Posted October 2nd, 2013, 07:01 PM
Just when I thought I knew all about most of this stuff....
Back to basics. You tablet has to connect to something, somewhere.
On the ship, the only connection is data over the cellular network - VERY VERY expensive. Or, via the normal internet connection over their onboard WIFI.
You've got the concept, but a little swizzled around.
Ship's data (whether at the public desktop or the shipboard wifi), cabin phones (and cellphones connected through the ship's conversion) go through satellite links. Those are what's expensive. They work everywhere, mostly.
Individual hotspots work through cell networks -- they're basically dumb smartphones with no displays and big batteries, that do nothing but relay data to on-shore cell networks. Those only work within reach of the shore-based towers, which means 10-15 miles out tops. Plus, there's there complication that if that connection is left available, once you get to Bermuda or Cozumel or wherever, your phone/hotspot can latch on to a partner service there, and start charging international rates for data.
So, to get back to the original question, trying a hotspot device shipboard is not advisable: it either won't work or will leave you a nasty surprise in your monthly bill, except
in ports of your home country.