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kool kruiser
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I have noticed that an enhanced internet offering has been introduced with a daily charge of $20 or $100 for seven days. Whilst being a relatively modest upcharge, for me at least, it goes against the grain for a cruiseline in the luxury segment to be making such a charge. Taking Explora as a comparison, their wifi had terrific reliability and speeds and was included in the fare, with no premium offering available or indeed needed. My understanding is that the other luxury lines, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea also do not have a supplementary charge option. I truly believe that this is an unwise move, appearing to be nickel and diming and ill-befitting of such an excellent product as Crystal, being more suited to the mainstream cruiselines. I hope there is a groundswell of negative feedback and this idea is rapidly kicked into touch. Thoughts ?

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Maybe it's just us. Or the area of the world we've been cruising. But we had no issues with the current shipboard internet during our 40+ days onboard Serenity this past December-February. And since these cruises were very port intensive, we generally opted to just use our devices connected to land servers while in ports. (In ports where we were docked pier-side, we could generally connect to the port's wifi from our balcony.) On a very few (i.e. less than 2) occasions when we needed to review some documents online, we just used the ship's terminals in the computer room, which were very fast and easy to use.

 

We do not stream movies nor we do not try to hold Zoom or WebEx calls or try to access anything that requires large bandwidth while onboard. Perhaps that is why we have been satisfied with the current wifi service offered.

 

Apparently, there are others that have needs that require more significant bandwidth, hence this proposed, additional cost alternative for those that may need this type of service.

 

Rob

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39 minutes ago, kool kruiser said:

I have noticed that an enhanced internet offering has been introduced with a daily charge of $20 or $100 for seven days. Whilst being a relatively modest upcharge, for me at least, it goes against the grain for a cruiseline in the luxury segment to be making such a charge. Taking Explora as a comparison, their wifi had terrific reliability and speeds and was included in the fare, with no premium offering available or indeed needed. My understanding is that the other luxury lines, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea also do not have a supplementary charge option. I truly believe that this is an unwise move, appearing to be nickel and diming and ill-befitting of such an excellent product as Crystal, being more suited to the mainstream cruiselines. I hope there is a groundswell of negative feedback and this idea is rapidly kicked into touch. Thoughts ?

I agree with you. The internet speed during my last cruise with the Serenity was quite low, specially for uploading. It was impossible to do any security update during the time of my cruise. Fortunately it was just 13 nights.
 

The times in which, we would follow the crew members to find a land internet service or internet cafe are gone. It used to be like that about 10 years ago. Nowadays, we do not spend our port days in very unsecured internet connections on the ports of call. We pay for a good functioning internet with high speeds in cruise lines like Royal Caribbean. But at the lower perdiems of the so called mass cruise lines, it is not expected to receive luxury perks included in the cruise fare.
 

Crystal however has the ambition of remaining a luxury cruise line with exceptional service. Crystals perdiems promise that. Now, it is not important if US 20 per day is a lot or not (for long journeys like a world cruise it will be a considerable amount). It is the principle. We do not agree with differentiation to sell services onboard. For sure some people need a better internet connection than others. But this applies to every thing offered on board. For example we do not need butlers or do not drink much alcohol, however we pay for those services like everyone else. 
 

I think Crystal shall rethink in which direction wants to go. 
 

Ivi

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, ryndam said:

 

We do not stream movies nor we do not try to hold Zoom or WebEx calls or try to access anything that requires large bandwidth while onboard. Perhaps that is why we have been satisfied with the current wifi service offered.

 

Apparently, there are others that have needs that require more significant bandwidth, hence this proposed, additional cost alternative for those that may need this type of service.

 

Rob

My needs are like yours and I understand what you are saying. However, my point is somewhat different . Crystal's competitors in this cruise sector all facilitate, without upcharge, the others to whom you refer. The decision by Crystal to nickel and dime them is, in my view, very foolish and should be reversed. I think Travelberlin/lvi has also put it perfectly.

Edited by kool kruiser
typo
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Many cruise lines, including the peer luxury cruise lines, offer enhanced internet packages at additional cost. This article was published on Cruise Critic in March 2023. The link below is for reference. Some components may have changed since its original publication date. One would need to investigate the individual cruise line's current Terms and Conditions to validate current offers.

