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Wireless Access on Your Cruise

Social Media junkies - connection is coming to a ship near you

You know who you are. You with the carpal thumbal syndrome. You want to cruise but you don't really want to get away from it all - not electronically at least.

Social Media JunkieSocial Media JunkieIf you cruise with Oceania Cruise Line, a laptop (that has wireless connection) will soon accompany your bathrobe and slippers as standard amenities. The Marina, debuting in early 2011, will be the first ship in the fleet equipped with the new de rigueur amenities.

Use of the laptop is free, but you'll still pay the standard minute by minute Internet fee - they average $.65 a minute.

As I plan for my cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, connectivity has me stymied. The BlackBerry I'm currently using is under-impressing me - an iPhone is my new object obsession. My app obsession aside, taking my laptop is an option, but paying those nosebleed fees to jump online is insane.

Princess Cruise Ships offer wireless hotspots in public areas (not in cabins) and the rate varies from $.55 to $.40 per minute, depending on the package. Frequent cruisers get deep discounts - at one time Platinum and Elite members surfed online for free.

So what gives? What makes connecting onboard so expensive? Think of the free advertising cruise lines would reap on Facebook and Twitter as folks connected with family and friends.

Sadly, my data package for my BlackBerry is as expensive as connecting while at sea, so unless I find an iPhone - or better yet, an android phone - I'll be cruising wireless (literally).

If connectivity were more accessible on cruise ships, would you connect more often while on vacation?

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Princess Cruises actually has Wi-Fi connectivity throughout every ship in their fleet now... including inside every stateroom. I just sailed with Princess through the Panama Canal and was surfing the web from my cabin... :-)

We had wifi availability in our Diamond Princess cabin as we sailed all the way from Bangkok to Alaska. The only problem was Japan ordered the Princess to turn off all Internet access within Japanese territorial waters.

One of the benefits with cruising Regent (Mariner, Voyager and Navigator), is the reward they offer frequent cruisers. After 21 nights cruising with them, you'll receive free internet for the rest of your cruises. It's a subtle way to hook you in, although a great reward. I have sailed enough on Regent to receive free internet but I want to try other cruise lines. I factor the cost of internet when making my travel decisions.

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