6 Tips for Staying Connected to the Internet on Cruises

Cruises are one of the most relaxing and adventurous ways to travel. However, staying connected to the Internet on the high seas can be tricky. From spotty connections and slow service to limited data usage and high fees, there are often many barriers to accessing the Internet on cruise ships.

Reliable internet access is essential for staying in touch with loved ones, sharing your experiences on social media, or simply making sure you are always reachable for safety reasons.

We’ve created a guide to staying connected while browsing so you can navigate smoothly without losing touch.

Here is an overview:

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Why it is important to stay connected

There are several reasons why it is important to stay connected.

  • Security:Being able to communicate in an emergency is crucial.
  • Convenience:Easily access maps, travel guides, and connect with other travelers before and after your cruise and during shore excursions.
  • WorkFor those who mix business with pleasure, staying connected ensures they can attend to their work tasks without interruption.
Internet on cruise ships: 6 tips to stay connected

How to get internet on cruises?

Is there internet on a cruise ship? Good question! There are two main options for staying online while browsing:

  1. Wi-Fi on board
  2. Cellular data plans

Travelers no longer have to wonder, “Is there WiFi on cruise ships?” Most modern ships offer cruise-grade WiFi.

WiFi on cruise ships

Most modern cruise ships offer Wi-Fi on board, with varying speeds and costs. Here’s what you need to know about Internet on cruise ships:

  • packagesCruise ships typically offer a variety of internet packages, from basic social media access to premium plans that support streaming and video calling.
  • Coverage:Wi-Fi is generally available throughout the ship, but speeds may vary depending on your location.
  • Costs: These packages can be extremely expensive. Please conduct a cost analysis to determine if this option is right for you.
  • Service area: While most cruise Internet packages work all the time, if there is no direct route to the satellite that provides Wi-Fi service (like in the Norwegian fjords, for example), service may be nonexistent.

Internet at sea

For those who need more reliable connectivity, “cellular at sea” eSIM or SIM cards can be a good option to get internet on a cruise. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Roaming plans:Check with your cellular provider about international roaming plans that cover cruise Internet.
  • Cellular networks:Some ships partner with cellular networks to provide coverage, but beware of potentially high fees.
  • eSIM Providers: Buying a plan through an eSIM provider like Gigsky can save you money and provide you with internet and cellular connectivity on board the cruise.

Get GigSky’s Cruise + Land eSIM data plans

Internet options on cruise ships
Internet on cruise ships: 6 tips to stay connected

Staying connected while in port

Of course, part of your time during the cruise will be spent on the ship, but you will also spend time in port, exploring new destinations. When it comes to this part of your trip, there are a few ways to stay connected to the Internet:

Local Wi-Fi

Now more than ever, local Wi-Fi is available for public use, whether in restaurants, cafes, shops, on public transport or even in city centres. Using Wi-Fi is a great option, but there are a few things cruisers should know:

  • Free: Using public Wi-Fi is one of the easiest ways to save money on your trip.
  • Higher risk: “Free” doesn’t mean “safe.” When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, take steps to prevent your information from being stolen.
  • Disrespectful: Not all Wi-Fi networks are high-speed or offer consistent connectivity.
  • Limited coverage: Users are limited to the range covered by the Wi-Fi network.

Local SIM card

Another way to stay connected to the Internet is to use a SIM card. SIM cards are a benefit to travelers as they do not require users to stay in one place to access the network. Here are some things you should know about SIM cards:

  • Affordable: SIM cards are often cheaper than roaming plans offered by local operators.
  • Reliable Coverage: Local SIM cards provide constant cellular coverage as long as you are within the network area.
  • Less safe: Not all SIM card providers own the networks they operate on, and second-hand sellers can pose a security risk to your data.
  • Requires research: Finding a local SIM card provider requires some research.
  • Potentially time consuming: If you’re disembarking your ship and other passengers are also buying SIM cards, you may end up waiting a long time to buy yours.

