Frontier Bundles was interested in uncovering which cruise lines offer the best Wi-Fi packages and deals for consumers. The next time you’re planning a vacation cruise, use this exclusive list so you won’t find yourself set adrift without data!
Today, being stuck without Wi-Fi is like being completely isolated from the rest of the world. Many airports, airlines, hotels, and other travel related establishments now include Wi-Fi services in their pricing to accommodate this shift in communication preferences. So it only makes sense that cruise lines—which can be out to sea for any number of days at a time—should also offer similar services to their patrons.
Here is a list of rankings that were ordered by comparing which cruise lines offered the easiest social media access and highest photo-sharing speeds for the best prices.
These rankings were compiled and prioritized to show which cruise lines offer the very best speeds for streaming voice and video.
Breakdown of each cruise line
Viking Ocean Cruises provides both ocean travel to, and river cruises in, nearly every continent across the world. Both Viking Ocean and Viking River Cruises have consistently won top ranking awards from publications like Travel and Leisure who named them “#1 Ocean Cruise Line for ships carrying 600-2199 guests” in 2018. Given this, it’s probably not too surprising that Viking ranked best for both regular consumers and business travelers on these lists.
- Average speed: 50 Mbps download and 8 Mbps upload
- All ships offer free Wi-Fi
Azamara Club Cruises has cruise packages that land in nearly every continent, but their company favorite trips are their Carnaval Rio Voyage and New Year’s Eve in Rio Voyage. Azamara has been recognized by several publications that include the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Cruisers’ Critic Choice Destination award (just to name a few). On these lists, Azamara Club Cruises was rated best for business travel, but a little bit more pricey for regular consumers.
- Average speed: 25 Mbps
- 60 Minute Package: $19.95
- One-Day Internet Pass: $29.95
- Full Voyage Unlimited: $19.95/day
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is known for their luxury cruise ships that are widely recognized to have some of the best cabin accommodations in the industry. Another unique aspect of traveling with Regent is their focus on unlimited and free shore excursions, which offer exclusive experiences with features like behind-the-scenes tours, meals with master chefs, and more. Regent ranks 2nd for consumers and 3rd for business travelers on these lists.
- Regent recently quadrupled their bandwidth to make your internet experience as close to your home fiber-optic network as possible, achieving an average speed of 50 mbps!
- Wi-Fi is included in the price of admission
Disney Cruise Line—aside from the obvious—is known for their private island “Castaway Cay” cruise port located in the northern Bahamas, just off of the Florida coast. Whether you’re staying on the island before traveling elsewhere in the world or making it your destination, Cruise Critic says the bottom line is: “Disney’s attention to detail makes this private island one of the most impressive we’ve seen.” For price relative to speed, Disney Wi-Fi was ranked at #10 for consumers, but achieved a #4 rank for business travelers.
- Average Speed: 25 Mbps download and 8 Mbps upload (in ideal conditions)
- Email Plan: $60 (up to 200 MB of data)
- Surfing Plan: $120 (up to 500 MB of data)
- Unlimited Plans: Prices vary by destination and duration. Seven day plans typically start at $250.
Seabourn Cruise Line competes in what is known as the ultra-luxury cruise line market. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington and often launches from the beautiful Puget Sound. Seabourn offers cruises that start at 7 days and world trips that go for several months at a time. For regular consumers Seabourn Cruises ranked 7th place, with a 5th place ranking for business travelers.
- Average Speed: 22 Mbps download and 9 Mbps upload
- Silver Package: 2 hours for $19.95
- Gold Package: 3 hours for $29.95
- Platinum Package: 4 hours for $39.95
- Unlimited Plans: Prices vary by destination and duration.
Carnival Cruise Line is one of ten cruise brands that are collectively owned and operated by Carnival Corporation & plc. With a fleet of 26 ships, Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest of their parent company’s properties and among the largest companies in the industry. Carnival Cruise Lines are well known throughout the industry for their trips to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Panama, and Malta. Coming in at 6th place for both consumers and business travelers, Carnival Cruise Line represents a steady average for both types of travel.
