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Novice Senior 08-17-2007 04:51 PM

We're getting our first laptop for our January cruise to Hawaii and French Polynesia. Can we count on these 'hot spots' for Email contact with family? What problems might we encounter? We'll have long stretches at sea and would prefer to not have to rely on the very expensive ship computers.

I hope this might lead to a discussion of cruising hot spots -and no that's not hot destinations. We're good on computer basics only.

Sandy 08-17-2007 05:27 PM

Use of the cruise ship's computers is free. It's internet access for which you have to pay, whether you use a ship's computer or your own. Typically, ships offer internet options, such that the more time you buy, the lower the per minute cost. But everyone pays the same for using the internet, whether or not you use your own computer.

I've never sailed Ryndam so I can't speak about where the hot spots on that ship are located.


Novice Senior 08-17-2007 05:37 PM

Thanks Sandy,

I sure misunderstood what 'hot spots' were. We'll still bring a laptop so my husband can write, but my hope of 'free connections' was a huge mistake.

Again thanks,


Sandy 08-17-2007 09:38 PM

Ruth, a "hot spot" is a location on the ship where your computer can connect wirelessly (using "Wi-Fi" or similar) to the internet. It used to be that one had to go to the ship's internet cafe to use a computer to get onto the internet. Now, many ships have installed equipment such that you may be able to sit in a lounge or other public room, or even in your cabin, and use your own Wi-Fi enabled computer to sign onto the internet. But, as I said, no matter where you are physically sitting with your computer, be it the internet cafe or elsewhere on the ship, the price of getting onto the internet is the same.

By the way, "hot spots" have the same definition on dry land, too. For example, all of our local Barnes & Noble store is a hot spot, meaning you can take your own laptop to that bookstore and sit in the cafe or on any chair in the store, and sign onto the internet. Some places, like the Ft. Lauderdale airport, don't even charge for this service.


Novice Senior 08-18-2007 10:42 AM

Thanks teacher Sandy,

And I thought hot spots happened when the satellite was aligned. WE cruised the Yangtze on a basic boat and connections were lost in the then, deep gorges, which are in the process of being flooded. I thought it was a similar principle on a real cruise ship - minus the gorges.

When our son and daughter visit us they always rely on the 'hot spot' gift of a neighbour's connection.

I'm learning. I guess to save money we'll compose in off-line Word and then cut and paste to Hotmail when we're connected or rely on shore Internet Cafes as we did on our South American cruise. The big difference with the one we've signed for is this one has four and six sea days.

Again thanks Sandy, your explanations are better than the usual technical support help.


Sandy 08-18-2007 02:24 PM


I guess to save money we'll compose in off-line Word and then cut and paste to Hotmail when we're connected or rely on shore Internet Cafes as we did on our South American cruise.
Ruth, that's a great plan. Composing messages offline and then pasting them into an email is the most efficient way to handle outgoing mail. It can be a tad frustrating, because onboard connections tend to be slow. But you'll get everything read and replied to. If you want to take the time to go to an internet cafe in your port stops, all the better -- and the cheaper by a huge factor.


regensburger 08-22-2007 03:01 AM

Hi Ruth,
on the Sapphire Princess (March 2007) we have to pay 50 cent/minute for the connection to the Internet with our notebook. The connection over satellite was very very slow and many times there was even no connection. Mostly we looked on land for coffehouses and hotels with Hotspots. On the Airport Singapure and in some coffehouses and hotels we had a free connection, but sometimes there was no hotspot, we have to use a wire (Ethernet).

Novice Senior 08-22-2007 06:40 AM

Thanks Regensburger,

I suspect we'll have to use an internet cafe at our ports of call, because it sounds as if satellite connections are not reliable. We don't anticipate having urgent need for a connection.

We did Asia a couple of years ago -- extended land travel - and were charged for connections at each and every hotel but when in South America last winter each hotel was free, and these were just 3* hotels. And when cruising around the Horn we used cafes at a couple of ports and costs were negligible.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.


culater 08-23-2007 10:40 PM

Yes, it's true, you have to pay for internet access, BY THE MINUTE!! It can get pricey about 75 cents or more per minute. We recently sailed on the Prinsendam and I used my laptop frequently, but for work, workaholic I guess. Make sure you check the internet cafe or the handouts in your room at the beginning of your cruise for the internet specials. I am sure all the HAL ships would offer the same thing. There was a price break if you purchased, I can't remember the number exactly, but 200 or 250 minutes for $100. It was a bout 40 cents a minute or so. Towards the end of the cruise they might sell smaller increments. But you are also smart to do your writing off line and then connect and cut and paste into your email to save those precious minutes. That's an advantage of having your own laptop. Sometimes the connections are slower at times, so I would suggest to just log off and try another time when it is quicker and you don't have to waste minutes just waiting for a website to load. Have a great trip.

Novice Senior 08-24-2007 04:23 AM

Thanks -- maybe we'll break the bank and opt for a special on computer time when we board. Otherwise we could waste valuable touring time searching out an internet cafe.

My husband just ordered his new laptop today so I'm counting on him writing the great Cdn. novel on our 30 day cruise.

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