Question: Do you expect or want FREE internet on cruise ships or airplanes? Is it a good idea even?

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Do you want free WiFi onboard?

About one year ago today I, for the first time ever, sailed transatlantic and did so in the Haven on the Norwegian Epic – it was one of the best vacations I have ever had. The Epic is an amazing ship and the Haven was worth every penny.

I also enjoyed the internet speed on-board, when I used it, and had a promo for 250 free minutes. I ended up running just a tiny bit short and had to buy 30 minutes more the last few days of the cruise. Now that I am Platinum with NCL (as well as my wife) we each get another 30 minutes free as well. Depending on the length of the sailing I book going forward I could get about half an hour a day of free Internet – more than enough to simply check on things.

Not too bad – but do I really want this?

But NCL is now, for the 2020 Epic crossing as you see at the top of the post, offering free unlimited internet as a perk of buying an ocean view or higher cabin. Interesting. Now it is not their top Internet package so the speed is a bit restricted. Notice the plans

This Unlimited Wi-fi package gives you access to unlimited web surfing, email access (no VPN), social media access, all apps.
• This package does not allow streaming.
• Price displayed is per day use.
• Total cruise rate will be calculated based on the number of cruise days.
• Cruises of 13 days and longer will have a lower rate. Log In to My NCL for more details.
• Can be used only on one device at a time.

This Unlimited Premium Wi-fi package gives you access to unlimited web surfing, email access (including VPN), social media access, all apps.
• The package also gives you streaming options via YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Audible, Hulu etc.
• Price displayed is per day use. Total cruise rate will be calculated based on the number of cruise days.
• Cruises of 13 days and longer will have a lower rate.
• Log in to My NCL for more details.
• Can be used only on one device at a time.
• Please note that some on demand content may not available. Live streaming channels are based on your subscription package and location

Now all the plans limit you to one device at a time and the simple workaround for that is Connectify on my laptop but that only works well in the cabin. On deck I am pretty much stuck with the one device.

But now on to my question. Is this a smart idea for either cruise lines or for that matter airlines as Delta has also suggested that, one day, internet would be free onboard. Now in the NCL case it throttled speeds so as to not totally overwhelm the limited capacity. My guess is if Delta rolls out something free it also will be limited in speed. But even so, more and more users online will impact performance – not good.

Beyond that I get that folks want/need/crave internet connection no matter where they are. In the air I get staying productive unless on vacation then I want to unplug for a bit. And when it comes to my time on ships I really WANT to have down time from being totally wired. I have to freely admit that if I had unlimited, either slow or fast, connectivity onboard I would have a hard time not checking things on my device.

I guess I am conflicted that NCL is offering this as part of the package to get folks onboard. What do you think? – René

 

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