At sea, Wi-Fi is the key to content passengers


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Fewer and fewer Australians do without internet while on holiday – even aboard cruise ships. This is the result of a survey conducted by CruiseAway. Almost half of the approximately 1400 respondents expressed a great emphasis regarding wireless on board – at best, free of charge.

46% of survey respondents indicated that they feel it is very important to have access to internet while on board. More than a quarter feel this service is a given. 16% marked this service as of less value, while only 13% stated it is not important at all. In fact, internet access on cruise ships is now standard – but the data transmission is often slow. By its own account, the fastest network at sea is the shipping company Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Eight out of 10 participants generally desire free internet use on board. Nearly 20% were willing to pay up to $15 a day for access. This is where one reaches their pain threshold: for less than 1%, spending any more money is not acceptable. In regards to a billing model, almost half of the respondents would prefer a weekly rate, and 36% want a daily flat rate. The billing per minute packages has the lowest support; only 20% favour this model.

However, the luxury of free internet is currently unavailable on most ships: only Hurtigruten and Regent Seven Seas offer free Wi-Fi at present – several shipping companies wish to follow in 2016. Passengers travel far away from reality pricing when on board: The cheapest flat day rates are for the equivalent of about AU$20 on board the ships of the Oasis and Quantum class of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

For the majority of shipping companies, passengers can purchase minute or data packets: MSC Cruises charge AU$19 per hour. Guests of Celebrity Cruises and Disney Cruise Line can surf for about AU$45 per hour, while Norwegian Cruise Lines charge just under AU$55. The larger the minute package is, the cheaper the price per minute. On Costa Cruise ships, there are data packets starting at 250 MB for AU$40. Normally, a fee-for- minutes will be offered; however, this may seem relatively expensive to guests who regularly pay between a dollar to a dollar and a half.

Cruisers want to be informed on the water. 83% of participants agreed that the most popular internet activity on board is sending and receiving private messages and mails. First place is followed by the consumption of current news in the many options of online activities: Nearly half of the respondents would like to be informed about world events while cruising. Work emails are the third most popular online activity. 22%, which is relatively low, is the proportion who would post pictures of their sea voyage on social networks. Only 5% of cruisers are interested in downloading music and movies and video games.

Almost 60% of passengers on board ships would like to have access to the internet everywhere on board – including their own cabin. 7% would like Wi-Fi throughout the public areas of the ship. One-third of internet is accessible in designated wireless areas. Again, the offer remains partly under the cruise guest’s expectations. Usually internet is available in most public areas, but with some packages it is only in special internet areas. Internet is available in cabins on board MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises and most luxury ships.

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