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles/cruise-line-wi-fi-and-internet-packages

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Posted (edited)

Silversea offer an upcharge premium wi-fi service for guests in the lower priced suites.  Premium wi-fi service is included for the larger suites (Medallion and higher). As someone who needs to work whilst on board I need reliable access zoom calls etc. without issue.  I welcome this new paid option and would not hesitate to add it to my cruise cost.  In no way does it take away from the luxury experience for me.  It is what it is.  I am happy to have access to it during a voyage especially when my preference is to sail 30 days+.   It is very important that I can remain connected and have fast, reliable internet.  I have no issue with a tiered program. 

Edited by goldengatecruisers
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Do you know or they say what enhanced means?   Does it go 10 times faster or??

 

I agree that charging for this type of thing doesn't seem premium cruise line to me.

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Just what kind of speeds are you requiring?  And why?

 

I have gigabit fiber at my home.  Do I expect anything close to that while moving on a ship in the middle of the ocean?  I expect to be able to move simple text back and forth with no problems.

 

FWIW, the ability to upload photos and videos and stream downloads of bandwidth is NOT on the list of why I choose a luxury cruiseline.  Lemme see here.....I can get fast internet or stellar service.  I guess I'll choose.....

 

 

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1 hour ago, ctjon said:

Do you know or they say what enhanced means?   Does it go 10 times faster or??


When I spoke with them onboard last week they said the increase in speed would be a couple of Mbps both up and down - given we averaged 6 down and 2 up across the Pacific that meant a probably 8/4 - one guest did buy the package and reported results similar to that - and certainly not 10x

 

Here’s the announcement from Reflections and a FAQ they gave me on just what the enhanced service provides - it’s very generic and certainly not specific on speeds. I really don’t see the increase in concurrent devices from 3 to 4 as a major benefit 

 

For those saying it’s “good enough” - well it’s not for VOIP calls as they often drop out or for streaming as it will stutter and it won’t allow backup of devices including photos to cloud services. It’s good enough for email and browsing and that may well suit many but if you want to do anything more data intensive you’re out of luck 

 

By way of comparison with what’s possible we had high speed StarLink service on Explora throughout our cruise in Iceland and Greenland - we consistently got 120/20 or better - that allowed me to do everything I could do on land including backups. I’d love to see Crystal replicate that sort of performance using the StarLink service they have implemented and wonder how the two implementations are delivering such different results 


Results from Explora 

 

IMG_0745.thumb.jpeg.46a61d4ecb369c8591184062401b6dba.jpeg

 

IMG_0765.thumb.jpeg.f3f03d5f08ebc0311d5fdeb4a7397db2.jpeg

 

IMG_4528.thumb.jpeg.f12b4d67ec343cfda351a4ab3558cabb.jpeg

 

 

 

Crystals Reflections announcement 

 

IMG_8914.jpeg.aa6c6ad5973da6530ba43a03d9efb3f6.jpeg

 

crystal FAQ on the enhanced service 

 

IMG_8911.thumb.jpeg.ff7a42a33ee13d0467b752c233ea034c.jpeg

 

IMG_8912.thumb.jpeg.0398fe650446cb1fb2455a9d9a6081b1.jpeg

 

IMG_8913.thumb.jpeg.377c6472850536099845587b806499ac.jpeg

 

 

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1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

Just what kind of speeds are you requiring?  And why?

 

I have gigabit fiber at my home.  Do I expect anything close to that while moving on a ship in the middle of the ocean?  I expect to be able to move simple text back and forth with no problems.

 

FWIW, the ability to upload photos and videos and stream downloads of bandwidth is NOT on the list of why I choose a luxury cruiseline.  Lemme see here.....I can get fast internet or stellar service.  I guess I'll choose.....

 

 


How can you describe 6 Mbps down and 2 up as “fast”

 

No one is suggesting Gb internet speeds - what people are asking is for the speeds delivered on other luxury lines using the same provider as Crystal are now using - is that unreasonable? My post above shows what speeds are possible - I’d settle for anything close to them on Crystal or some explanation why it’s not possible given it’s the same service provider
 

We all have different needs on board - hey if I had my way the fitness centre would have a single yoga mat as the equipment but of course there are thousands of dollars of equipment in there to provide the type of experience many luxury cruisers want when onboard - and the expectation from some around internet service is similar 

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It is not always a question of affordability but rather “willingness to pay”.  I support the above comments regarding principle, the expectations of a luxury line which generally already charges an expensive per diem and the already existing cross-subsidization of (as mentioned/implied) fitness equipment, alcohol ( by those who don’t drink), Umi Uma (non-sushi eaters) etc. etc. 