- Average Speed: 5.1 Mbps
- Value Plan: Access to basic internet communication like email.
- Social Plan: The Social Plan includes access to popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, SnapChat, and popular airlines sites, but doesn’t include any access to video or audio streaming services.
- Premium Plan: The Premium plan includes access to all of previously mentioned sites, but at 3 times the speed of the other plans, and with additional access to skype calling.
Royal Caribbean International was originally founded in Norway, but currently operates out of Miami, Florida. With over 25 ships currently sailing throughout the world and 5 more ships on order, this is no small operation. As the name implies, they are famously known for their Caribbean cruises. On this list, Royal Caribbean International came in at 8th place for both regular consumers and business travelers. For consumers, that puts them at the higher end of cost for speed, and for business travelers this is an indication of lower speed availability for important communications functions.
- Average Speed: 4.58 Mbps down, 5.25 Mbps up.
- Surf and Stream Voom: $16.99-$19.99 per day, per device (discounts given for each additional device up to 4)
- Surf: $12.99-15.99 per day, per device (discounts given for each additional device up to 4)
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises comes in at 3rd place for consumers and 7th for business users. This is largely due to the fact that they offer 1 hour of free internet a day. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is particularly unique because of their expedition cruises which take you to exotic destinations like the Antarctic continent.
- Average Speed: Approximately 5 Mbps, with peaks of 8 Mbps and lows of 2 Mbps
- First hour of service is free
- Each additional minute is approximately $.22 per minute.
Crystal Cruises is a luxury cruise line that built most of their reputation off of two medium-sized ships. Their dedication to detail has earned them a record number of “World’s Best” awards from Travel + Leisure, along with several honors from Conde’ Nast Traveler. Crystal Cruises came in at 5th place for consumers because Wi-Fi is complementary, but at 10th place for business travelers because of low speeds.
- Average Speed: 256 Bps
- Wi-Fi is complementary
Silversea Cruises is another luxury cruise line, which is headquartered in Monaco. This was the first company to attempt all-inclusive cruising, where dining, drinking, and activities are all included in the original cost to travel. Silversea Cruises came in at 4th for consumers and at 9th for business travelers, both for similar reasons to Crystal Cruises.
- Average Speed: Speeds reach up to 2.9 Mbps
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Windstar Cruises is yet another luxury brand, but with its own unique focus in the industry. With smaller ships, Windstar offers a more personalized experience to their guests, which has consistently earned them awards from leading cruise ship publications like Conde Nast Traveler. Coming in at eleventh for both consumer and business travelers, the cost for service through Windstar is relatively high and the speeds they offer are particularly low.
- Average Speed: 1 Mbps
- Email Plan: $60 for up to 200 MB
- The Surfing Plan: $120 for up to 500 MB, with lifted sanctions against browsing and small file transfers
- Unlimited Plan (prior to sailing): $250-$525 depending on duration and destination of travel.
Outreach to cruise lines included emails, phones calls, and tweets recorded over the course of 3 weeks. The 11 cruise lines included in this study are those that both responded to inquiries and provided all of the requested information. Of the 20 cruise lines originally included in the outreach process, only 17 responded. Of those responses, 6 offered internet pricing plans but would not provide any specific speed information.
The ranking for regular users compared the speeds and prices needed for daily access to social media on a 5 day cruise, or for one hour per day where daily rates were not available. Price was valued over speed.
The ranking for business users compared the speeds and prices needed for daily video streaming on a 5 day cruise, or for 4 hours per day where daily rates were not available. Where 5 day prices were not available, 7 day prices were used. Speed was valued over price.
Speeds were based on information provided by each company, respectively. Actual Wi-Fi speeds will vary by many factors, including but not limited to weather conditions and cruise ship locations.