Access to WiFi for ocean cruise lines has been a subject of conversation for many travelers.
Changes are coming as Regent Seven Seas luxury line, Viking Ocean Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Luxury Cruises and Silversea small ship luxury cruises are all making offerings to stay competitive in the world of communication at sea.
Luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises is getting even more all-inclusive with the addition of free unlimited WiFi access for every passenger.
Regent has announced the new amenity would be available fleet wide starting in late 2016. The company currently offers free unlimited WiFi only to passengers in top suites. Passengers in lesser cabins get 200 to 500 minutes of free WiFi access per cruise, with the time depending on the voyage length.
Regent’s move comes just six months after the debut of Viking Ocean Cruises, an extension of Viking River Cruises that has been making waves in the industry with a “no nickel-and-diming”program that includes the promise of free Wi-Fi for every passenger. Viking’s free Internet offering is similar to Regent’s in that there is no time limit for any passenger.
Oceania Cruises is offering a limited time promotion, OLife Advantage, with Free Unlimited WiFi on select sailings booked by December 31, 2015.
The OLife Advantage promotion also includes free shore excursions, based on the number of sailing days, and free gratuities. This promotion is the most inclusive in Oceania’s history as it is not limited to the cabin category..
Also planning to add free unlimited WiFi over the coming months is the luxury line Silversea.
In addition, luxury line Crystal in August began offering all passengers a limited amount of free WiFi access per day.
While many river cruise lines offer free unlimited Internet access, ocean cruise lines traditionally have charged exorbitant fees for WiFi access. On some ships, it’s as much as 99 cents a minute, and it’s not uncommon for cruisers to spend $100 or more on a sailing just checking emails.
Cruise line executives often explain the high cost of Internet by noting that access is delivered on ships via expensive satellite systems.
Among the most all-inclusive ocean cruise lines, Regent already includes airfare, free transfers,free shore excursions, gratuities and most alcoholic drinks in its prices.