 

In order to meet “Crystal’s superlative standards” as described in a brochure I recently received onboard, charging an up -charge for a premium internet package is not reasonable IMO.  Is this the beginning of a slippery slope of up-charges? 

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4 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

what people are asking is for the speeds delivered on other luxury lines using the same provider as Crystal are now using - is that unreasonable?

 

Try the internet on Silversea.  Sometimes the string between the two tin cans just can't keep up.

 

 

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I am currently onboard Serenity.  Perfectly happy with the “basic” Internet.  
 

If someone wants to make zoom calls or play Fortnight or whatever…I have no problem with Crystal charging more.

 

interesting that no one has mentioned charges for laundry, Vintage Room, spa massages, shore excursions, etc.   No line is ALL inclusive….

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57 minutes ago, History&Wine said:

I am currently onboard Serenity.  Perfectly happy with the “basic” Internet….

interesting that no one has mentioned charges for laundry, Vintage Room, spa massages, shore excursions, etc.   No line is ALL inclusive….


But there are lines that choose to include some of those items eg laundry and/or shore excursions - of course guests are paying for that in the overall fare

 

Then there are those that choose to charge for things like “specialty” restaurants where Crystal has adopted a hybrid model on - charging in most cases after the first visit 

 

But I don’t know that any line would not charge for a Vintage Room type experience or Spa services - they’re options that I think it’s fair that users pay 

 

I certainly hope we don’t move to an a la carte service menu when we opt in or out of most services on offer - I’m happy taking some of the things I don’t utilise in combination with those I do use

 

But in this day and age a decent internet service is something a luxury line might be expected to include as part of their core offering

 

So now we’re debating what level of performance they should deliver and my point is that one line using the same provider is delivering a much better service than Crystal are - and I’m simply hoping that Crystal can aspire to achieve the same 

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Do any of you internet savvy folks know why one ship's Starlink would have such higher speeds than another?  Do cruise lines pay Starlink for different performance/speed levels? 

 

Thanks, I'm clueless!

 

~Nancy

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Posted (edited)

I too would be very interested in understanding why two ships, outfitted with the same Starlink technology, can deliver vastly different internet performance.   Prior to a recent month on board Serenity, where the internet was absolutely painful, we were sailing on Silversea Nova and Celebrity Edge where their internet was fast and consistent. In full disclosure, on Silversea we travel one of the larger suites and premium wifi is included as part of that suite amenity package.  Whereas on Celebrity we had standard internet but their's was the best of all.  We regularly do speed tests out of curiosity and Starlink performed impressively.  You can imagine our disappointment when we boarded Serenity only to be met with challenges, almost daily.  Whilst on board we had entertained staying on for a third voyage but decided the internet issues would prevent us from doing so.  We shared our comments with Crystal both onboard and at head office level and provided screen shots of speed tests from Silversea, Celebrity and comparing them with multiple screen shots from Crystal.   I did not hear a word back from anyone!   So to repeat my opening sentence... I would be very interested in understanding why two ships, outfitted with the same Starlink technology, can deliver vastly different internet performance.

 

Ashley

Edited by goldengatecruisers
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16 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


But there are lines that choose to include some of those items eg laundry and/or shore excursions - of course guests are paying for that in the overall fare

 

Then there are those that choose to charge for things like “specialty” restaurants where Crystal has adopted a hybrid model on - charging in most cases after the first visit 

 

But I don’t know that any line would not charge for a Vintage Room type experience or Spa services - they’re options that I think it’s fair that users pay 

 

I certainly hope we don’t move to an a la carte service menu when we opt in or out of most services on offer - I’m happy taking some of the things I don’t utilise in combination with those I do use

 

But in this day and age a decent internet service is something a luxury line might be expected to include as part of their core offering

 

So now we’re debating what level of performance they should deliver and my point is that one line using the same provider is delivering a much better service than Crystal are - and I’m simply hoping that Crystal can aspire to achieve the same 

And, with Explora, the line in question, no up-charge !

