Travel

Wifi availability in the Caribbean

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Wifi availability in the Caribbean

First time trip to the Caribbean and taking a cruise to explore some of the islands. Our ports are Bridgetown, Charlotte- Amalie, St Croix, St. John's (Antigua), Castries (St Lucia) and Philipsberg St Maarten. I cannot afford the $400 plus Celebrity cruise cost for onboard wifi. For those of you who have travelled to these ports, how available is wifi? I need to stay connected once every couple of days with family at home. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Every port has wifi, most, if not all, bars and restaurants have free wifi.
$400 for onboard wifi? That is a lot more than I paid on my last Celebrity cruise. How long is the cruise?
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Pete_Coach wrote: Every port has wifi, most, if not all, bars and restaurants have free wifi.
$400 for onboard wifi? That is a lot more than I paid on my last Celebrity cruise. How long is the cruise?
Thanks! The cruise is 11 days. Very expensive. I think our Med cruise a few months ago (a 9 day) they wanted $320. This is in CAD.
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prmetime wrote: Thanks! The cruise is 11 days. Very expensive. I think our Med cruise a few months ago (a 9 day) they wanted $320. This is in CAD.
Love Celebrity but we changed to Oceania and are going on Norwegian Bliss this Feb (taking family along with little kids and Norwegian is much more family friendly).
On Celebrity, be prepared to pay a lot extra when onboard. Do buy the beverage package, it is worth it. They will have discounts on specialty dining after the first couple days so you don't need to book ahead. Don't buy any trinkets till the end. They always have a big "sale" on the second last day.
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prmetime wrote: First time trip to the Caribbean and taking a cruise to explore some of the islands. Our ports are Bridgetown, Charlotte- Amalie, St Croix, St. John's (Antigua), Castries (St Lucia) and Philipsberg St Maarten. I cannot afford the $400 plus Celebrity cruise cost for onboard wifi. For those of you who have travelled to these ports, how available is wifi? I need to stay connected once every couple of days with family at home. Thanks in advance for any help.
I've cruised HAL and their onboard WiFi for 11 days can be had for $100 USD or so.

Yes, there are bars, tourism centres and sometimes the cruise terminal itself will provide WiFi, but it is usually terribly slow because you and hundreds of other tourists will be fighting for the bandwidth. The WiFi is mostly good enough to grab email, but Facetime and Skype will often be impossible. In Barbados there was some unit who was using the free WiFi to download a big WIndows 10 update on his laptop!

I wouldn't rely on island WiFi. I've spent too much time standing in the sun, waiting for email to download at dialup speeds, when I could've been having fun with the precious little time I have at the destination. Personally I think that if you really need Internet on a cruise, you should a) buckle down and buy the cruise ship package and/or b) buy a roaming cellular data package.

At the top of my head, here's where I found WiFi:

Bridgetown - cruise terminal. Speeds were sometimes fast, sometimes slow (thanks to Mr. Windows Updater). Lots of timeouts and low signal in many spots.
St. John's - a couple bars near the port. Speeds were terrible. The one with the giant "Free WiFi" banner on the roof, you need to buy something first before giving the password.
Castries - a restaurant on the 2nd floor of the cruise terminal. You need to ask them for the password, but you don't need to buy anything. When I was there, the bandwidth was pretty good.
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On a recent cruise I used the Bell Roam like home for $12/day, was able to start usung in my balcony on the way into port, all day in port and while sailing away.
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We like Celebrity very much... and have never bought the wifi package cause we just never find it worth the money
Either because the connections aren’t that great at sea (and expensive cause of satellite service) or most importantly we enjoy ALL THE OTHER STUFF TO DO on and off the ship... that keeps us otherwise occupied, that we don’t miss our technology
The few times when we’ve found it absolutely necessary to stay connected with our cellphones or internet we’ve taken advantage of local services as you come into port
In the past that has been the FREE Wifi Hot Spots near the terminal, or an occasional restaurant / bar on the islands themselves
But honestly, we are talking just a few minutes of time to check in, and usually while multi-tasking (ie SO is shopping, or we are eating / drinking) so many other things more worthwhile to be doing with vacation time in some of the prettiest places on the planet

$ 400 Cdn sounds like a boatload of Money for Internet
I am guessing you either did not pay for it ahead as part of the Big, Better, Best Pkg ... or else you are referring to that as the $ 400 Amount, cause that sounds about right... where the 4 Perks (OBC - Gratuities - Internet - Drinks Pkg) would probably come to approximately that much per person added onto a reservation.

Personally, when we book, we always take the Big option for the Drinks Pkg, never finding much value in the other options...

