I recently enjoyed a 7 day cruise around the mediterranean (from Barcelona) with MSC aboard the MSC Meraviglia, a massive, massive cruise liner, 4th largest in the world at the time of writing carrying 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew.
Obviously with running various online businesses I was very concerned about the internet access on board at sea as I need to connect to various servers and web sites during the time on board.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that MSC offers various internet packages for its customers so they can still access their social media, emails and other internet services whilst on board.
MSC provides 300MB satellite connection available for shared use by its customers*.
Below is a couple of speed tests I made on my iphone and as you can see the connection is pretty decent.
*So sure, 300MB connection shared amongst 6,000 people is a scary prospect, but MSC “wisely” puts a price barrier and bandwidth limit on the packages they offer which prevents passengers abusing/hogging the connection. Result being: decent speeds all round.
I opted for the “Premium” internet package at €89.90 which offers up to 4GB of bandwidth. I ran out of bandwidth by day 5 and merely topped up with another €26 for another 2GB and that got me through the whole cruise. I pretty much had facebook and email on all the time onboard and was not really being too careful what I was viewing. Obviously if you try and stream netflix or movies, then the bandwidth is going to accumulate quick.
SIDE WARNING: If you take your mobile phone on board, MAKE SURE YOU TURN OFF THE CELLULAR/3G/4G SERVICE otherwise your phone company will charge you stupid amounts for any internet access.
Below is a message I got from my provider in Spain each time we went out of range of land based connections and as you can see its ripoff prices for internet access through satellite.
NOTE: In Europe, since 2018, you can enjoy free internet roaming but that’s only for land based connections, not offshore satellite which is a different story altogether.