or do the cruise lines nickel and dime you to death. This is my first cruise coming up and I was supprised to find out that if I brought along my laptop that I would have to pay access to their wi-fi. I would have thought that this would have been free like it is with fast food places and coffee shops .
No, it's not just you. I have been cruising for some time and I find that cruiselines have been coming up with more ways to get our money over the last few years.
Carnival Liberty New Year's Eve 2007
Liberty of the Seas 5/2008+11/2009
Allure 1/16/ 2011
Do what I do - I bring along my netbook or laptop and then take it into port with me, find a nice bar with free WiFi, order a beer, and relax while taking care of business. Been doing that all over the world and it works great.
But as Kuki pointed out, WiFi on a ship is a satellite service, which is not free. Plus, it's very slow.
And yes, like alot of other companies nowadays, cruise lines are always trying to find new ways to increase their income without raising the price of the cruise itself so they can keep advertising those cheap rates to get your attention. Car dealers have been doing this for decades.
__________________ 45 Cruises & Counting! Favorites: Paul Gauguin to Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises in Europe; any of the Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America for 12-nights in the Baltics & Russia; RCCL for 14-night Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America for 14-day Alaska cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days in Hawaii including a 7-night NCL cruise; Oceania for 25 days in Asia; & 3 months touring Europe by train. And many days spent in all-inclusive resorts!
Without a doubt cruising is not an "all-inclusive" holiday - and it isn't advertised that way anymore, but it was for many years and so the perception that it is all inclusive is still out there.
The regular cruiser community actually had a bit of a revolution in the early 2000 when the cruise lines started adding so many more and new "spending opportunities" onboard. I remember a LOT of people saying "I'll never pay to dine on a cruise ship" when alternative restaurants were added.
But, in fact, we give the industry credit for successfully portraying these onboard added costs as "optional" and not mandatory (and in fact they are optional in most cases).
Of course, we all consider the Internet mandatory these days, but a cruise ship is different. (well, even hotels still try to get $12/day out of you for Internet) but if you were isolated in the mountains your only Internet option would be a satellite uplink, and those are never cheap.
That is the way it is on cruise ships, but let's also be realistic. I would bet you most of the bandwidth onboard is used by the staff, not the guests. And those cruise ships could no more survive without the Internet for their internal systems than they could survive without fuel.
So, yes I do tend to agree that if nothing else the price of Internet should come down on cruise ships. River cruises actually offer it for free (but it is a terrestrial connection, not satellite, over the cell-phone network).
But cruising is a complicated product. It used to be more inclusive when there were less options; meals and shows were always included. Tours and alcohol have always been additional (except on riverboats where they are mostly included).
Every cruise is different - that's just the way it is.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.