Tag-Archive for » Internet cost on ships «

Cruise Advertising From Customers

In an era when every-day baseball statistics now are WHIP, WAR and OBP, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that measuring success for the cruise industry now includes statistics from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For example:

Norwegian is publicizing the fact that in one 20-day period on the Escape, its customers logged 576,896 Facebook posts, 14,150 tweets and 11,367 Instagram posts, which somehow added up to 159 million impressions. This broke Norwegian’s in-house record for social media usage at sea.

Welcome to “new age advertising.”

If a cruise line can reach 159 million people in 20 days thanks to passengers who are surely posting 95 per cent (or more) positive messages, think of how much said cruise line Escape-Arno Redeniuscan save on advertising costs. The trickle-down effect on society is that fewer dollars spent on TV advertising morphs into higher cable or satellite costs for users, or poorer-quality television shows…or both. The same would be true for newspapers if that hadn’t already happened.

The good news is that because this becomes such an important vehicle for cruise lines, they will spare no cost when it comes to upgrading Internet access so that the passengers can do their thing as advertisers.

What’s next?

How about points for being a frequent tweeter?

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean locks up 10-year port agreement with U.S. Virgin Islands

- Photo by Arno Redenius

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news


Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
March 5, 2016
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $590
Cost per day: $84
www.royalcaribbean.com

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

Why Upscale Cruise Deals Are Rare

You may have noticed in our Daily Deals — five days a week, 52 weeks a year — that bargains on "upper premium" cruise lines appear only rarely. There’s a reason for that: The “deals” are often…well, confusing.

An example is one we just received from Oceania.

What caught our eyes was Free 3-night Winelands & Wildlife Safari Land Tour on 6 Voyages promotion. That led us to randomly choose one of the six voyages, a 30-day trip on the Oceania Nautica from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa, and dig deeper into some of the details:

• 2 for 1 cruise fares — Oceania does a lot of this and the problem is that it’s based on a “brochure fare.” On this one, the promotional fare is $9,999 for an inside stateroom, compared to a brochure fare of $26,398. That’s per person. Really? Somebody would consider paying almost $1,000 a day, per person, on the Nautica?

• Free Airfare* — The asterisk (*) is for the gateway cities where your coach air fare applies, and that transportation to say, Atlanta, is extra. Fair enough. By the way, ground transportation is not included.

• $500 shipboard credit — Okay.

• Free pre-paid gratuities & Internet — That’s pretty straightforward, until you read the fine print, where it says “Free Internet is one per stateroom and applies to Concierge Level Staterooms.”

• Free safari land tour — Also straightforward, except that it is “capacity controlled, limited availability.”

So, here’s the bottom line: Your cruise fare is half the “rack rate” and your air fare is paid from major airports; on the ship you get $500 credit per stateroom, the Internet is free if you book a concierge room ($13,299) or higher, and you get a free African safari for three days as long as it’s not overbooked by people looking for the same freebie.

Confusing?

We thought so, too.

Today at portsandbows.com: Beautiful Budapest at night

Celebrity Millennium
7 nights
June 12, 2015
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78
www.celebritycruises.com

Free WiFi Crystal's Tip Of The Iceberg

Remember where you heard this first: Keep watching for free Internet on cruise ships.

The industry took another step in that direction this week when Crystal Cruises, near the top end of the luxury spectrum, threw WiFi into its all-inclusive packaging. Right now, it's for Crystal's First Society members (repeat cruisers) and it's possible because the cruise line recently completed a multi-million dollar upgrade.

Crystal SymphonyThe genie, as they say, is out of the bottle.

In this age of digital and satellite communication, cruise lines have realized how vital it is for their passengers to be able to "stay in touch" through their variousdevices. In fact, they've realized what a plus it is when you're the cruise line that makes it easiest and least costly…as in free.

Similarly, coffee shops and department stories and supermarkets and restaurants and any number of public places become more attractive when they offer free Internet. You can say the cruise line was slow in falling in line, but you need to realize the dominoes, as they say, are bigger.

Thousand of dollars on land can be millions at sea. That Crystal can offer 60 minutes of wireless service a day everywhere on its ships, to repeat customers who are two-timers or fifty-timers, means the cruise line has found a way to cover the cost. It may be more repeat customers, or it may be the one-timers who will pay 75 cents a minute to be online.

One day, it says here, the mass-market cruise lines will be…in the same boat.

Celebrity Constellation
5 nights
February 22, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Key WestCozumel
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $49
www.celebritycruises.com

Internet Issue Bound To Change

Remember when…

Every time you checked into a hotel and asked about getting on the Internet, the hotel was happy to provide you with an ethernet cable to connect, for a price?

Remember when…

WiFi was available at airports, at a cost that bordered on the ridiculous?

Today, almost every hotel provides free WiFi, if not in the rooms then in the lobby. Today, the diminishing number of airports that charge to let you go online do so for what seems to be a more reasonable fee.

What about cruise ships?

Often vilified for charging an average around 75 cents a minute — cell phones are more (up to $6 a minute) — and that's almost always for slow and often interrupted connections, cruise lines are surely going to have to get with the program. For too long, they have justified what could be described as gouging their customers by pointing out the exorbitant infrastructure required to connect their moving objects with the satellites.

There's a story making the rounds this month about a service  that will result in phone calls from cruise ships for about $1 a minute. It's called Connect At Sea, from MTN, the company that provides most cruise ships with satellite transmission, and AT&T. The partnership is called Wireless Maritime Services.

A lot of tekkie talk is involved in the story. The bottom line is you'll have a better connection on your phone from a cruise ship, and it will cost about the same as roaming does on land. Anybody who uses Vonage (as we do) or some other VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) connection will be familiar with the quality.

Meanwhile, will realistic Internet prices be next?

The appetite for it is ravenous. Last week, our colleague Phil Reimer of Ports and Bows attended a press briefing about the first ocean ship for Viking River Cruises and when company owner Torstein Hagen said there would be no charge for Internet on his Viking Star, the applause was deafening.

It seems to be such a sore point with passengers that cruise lines would be better off to build their Internet profits into the price of a ticket. Unless, of course, their profits are even bigger than what we all imagine.


Holland America Zaandam
7 nights
June 16, 2013
Anchorage, Glacier Bay, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, Vancouver
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.hollandamerica.com

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