One of the thing we had unexpected difficulty with on our last cruise was internet access. The cruise line charges usurious rates for accessing the internet. There was an unlimited internet package available, but it would’ve cost several hundred dollars for each leg of our trip! The other options were packages that would cover a certain amount of time for a certain amount per minute. I believe if you got the 250-minute plan, you were charged 50 cents per minute; the 100-minute plan was 75 cents per minute. And, you have to take into account how exceedingly slow internet is onboard using satellite access. We ended up purchasing the 100-minute plan, and also had some access using my cell phone (we had purchased an international data plan through AT&T).
There are those that might argue that since we are on vacation, that we should not be on the internet; we should be out enjoying ourselves instead of being on-line. That is all well and good if you are going to be on a one-week long cruise, but if you are going to be gone for a couple of months, that is an entirely different story! And, since I have put together so many tours, tour operators need to be able to get in touch with me for any last minute updates, so internet access is a necessity for us. I also plan on blogging during the trip, and so will need to be able to access the internet to upload my reports.
We did get a 250-minute internet package as a free amenity when we booked the cruise. This will be a huge help, but we also want to be able to access the internet when we are in transit. Some of the sites we will be driving two are 2 hours away from the port, and it would be nice to be able to get on-line during the drive.
I read about a device called a “Skyroam”hotspot that allows you internet access internationally. It is essentially a router, but one that you don’t have to pay data charges (per minute) for. You purchase a “day pass”, and get 24-hour internet access for up to 5 registered devices. The day passes cost $8 each. We decided to purchase the Skyroam , and will be trying it out on an upcoming jaunt to San Francisco. I will report back when we return. We are hoping it will be a solution to our internet problems. It won’t work while at sea, but we have the 250-minute plan if we need access.