The thing is you are logging into the ship's server so ending the wi-fi signal on your end doesn't do anything to end the session. I usually keep the cruise ship log-on screen in it's own tab of the browser and open another tab to do my surfing, then I can log off without forgetting (hopefully).
I've also made a bookmark for the 126.96.36.199 Zydeco mentioned. It is easy to get into minute trouble with a laptop.
And tracking your minute use even if you use the cafe computers is a good idea. We ran into two cases where something got fowled up and we never actually got "logged off". The IT guy in the the cafe credited our account with the minutes we lost but you need to know how many you lost.
The other point... especially if using the ships computers... write your email and have it saved/ready to send BEFORE you log in to send it. You will need to use a web based mail service (since you are not really connected to your provider and their mail servers) It a real minute waster to log in and then be burning minutes composing a email on the web email page. Especially if you lose the connection before you can hit the send button. As slow as the connection is, you can burn through 3 or 4 minutes just logging into your mail account, copying in you email text and hitting send...
Thanks everyone for the info. I've never touched a computer on a cruise before, or even thought of it. Since I have a new one, I thought I'd take it and check email once or twice and vonage voicemail. I'm not going to check work email though.
The system will usually log you out after some period of inactivity, but that will still be a few dollars wasted. Be sure to log out.
Cruise lines typically block Skype. I have read where some do get Vonage to work. There isn't sufficient bandwidth if everyone wanted to use VoIP, but it can work for a few. You will also notice a satellite propagation delay if you make live calls to anyone.
Thanks Zydeco, I'm not going to use voip to get my voice mails from vonage. That would be a mess I'm sure, it doesn't work that well on land. Vonage sends them as wav files via email. I figure I can download them fast and listen after I log out.