3 reasons not to buy internet packages on a cruise

Internet access on cruise ships is not perfect, but it’s getting there. From SpaceX partnerships with Royal Caribbean to Quantum class satellites, internet access on the ocean is stretching the boundaries, if indeed there are any.

And while high-speed connections may still be a little sketchy in the far-flung regions of the Arctic and Antarctic, progress in the area of digital technology is rapid, and you can expect to be connected on demand very soon. In whichever maritime destination you find yourself.

We should expect this, of course. There are many reasons why the internet on board cruise ships is a good thing. Essential these days. Not least for technical, operational, and maritime safety. In addition, the crew working away from their families for months on end, need to stay in touch easily.

Cruise passengers have long come to expect the option of internet access onboard via mobile phone or tablet. However, while free WiFi is the norm in hotels worldwide, it is not the same for cruise ships. Maritime connection costs money, and the cruise ship will charge guests for internet service.

In some instances, you can get free WiFi on cruise ships. Most often, this is if you book a cabin in a higher price bracket, such as a suite. Or if you manage to grab that campaign offer at just the right time to include the WiFi package as part of your basic cruise price.

But most often, it’s a service we will pay for. And it can be expensive. However, the beauty of internet packages on board cruise ships is that they are optional. That means you could well do without it. Right?

If you are wavering on the undecided whether you want or need to be connected on board, here are three reasons why it makes sense not to buy internet packages. Consider this:

1. Only sometimes do you get what you pay for

With an internet package costing around $30 per day and upwards, you will want value for money. Prices vary depending on what you want to do. Video streaming services such as Netflix require more internet than just browsing social media or sending an email. And the ability to video chat or make phone calls using free services such as WhatsApp from your devices craves even more.

But if you are cruising in a region such as Alaska or the Norwegian Fjords, you may find that the cruise line connection is disrupted where satellite links are weak. There is often no refund if you find yourself unconnected for hours.

This may be enough to put you off from buying an internet package. It could make more sense to wait until you are in port and head to a restaurant or internet cafe to get a connection for free especially if you have chosen a port-intensive itinerary and intend to get off the ship and explore at every opportunity in port.

Keep your cell phone in airplane mode, but turn on your WiFi, and you should be able to connect with services on the web, from the network offered in local hotels or restaurants. For zero cost.

2. You are traveling with family – enjoy the ultimate “wireless connection”

If you have booked a family cruise or a multi-generation cruise, you have all your loved ones around you during your vacation. And we all know how precious this can be in our hectic lives.

With everyone close by, even if you do not spend every minute in each other’s company, it’s easy to catch up. Face to face over dinner each night in the main dining room or at that specialty restaurant, you can catch up with each others’ day. Or with each other’s lives, for that matter.

And you can do this without competing for their attention with a cell phone or tablet.

So ask yourself again, why do you want or need that internet? Embrace the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company outside social media, while spending quality time together.

3. A holiday is just that – time to cut down on screen time and social media?

You have heard it said before and perhaps even said it yourself, but without meaning it. Your cruise vacation will be a chance to switch off. But do you ever do that?

Is the draw of immediate access to everything via your smartphone too much to resist, even on vacation? Is it impossible to get teens to look up even for a moment from their screens?

The option of not booking an internet package could be just the opportunity you need to curb everyone’s insatiable appetite to stay connected. And without access, you may realize that nothing is lost. And indeed, an awful lot is to be gained.

An added benefit – you may well find that the world still spins without you watching every rotation.

So test it and see. Dip your toes in the water of the no-wifi world and see how much it enhances your vacation.

Are these good enough reasons not to buy internet packages for your cruise vacation? Only you can decide. But before you do, discover if free wifi onboard cruise ships are actually possible, or not.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.