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Alaska in Need of Cel Phone Help

Hold the phone, here comes a cruise ship!

That's the cry in Alaska these days, after residents discovered that the bandwidth used by cruise-ship passengers on their cel phones was impacting the bandwidth available to people who live in the 49th state.

Actually, not the whole state. Just Haines and Skagway, which both happen to be cruise ports.

What residents are experiencing are dropped calls, spotty Internet service and even a six-hour outage one day, according to a story in the Chilkat Valley News. Since most of the poor service is at eight in the morning and four in the afternoon, that day must have been one where most passengers stayed on the ship…and the phone.

Alaska's AT&T people are all over the problem and promising better service but don't know when. Nobody wants to rock the boat, or the cruise ship, because the presence of passengers in Haines and Skagway means so much to the economy.

Until things get better, they'll just put the cel phones away whenever they see a cruise ship.

Seabourn Sojourn
10 nights
November 17, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): San JuanSt. BartsAntiguaSt. JohnCatalina Island
Oceanview: $2,999
Cost per day: $299

Who Cruises for 115 Days?

If you have been reading us for a while, you may or may not recall that the longest cruise we’ve been on was 19 days. You may even remember that we liked it, and felt a little melancholy at being separated from our home on the water, the Norwegian Sun.

In short, we didn’t think it was too long.

This week, we came across a news release from Holland America, promoting its Grand World Voyage in January 2013 (cruise lines like to give you lots of time to plan). The Amsterdam (above) leaves Fort Lauderdale on the sixth day of the New Year, docking at the same place 40 ports and 115 days later.

Think about that…115 days. That’s six times longer than our longest cruise. Six times!

Who goes on these cruises?

People who are between homes? Between spouses? Lonely? Trying to escape reality?

One thing they are is rich. Holland America’s cheapest state room, presumably an inside room, costs $20,000 for that little junket, and that’s only if there are two of you in it. That’s $174 a day. Each. It doesn’t include gratuities or taxes or insurance or getting to and from Fort Lauderdale.

Just for fun, we checked the cost of one of these around-the-world voyages on Cunard, the most regal and often most expensive of cruise lines. A 106-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2 (above) in January 2013 starts at $20,000, or $188 per day. Yes, each.

The Amsterdam has circled the globe eight times. In 2013, that number will be 10. Grand Voyage No. 9 is about eight weeks from now, from Fort Lauderdale, and the price is about the same for 112 days — $20,899. If you’d like an oceanview it’s $4,000 more. A balcony is $18,000 more.

There’s still space available…if you have 20 grand and think you can survive three months in an inside state room with somebody else.

By comparison, 19 days was a piece of cake.

Seabourn Sojourn
14 nights
December 5, 2011
Santiago to Buenos Aires
Oceanview $3,999

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