphone connectivity works without requiring use of the ship’s wi-fi.

Cost

Internet packages onboard have historically been not that great and very expensive. Will this transition to Starlink bring prices down? Very likely. I recently paid $268 for hi-speed Starlink wi-fi for a 14 days cruise, which was still expensive but by comparison to prices of the past a great bargain. It was also reliable enough for me to connect via Zoom (in the privacy of my own cabin so as not to disturb others) for over an hour without any hiccups. The question then becomes what the cruise lines will allow you to have access to via their internet services. Will they block you from using a VPN or connecting to one device that allows you to connect several others without having to pay for multiple device access. What about streaming sites, will those be blocked in favor of you paying to watch things the ship provides access to or require a higher fee to allow them?

Longer Cruises

I can remember many years ago when planning to be away for a month visiting my family in Sweden all of the steps required to “cover things” while we were away for my computer business I ran for 20 years. I recorded a vacation voicemail message, and tried my best to check messages once or twice until we returned, and even creating an auto-reply to emails advising when I would be able to respond. Internet on a secluded island was hit and miss at best. But with more reliable internet now going on a 60 or 90 day or even longer cruise need not negatively impact your work life so much. I have been seeing more and more public dining areas become virtual office space with laptops set up and guests hard at work tapping away while they’re supposed to be on vacation.

Crew

The one point of this that I think is a total positive is for the crew. These hard working folks spend as much as 8 months onboard away from their families. There have been many cruises where I have seen large groups of crew just off the ship in the port area all glued to their phones trying to communicate with family back home, where it may have been 2 in the morning. I truly hope the cruise lines will provide very inexpensive access to more reliable internet for their crew. It can make all the difference for their day to day quality of life onboard to be able to connect more often with their families.

Conclusion

Better internet is something we all are finding ourselves less and less able to function without. It’s a reality. While people will be people and perhaps use poor judgment in their use of technology, overall this will allow more of us better options for going and doing more while still getting our work done. Granted, work/life balance gets a little trickier, but I think overall it’s worth it for the benefits gained. You? – René

Ukraine, Kherson - November 14, 2022: A SpaceX Starlink satellite dish stands on a green lawn in the city center for free distribution of the Internet to citizens. (©iStock.com/nndanko)
(©iStock.com/nndanko)
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René de Lambert
René de Lamberthttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.

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