eSIM data plan

One final way to stay connected while you’re off the ship and enjoying one of your cruise stops is through an eSIM. Unlike their physical counterparts, eSIMs are managed through an app on your phone. Here’s what you need to know about eSIM data plans:

  • Affordable: eSIMs are much cheaper than many SIM cards and off-network plans from local carriers.
  • Reliable Coverage: eSIMs, like GigSky’s, rely on a wide range of network operators, giving you seamless service wherever you go.
  • Easy to use: With just a few taps on your device, you can easily install and manage your data plan.
  • No hidden fees: This eliminates unwanted bills at the end of your trip. It’s easy to top up data if you need more.
  • From shore to boat: Data coverage extends from land to sea, offering maximum convenience.

Understanding data usage on cruise ships

Below is a list of data-consuming activities, all of which should be familiar to mobile device owners. The numbers listed below will vary depending on your mobile device settings and streaming quality. Keep this in mind when calculating the size of the data plan you will need for your next trip when purchasing a mobile device. It is SIM.

The following are approximations of how long various activities take to consume 1 GB of data. This will help you determine how you will use your phone during your trip:

  • Surfing the Internet on Cruises: 17 hours
  • Streaming videos: 20 minutes (at 1080p)
  • Music Streaming: 7 hours (at 320 Kbps)
  • Browsing social media: 6 hours
  • Skype/WhatsApp/FaceTime: 4 hours
  • Navigation Apps: 14 hours
  • Checking email: 12 hours

Of course, this list is not exhaustive and the estimates above do not take into account all of the various settings that help conserve data. However, they are good estimates to keep in mind when planning your trip.

Tips for managing data usage abroad

Once you have the data, it’s important to be careful how you use it. Otherwise, you may end up spending your entire allowance without even realizing it! Here are some ways to save your data:

  1. Enable data saving features:Use data-saving modes on your devices, such as Airplane mode and the aptly named “Data Saver.”
  2. Download content in advance:Download movies, books and music before you set sail.
  3. Limit background app refresh:Disable background app updates and refreshes to save data.
  4. Monitor your usage:Regularly check your data usage to avoid overcharges.
  5. Close background apps: When you are not actively using an app, close it!
  6. Avoid data-intensive activities: Streaming of any kind will drain your data quickly, so save those activities for when you need them most or can connect to a secure, reliable Wi-Fi network.

How to prepare your device(s) for international travel

  1. Unlock your phone:Make sure your phone is unlocked – this is a requirement for using eSIM or SIM cards.
  2. Install VPN software:Protect your data using a reliable system VPN.
  3. Update security settings:Enable features like two-factor authentication and remote wipe in case of loss or theft.
  4. Back up your data: Regularly back up important data to the cloud or an external drive.

Real experiences from fellow travelers

Hearing from experienced travelers who have previously used the Internet on a cruise can provide valuable insight into why opting for an eSIM is a smart travel hack:

  • Darren Podmore shared: “I recently used GigSky on a Caribbean cruise. We visited 11 different islands and GigSky was the only provider that covered them all. The service was excellent.”
  • Dismantling of Aruna mentioned, “[My eSIM] “It works perfectly. It’s my preferred choice for data travel.”
Testimony of an eSIM user
Internet on cruise ships: 6 tips to stay connected

Ready to stay connected on the water?

Your next cruise doesn’t have to be a digital disconnect. Internet access on cruise ships is much easier and more affordable. Ensure you have uninterrupted Internet access by purchasing an eSIM card or using the ship’s Wi-Fi offerings. It’s now easier than ever to stay up to date while you cruise.

We hope this guide has helped you understand how to stay connected during your next trip. Stay connected, stay informed, and make the most of your cruise adventures!

  • Sky Concert

    For over a decade, GigSky has been an advocate for global mobility and consumer choice. At GigSky, we believe that when the world is better connected, we become a better world.

    See all posts

    For over a decade, GigSky has been an advocate for global mobility and consumer choice. At GigSky, we believe that when the world is better connected, we become a better world.

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