And certainly not by adding many hundreds of dollars EACH to our Reservation... for what we see as otherwise discretionary spending (Internet & OBC)

I like the recommendation by @dolfan1980 for Bell’s Roam Like Home, I will probably investigate further for my next cruise... although if you have a cruise with several days at sea, then you are paying out money for days when you cannot use it. So it’s a trade off of convenience & cost.
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Pete_Coach wrote: Love Celebrity but we changed to Oceania and are going on Norwegian Bliss this Feb (taking family along with little kids and Norwegian is much more family friendly).
On Celebrity, be prepared to pay a lot extra when onboard. Do buy the beverage package, it is worth it. They will have discounts on specialty dining after the first couple days so you don't need to book ahead. Don't buy any trinkets till the end. They always have a big "sale" on the second last day.
Thanks. Your information is spot on. This is my 4th Celebrity cruise. FYI - I sailed the Med in June. I trialled my new Pokefi pocket wifi and it worked like a charm in all ports. Indeed, when I was sailing and we were close to inhabited land, I could even connect at sea. The company does not advertise its ability to connect in the Caribbean so fingers crossed.
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dolfan1980 wrote: On a recent cruise I used the Bell Roam like home for $12/day, was able to start usung in my balcony on the way into port, all day in port and while sailing away.
Thanks. I'm with Rogers but pay as you go only . I don't want to sign up for a plan to get a Roam like home as I can connect in my home area 95% of the time for free.
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PointsHubby wrote: We like Celebrity very much... and have never bought the wifi package cause we just never find it worth the money
Either because the connections aren’t that great at sea (and expensive cause of satellite service) or most importantly we enjoy ALL THE OTHER STUFF TO DO on and off the ship... that keeps us otherwise occupied, that we don’t miss our technology
The few times when we’ve found it absolutely necessary to stay connected with our cellphones or internet we’ve taken advantage of local services as you come into port
In the past that has been the FREE Wifi Hot Spots near the terminal, or an occasional restaurant / bar on the islands themselves
But honestly, we are talking just a few minutes of time to check in, and usually while multi-tasking (ie SO is shopping, or we are eating / drinking) so many other things more worthwhile to be doing with vacation time in some of the prettiest places on the planet

$ 400 Cdn sounds like a boatload of Money for Internet
I am guessing you either did not pay for it ahead as part of the Big, Better, Best Pkg ... or else you are referring to that as the $ 400 Amount, cause that sounds about right... where the 4 Perks (OBC - Gratuities - Internet - Drinks Pkg) would probably come to approximately that much per person added onto a reservation.

Personally, when we book, we always take the Big option for the Drinks Pkg, never finding much value in the other options...

And certainly not by adding many hundreds of dollars EACH to our Reservation... for what we see as otherwise discretionary spending (Internet & OBC)

I like the recommendation by @dolfan1980 for Bell’s Roam Like Home, I will probably investigate further for my next cruise... although if you have a cruise with several days at sea, then you are paying out money for days when you cannot use it. So it’s a trade off of convenience & cost.
Thanks. We always chose the drink package as well. Last cruise I had 2 perks included so also chose the $300 OBO. It paid for my gratuities and I had bit left over for trinkets.
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quanta wrote: I've cruised HAL and their onboard WiFi for 11 days can be had for $100 USD or so.

Yes, there are bars, tourism centres and sometimes the cruise terminal itself will provide WiFi, but it is usually terribly slow because you and hundreds of other tourists will be fighting for the bandwidth. The WiFi is mostly good enough to grab email, but Facetime and Skype will often be impossible. In Barbados there was some unit who was using the free WiFi to download a big WIndows 10 update on his laptop!

I wouldn't rely on island WiFi. I've spent too much time standing in the sun, waiting for email to download at dialup speeds, when I could've been having fun with the precious little time I have at the destination. Personally I think that if you really need Internet on a cruise, you should a) buckle down and buy the cruise ship package and/or b) buy a roaming cellular data package.

At the top of my head, here's where I found WiFi:

Bridgetown - cruise terminal. Speeds were sometimes fast, sometimes slow (thanks to Mr. Windows Updater). Lots of timeouts and low signal in many spots.
St. John's - a couple bars near the port. Speeds were terrible. The one with the giant "Free WiFi" banner on the roof, you need to buy something first before giving the password.
Castries - a restaurant on the 2nd floor of the cruise terminal. You need to ask them for the password, but you don't need to buy anything. When I was there, the bandwidth was pretty good.
Besides Westerdam, which piloted the new wifi, none of the HAL ships offer unlimited Wifi anymore. Royal Caribbean, Costa and MSC (and I think Carnival) offer decent prices on their newer ships. It averages to like $80US a week. For Celebrity, I usually wait for the Go Better promotion, which gives two perks instead of one, and get the free drinks and wifi.

As for Wifi, most bars close to the port offer free Wifi, but you usually have to buy a drink to get the wifi password. If it's a port built by the cruise line, they some times have free wifi close to the information kiosk. You can also ask one of the crew on board because most of them have been there many times and know where all the best Wifi hotspots are.
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GateGuardian wrote: Besides Westerdam, which piloted the new wifi, none of the HAL ships offer unlimited Wifi anymore. Royal Caribbean, Costa and MSC (and I think Carnival) offer decent prices on their newer ships. It averages to like $80US a week. For Celebrity, I usually wait for the Go Better promotion, which gives two perks instead of one, and get the free drinks and wifi.

As for Wifi, most bars close to the port offer free Wifi, but you usually have to buy a drink to get the wifi password. If it's a port built by the cruise line, they some times have free wifi close to the information kiosk. You can also ask one of the crew on board because most of them have been there many times and know where all the best Wifi hotspots are.
At this is a last minute deal, I got fantastic pricing on a balcony cabin and discounted beverage package. I'd never pay extra for wifi on Celebrity as the pricing would never be worth it. I did however pay $120 for a cruise in the Med last year on Royal Caribbean but this was because I was concerned about family at home's health and because of the time difference it only made sense.

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