A couple of years ago we asked, Which Cruise Line Will Be The First To Offer Free WiFi? Cruise passengers, then as now, were eager for ships to up the ante when it came to internet access. One of our readers responded to our query with the following:
First cruise line to do it will get a TON of business from me. I’ve gone on a couple cruises and really enjoyed them, but I haven’t been back due to the internet issue. I run an internet business and need connectivity 24/7. If internet access were included I would have probably spent half of last year on cruise ships.
Well, dear reader, start packing: Your ship has arrived.
Beginning this year, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will include up to 500 minutes of free Wi-Fi internet access across the fleet for those who book Concierge-level and higher suites. The line’s Seven Seas Voyager will begin the new program on October 31, 2014, with Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator following on November 3 and November 6, respectively.
To ensure guests get online without a hitch, the line upgraded existing infrastructure, doubling the available bandwidth on each ship; expanding the reach of the Wi-Fi signal to include all public rooms, suites and outdoor deck spaces; and replacing all of the related technical components onboard with newer models.
Regent is not the first cruise company to offer free internet access on ships, but it is the first ocean cruise company to do so — to our knowledge anyway. River cruise companies have long offered free internet, and Viking Oceans announced last spring that it would include internet access on its new ships.
What about you? Does internet access influence the number of days you spend at sea?
Read related story, Our Ship, Your Office: Cruise Lines Keep Cruisers Connected
March 15, 2 p.m., Caribbean Sea — Clad in a purple swimsuit, broad-rimmed hat and polarized sunglasses, Raelyn Lucklow is enjoying yet another sunny day at sea. One of 700 passengers on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Mariner the Dana Point, California, resident appears totally at ease. But something is amiss. Instead of reaching for sunscreen or a tropical cocktail, Lucklow reaches for her laptop. “If I knew the ship didn’t have internet, I wouldn’t go,” says the design consultant for Preserved Treescapes International. “I can only take time off if I can continue to work through my computer. There’s no one who can take my place. There’s no one who does what I do. So if I’m down for a week it’s basically horrible.”