When we embarked on our 18-day Transpacific cruise with our family, we were warned that internet would be expensive and slow. Because our livelihood depends on staying connected with our clients online (we’re sales reps for retail gift products), we knew internet wasn’t optional for us—we were going to have to buck up and pay the bill.  We were forewarned would cost us .65 cents per minute to get online—ouch!

Low and behold, when we boarded our Royal Caribbean cruise, we found that they had a variety of pre-paid internet packages we could choose from (besides the .65 cents per minute option).

60 minutes….$35 or $0.58/min

100 minutes….$55 or $0.55/min

150 minutes….$75or $0.50/min

250 minutes….$100 or $0.40/min

500 minutes….$150 or $0.30/min

We decided we’d try to limit our internet use to about 30 minutes a day, which came to 500 minutes for our trip—the largest package. $150 later, we had created an internet a Wi-Fi account, and could access the internet from our stateroom (or anywhere else, for that matter). We use Connectify Pro to connect both of our computers via one Wi-Fi access account, so we each had about 30 minutes each day to get online simultaneously. We jumped on and off through the day to download emails, disconnect, respond, and then reconnect and upload and send the messages!  It wasn’t as hard as I thought to limit our internet access.

Was the internet as slow as people suggested it would be? 

Not at all. In fact, I would have thought we would have lost internet/satellite reception in the middle of the Pacific when we sailed for 5 days without so much as a nearby island. But no…the internet clipped along at an acceptable speed (no worse than we had experienced in Asia…and certainly better than the speeds we suffered through in Europe), and even allowed us to stream YouTube videos (which only lasted a minute or two, once we reminded ourselves that it was costing us $0.30 cents per minute to watch them).

I love the idea of going without internet for an extended period of time…and I fully recommend that if you don’t have to be connected on your cruise…certainly don’t get connected!  Instead, take the opportunity to disconnect online and reconnect with your family and loved ones!  I mean, seriously, who goes on a cruise to get online and chat?!

But for us—it’s our job to be connected, and so we were happy to find that the cost wasn’t astronomical or painful! While Royal Caribbean did offer a small Cyber lounge where you could connect from their desktop computers, we loved that they promised strong Wi-Fi connections in every room, so that we could connect from the comfort of our stateroom. But a word to the wise…you can’t purchase a smaller package and then hope to bump it up by paying the price difference when you discover you need more minutes. So, choose wisely and error on the side of more minutes!


Royal Caribbean was kind enough to provide us with some complimentary minutes so that we could blog and Facebook with our followers while on our lengthy cruise. We purchased additional minutes beyond what was gifted. Thanks, Royal Caribbean!

8 Responses to “Is Cruise Ship Internet really slow?”

  1. Thanks for the info on that. I’m sure every cruise line has different “deals” but it’s something we’ve always wondered about.

    • Yes, I’m sure every cruise line has a different scenario–and possibly a different internet provider, too! Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas impressed us!

    • My issue with Cruise intetnet is how the ‘bill’ it, Charging by the minute. Just connecting to there wifi does not “cost” them anything. The billing should be by number of MB downloaded. I could be Connected 24×7 on wifi, and never use the internet. or Connect for 5 mins and pull down GB’s of data. Also there Internet connection is shared bandwidth. So if Lots of people are on you are getting ‘less’ internet then when no one is on.

      • With cruise ship internet, you don’t want to leave yourself logged in to their system (or else you are using minutes)! So, yes…you pay per minute and not by MB downloaded. You are required to login upon use, and you’d want to log out immediately when you are done. It is not the kind of setup where you are going to leave your phone logged in all day to update you on emails, etc! Certainly a different internet scenario than a pay-per-day plan. It would be cool if they simply offered internet for $10/day (like a resort)…but then you’d have everyone on the ship connecting their phones and computers, slowing it down for everyone else. Leave the bandwidth for people who actually need it!

  2. Royal Caribbean’s Internet on-board their Trans-Atlantic cruise is about the most expensive Internet I have ever paid for. $150 for 500 minutes, equates to .30 cents/minute, or $18/hour.

  3. This is an old thread but maybe some industry insight may help to understand. I work for a smaller cruiseline and we pay 100s of thousands of dollars yearly for the satellite connectivity to the provider. In addition to that, there’s the cost involved with buying the satellite equipment (dishes, domes, transponders, routers, Access points in every other cabin to provide adequate WiFi in a steel cage…) and the permanent maintenance in the harsh saltwater environment. So to say the price is just for additional revenue is a little single-sided. It’s not cheap for sure, but mostly it’s reasonably priced and cannot be compared to land based resorts. Given, the cruiselines do use the additional revenue to pay for the connectivity but a lot less than one would imagine ends up as a positive on the bottom line.

    • Thanks for that insight! Having installed (ourselves) satellite internet before, as well as paid the prices, we understand how this is a huge task that cruise ship takes on to offer that convenience to its customers. I don’t even understand the concept of a moving satellite…so…I’ll take your word for it…it’s a great service at a reasonable price considering we get internet in the MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN!!!

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