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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

Cruise Question: To Surf Or To Drink?

An online travel agency called Cruise Holidays conducted a quickie survey on its Facebook page recently, asking readers to choose between two options for “something free” if going on a cruise:

• Free Internet

• Free drinks

The creators could’ve called it De-vices vs Vices but they didn’t. They also resisted the Burrowing Owl wineiPhoneurge to call it a “straw poll” although that’s what it was. What they did call it was “shocking” because when the results were compiled, nearly one-third of the respondents said “free Internet.”

Think about that. Drinks on cruise ships are expensive — all drinks, including soda pop. One estimate is that a couple could save more than $1,000 on a 10-day cruise with a free drinks package. Plus people go on cruise ships to get away from the office, so to speak, right? Plus holidaying and partying and socializing usually comes with a generous number of drinks (alcoholic or not), and that’s a big part of being on a cruise.

Yet 32 per cent of the people who responded to the question chose free Internet. Maybe it shouldn’t be such a shock. After all, people are infatuated with — dare we say addicted to? — “devices.”

What would you choose?

Today at portsandbows.com: More flights to ports from Canada

Norwegian Star
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Los Angeles (return): Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $42
www.ncl.com

Up In The Air Over Free WiFi!!!

You travel. You cruise. You hear the word "Norwegian" and you don't think about a tall Scandinavian or an Olympic athlete from Norway, competing in Sochi this week. You think about the cruise line.

We did.

Yesterday, another "Norwegian" popped up on our computer and it wasn't an Olympic athlete or a cruise ship.

It was an airline. It's not Norwegian Air, Airlines or Airways. Just Norwegian and you might like to take note of it for two reasons.

One, its fares from North America to Europe are competitive, to say the least. New York to Oslo for $242. New York to Stockholm for $257. New York to London for Norwegian-Anzassin$192. Including taxes, and these are starting prices. Norwegian also flies out of Fort Lauderdale.

Two, Norwegian offers free WiFi (most flights). That's right…fly for six hours and be online the entire time without paying a dime. That's what caught our attention because maybe there will be more free WiFi on airlines…and maybe in time it will spread to cruise ships.

There are reportedly 650,000 locations in 144 countries where you can locate free WiFi by using an app called WiFi Finder. It's also free.

Who doesn't like free stuff…especially when it's WiFi?

Remember. Norwegian is more than a cruise line.

-photo by Anzassin

Norwegian Jade
10 nights
April 2, 2014
Rome (return): OlympiaAthensEphesusIstanbulNaples
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $44
www.ncl.com

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