High-speed WiFi spreading at sea, some free

 

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, two of the big players in the cruise ship market, have back-to-back announcements of new high-speed WiFi service across their fleets—and for the lucky passengers at the high end, it will even be free.

Royal Caribbean, with 24 ships going on line, calls its service 'Voom,' and says it now has enough bandwidth to double the previous speeds and provide enough speed for streaming media. It comes in two levels, Voyage or Surf + Stream; the latter includes streaming, VOIP and texting. The basic cost per day per device is $12.99 or $17.99, with added devices costing $8.99 or $11.99.

Norwegian's three brands (Regent, Oceania and Norwegian Cruise Line) will all get that company's new service by the end of June, when the company finishes installing upgraded satellite dishes on the ships, and connecting to EMC SpeedNet. Bandwidth will be quadrupled over present levels; the company says speed will be comparable to fiber optic networks on land. Regent customers will get the service free; passengers on the other brands will have to buy plans.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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