Cruise Internet Access to Turn Up the Knots in 2013 and Beyond
Connection to the Internet at all times has become a necessity for people across the globe. To accommodate this need to constantly be connected, Internet access is now available seemingly everywhere – in restaurants, on a bus or on a plane. In 2013 and more heavily in 2014, prepare to see the rise of high-speed Internet connectivity on vacation. Cruise vacation that is.
The Tides Have Turned
In 2013 and beyond, it seems that the proverbial tides have turned for internet connectivity at sea. Since it’s hard to have a satellite tower in the middle of the Caribbean or the Pacific Ocean, cruisers have found it hard to get the level of access they need. Cruise lines, not wanting to turn potential vacationers away from cruising because of the lack or poor quality of internet availability, have begun to augment their packages, speed, and availability. In contrast to years ago when ships had one or two designated cafes, limited connectivity and outrageously priced Internet, lines are now offering more reasonable Internet packages and making strides towards faster speed. Carnival Cruise Lines offers ship-wide Wi-Fi on all vessels, with specially designed portals in ‘FunHub’ terminals that deliver free access to certain sites and information areas. Almost all Celebrity Cruises ships have ship-wide connectivity (besides the Century, Constellation and Xpedition) with 90 minutes for $49.95.
One company, MTN Satellite Communications, which works with many of the major cruise lines to provide Internet access, has been making serious strides towards high-speed Internet offerings across the cruising industry. Just recently, they teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Line for the Norwegian Breakaway inaugural activities and pre-inaugural 2-day cruise event for a major success. According to MTN, new records for social media use at sea were set (Facebook visits, Instagram visits and mentions and retweets on Twitter) during the inaugural events in The Big Apple. MTN and Norwegian partnered to provide social media site access and functionality to the social media mobile application aptly named “Norwegian Breakaway Rocks NYC.”
And most importantly…
According to USA Today, the cutting-edge satellite communications company (MTN) has, and will continue to build out shore-to-ship wireless systems in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and the Bahamas to amp up the Internet speed and availability once a ship gets close enough to land. These should be launching at 39 different areas that are consistently visited by cruise ships in the second half of this year. In addition, their new ‘Nexus’ satellite system will offer ‘spot beams’ instead of ‘broad beam’ Internet signal in 2015/2016 for a direct and higher-speed Internet bandwidth availability onboard ships.
This is just the start of what will surely be an ongoing augmentation of the Internet access in the cruising industry. With demand comes supply, and the demand for fast, easily-accessed Internet is extremely high.