Evolution Of Free WiFi On Ships

In the hotel industry, it started — at least for us — with Best Western. Free WiFi. In those days, it was a bonus because most hotels were charging up to $20 a night for checking your email. The next phase was free WiFi in the lobby and, today, most hotels offer some kind of Internet connection without a charge and soon, we suspect, all will.

NavigatorThe same thing is happening with airports, to the point where travelers now expect they won’t have to pay to go online.

Enter cruise ships.

If there was a more expensive venue for connecting than on cruise ships a few years ago, none of us knows what it was. And guess what? Every week, another cruise line is dropping the price…to zero.

The latest is Regent Seven Seas.

When the 2016-17 cruise season arrives, so will free Internet. Unlimited WiFi. On all ships. For all passengers. Anywhere on the ship. For all devices. Regent’s also including more free land tours on 11 sailings in Asia and Africa, with four ports of call Regent passengers have never before seen, plus 56 sailings ranging from seven to 128 days long.

But when Regent made the announcement, the carrot — the first line of type – was free WiFi.

Now to be fair, it’s probably easier for an upscale line that charges much more for cruises than the mass-market lines do, and for a line with a small fleet of smaller ships, to eat the lost revenue of free Internet. Why, you might ask, wouldn’t a cruise line like this announce it was giving passengers the free WiFi package immediately, and not wait until 2016-17?

Our guess is it’s because cruises between now and then are sold out.

In the news…

• Cruise lines, passengers, crew spent $21 billion in U.S. in 2014
• Free Trace Adkins concert in Dallas last weekend by Carnival
• Viking boss and Mayor of Bergen both deny corruption charges

Today at portsandbows.com: Britannia to move after a year in Barbados


Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas
4 nights
December 7, 2015
Miami (return): Nassau, CocoCay, Key West
Inside: $195
Cost per day: $48
www.royalcaribbean.com

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