TRAVEL THERE: ON BOARD INTERNET PACKAGES
Perhaps I’ve said it before, but I’ll mention it again. This was probably our last big ship cruise. River cruising spoiled us: free wi-fi onboard, wine and beer included with meals, shore excursions included, docking inside a destination and a whole lot less people to deal with. When we first started cruising, we liked having our room, the meals and the entertainment included, but it didn’t take us long to figure out that was a long haul from all-inclulsive. We don’t like to get nasty a la carte surprises at the end of a trip. On the Anniversary Cruise, here’s what we did about the internet.
Gotta Have My Social Media
For most people, having access to social media is about relationship. I enjoy that aspect of it, but it’s also my job. People pay me to post to their channels on a regular basis. With the wonders of technology I can plan the posts, create the content and schedule the items to post long before they are needed. In fact, for most of my clients I have weeks of posts all lined up. Once all that is done, most items post automatically. I don’t even have to think about them. Most, but not all. Our friends at Instagram require posting from a smartphone. I still hate whoever came up with that.
To fulfill my obligations, I needed to be able to post to Instagram, from my phone, on a daily basis, throughout the trip. Wi-fi on board a cruise ship costs an arm and a leg, and this was true on Celebrity Edge too, but that’s only part of the problem. It’s also outrageously unreliable. That may be OK for checking your email and posting your vacation pictures, but it won’t do for business. We’d learned that on our cruise in 2018. I hadn’t added social media to the services I offered yet, but the market blew up and Bill needed to do some trading on board. We were on the brink of financial ruin if he couldn’t make the trades and he was only barely able to make it happen. Imagine someone asking you how you lost all your money and you having to tell them you went on a cruise!
So, I was looking for Plan B. Instead of depending on the ship for my internet connection, I’d rely on my cellphone provider. That way I’d also have phone service, texting, GPS and all the rest. The only caveat was that it would not work when we were out to sea. Since there was only one day at sea, I knew my clients would forgive me one Instagram post on one day – if the rest of it worked and it almost always does.
So, we didn’t get a wi-fi plan, but we did use Verizon’s International Plan. Warning, once you turn on the International Plan, you have it for life. If your phone figures out you are out of the country it turns on the International Plan. So if you don’t want it, keep that airplane mode on.
The Celebrity App
As to texting on board, the only people I wanted to contact when I was at sea would be the friends I had with me and thankfully, we didn’t need wi-fi. Celebrity has an app for that. The Celebrity app was one of our favorite things on this cruise. We probably used it more before the cruise than we did during, but we loved it. It’s all well and good to have a website and we used Celebrity’s extensively in planning, but once we downloaded the app we spent hours on the app. We’d whip out our phones for ceremony planning, to remind us what was happening on what day, to discuss dinner options, to show other people what we were planning and all kinds of things. On board, it allowed to stay in touch with our friends without them having to be in their rooms or hooked up to wi-fi. The one drawback was that there were no notifications. We just had to check our phones occasionally to see if anyone had tried to chat with us, but it all worked.
To tell the truth, if money were no object (but money is always an object) I would have gotten both wi-fi and the International phone plan. Personally and professionally, my life is online. I wished for my laptop. I wanted to post more pictures every day, but we were always on the go when we were docked and I don’t do much posting on the fly. We’d sail away about the time I got back on board and I didn’t have time to sort through all my pictures and post the ones I wanted. Usually that early morning and end of the day posting is part of the fun, but since my internet was tied to the port, it didn’t get done.
Next week is Christmas and then we have New Years. Let’s talk about another a la carte provision – beverages – after the holidays!