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3 hours ago, goldengatecruisers said:

I too would be very interested in understanding why two ships, outfitted with the same Starlink technology, can deliver vastly different internet performance.   Prior to a recent month on board Serenity, where the internet was absolutely painful, we were sailing on Silversea Nova and Celebrity Edge where their internet was fast and consistent. In full disclosure, on Silversea we travel one of the larger suites and premium wifi is included as part of that suite amenity package.  Whereas on Celebrity we had standard internet but their's was the best of all.  We regularly do speed tests out of curiosity and Starlink performed impressively.  You can imagine our disappointment when we boarded Serenity only to be met with challenges, almost daily.  Whilst on board we had entertained staying on for a third voyage but decided the internet issues would prevent us from doing so.  We shared our comments with Crystal both onboard and at head office level and provided screen shots of speed tests from Silversea, Celebrity and comparing them with multiple screen shots from Crystal.   I did not hear a word back from anyone!   So to repeat my opening sentence... I would be very interested in understanding why two ships, outfitted with the same Starlink technology, can deliver vastly different internet performance.

 

Ashley

Ashley

What seems surprising is that, with fewer passengers, internet on New crystal seems to be  much poorer than on Old Crystal !!

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9 hours ago, goldengatecruisers said:

I would be very interested in understanding why two ships, outfitted with the same Starlink technology, can deliver vastly different internet performance.

 

Ashley

So, some IT info and speculation. Firstly, Starlink (Maritime division) is an Internet service provider for ocean vessels. They provide Internet access via a setup of one more satellite 'dishes' mounted on a cruise ship. The contracted service is provided by an apparent three-option service plan with varying performance at each of the three levels (see image below).

 

Once the Internet connection is made by the ship's Starlink equipment, the Internet connection is shared throughout the ship using either a purchased/leased Starlink supplied wifi router, or a 3rd party wifi router provided by the cruise line, if the cruise line prefers to use their own router.  The specifications and performance of a 3rd party wifi router are up to each ship/cruise line and could vary considerably.

 

The chosen router then will distribute internet access to wireless access points throughout the ship.  The specifications and performance of the wireless access points are up to each ship/cruise line and could vary considerably. For example, wireless access points/routers that are 5 years old could be 1/10th the throughput as leading current ones.

 

Thus, just because a cruise ship has a faster Internet connection provided by a new service provider, it does not mean that they upgraded their router(s)/wireless access points in order to provide better throughput to end users, or have chosen a Starlink Plan Tier that provides as much throughput as another ship's chosen plan.

 

Beyond this, there are considerations for wireless signals that vary based on construction materials of a ship's ceilings, floors and walls, with metallic ones providing greater wireless interference than non-metallic, usually.

 

If you care to learn more about Starlink Maritime: https://www.starlink.com/business/maritime 

 

image.thumb.png.fcfb1a156bca7fbd0dea99888d825a31.png

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@moto_italia Excellent!  I do appreciate your time to answer this question that I believe many of us were wondering about!   I hope Crystal will proceed to improve the improvement soon!!! 🙂

 

Thank you,

~Nancy

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Thank you moto Italia. Your explanation is very helpful. I certainly hope that Crystal will do whatever is necessary to provide a better internet connection to all guests as part of the included luxury services. Specially for cruisers who are younger than the usual Crystal regulars, a functioning and fast Internet connection is very important. Crystal wants to attract younger guests. 
 

Ivi

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  • 2 months later...

From the information on the Internet access, Crystal indicated in relation to VPNs:

 

“Are VPNs, remote desktop connection software, or similar applications restricted on the Premium
Plan? Major client VPN business applications and remote desktop connections are allowed, though restrictions
may apply depending on the specific application, particularly VPNs used for anonymization.”

 

I have asked friends onboard and they were not able to use VPN during the world cruise. Has anyone been able to use a VPN service onboard Serenity or Symphony? And if yes, which provider? 
 

Ivi

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/1/2024 at 12:05 PM, travelberlin said:

From the information on the Internet access, Crystal indicated in relation to VPNs:

 

“Are VPNs, remote desktop connection software, or similar applications restricted on the Premium
Plan? Major client VPN business applications and remote desktop connections are allowed, though restrictions
may apply depending on the specific application, particularly VPNs used for anonymization.”

 

I have asked friends onboard and they were not able to use VPN during the world cruise. Has anyone been able to use a VPN service onboard Serenity or Symphony? And if yes, which provider? 
 

Ivi

Just got off in Miami from our 4 months World Cruise, using the standard internet I was able to stream Netflix, Prime Video and many more without a hitch with and without a VPN (I use ExpressVPN) the only time that I wasn't able to use my VPN was in San Juan (strange?) I tried the upgraded internet for a week but it really wasn't that great ( 9 Mbps down and about 4Mbps up) not worth it. I did notice on deck 13 there were 5 Starlink dishes set up.

36906D45-DC2D-4D47-833B-9FDD3C3CD19D_1_105_c.jpeg

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