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WiFi in the Arctic Circle


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We will be taking a 16 day cruise of Norway that includes Spitzbergen island and the North Cape. Normally we purchase enough ship's wifi minutes prior to the cruise (to get the bonus minutes) so that we can download the Wall Street Journal and check mail. This summer I was following a LIVE thread and the person kept apologizing for the lack of posts because of lack of wifi. They said that that far north the angle of satellite reception is not good.

 

So now I'm in a dilemma. I don't want to buy a bunch of minutes that I can't use. And I don't want to pay as I go. Is it true that The ship wifi is unusable in the Arctic circle. How far north can one count on reception?

 

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

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We will be taking a 16 day cruise of Norway that includes Spitzbergen island and the North Cape. Normally we purchase enough ship's wifi minutes prior to the cruise (to get the bonus minutes) so that we can download the Wall Street Journal and check mail. This summer I was following a LIVE thread and the person kept apologizing for the lack of posts because of lack of wifi. They said that that far north the angle of satellite reception is not good. So now I'm in a dilemma. I don't want to buy a bunch of minutes that I can't use. And I don't want to pay as I go. Is it true that The ship wifi is unusable in the Arctic circle. How far north can one count on reception? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

 

In July 2010, we went up to the North Cape and I did a full live-posting as we cruised. There were a few places where there were some small connection problems. BUT, overall, I was pleased with how things worked and I was able to connect in a fairly regular and good manner. In some of the fjords, there problems due to the narrowness of the waterway and the height of the mountains. Will you bring a laptop or iPad? You can compose or read off-line, go on line to upload, get a few key articles, then go off-line, then read after you have signed off, etc.

 

Check out my live-blog for more details on the North Cape and some of the ports we visited. We didn't go to Spitzbergen. What ports will you be visiting? Happy to answer any other questions you have.

 

We visited the small fishing village of Gjesvaer, about 22 miles NW of Honningsvaag. We had a rental car for the four of us and we traveled a route that was sunny, very dramatic and rising through this stark, but beautiful landscape. There are no trees to be seen this far north. We had packed a picnic lunch with us. We got there early, but our bird rock charter was doing a photo tour with a Polish photographer with 26” lens. He took about 1000 different pictures while on his trip out there.

 

Before boarding, I asked our Captain if we would see any puffins. His reaction? “You’ll see 2.6 million there. There will be so many, it will seem like they are mosquitoes.” That sounded like hype, but it was true . . . and more! These pictures give you only a small sampling of what all we saw. It was birds, birds, birds!!!

 

To do our boat charter, you can check this website: http://www.birdsafari-aurora.no/ or e-mail at ro71no@online.no.

Our Captain was super, excellent for doing a 90-minute tour. It was scheduled for only sixty minutes, but we got more. His boat had a capacity of eight persons, was a 27-feet size and was propelled by 222-horse power*engine with thrusters to get closer to the rocks of this protected island where humans are not allowed. For the four of us, it cost us a total of 2000 NOK for the boat charter. We had special “polar suits” to protect against the cold and wind. It was not too cold, but we needed these warmer suits they provided. To be honest, weather is a “crap shoot” here. We were lucky, very fortunate! And happy. We got our car rental through: lene@nordkappbilservice.no

 

What an experience!!!! Loved it! On larger boats, you cannot get as close to the birds as we did, being closer to water level, seeing the gull colony up front and personal, etc. It was great with super weather, until the fog set in hard as we were going back to port. Fortunately, he had a sophisticated GPS, depth screen to guide him back in this “soupy” setting.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 80,181 views.

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

 

This is the harbor in Gjesvaer with its various small boats shown. Notice the reflections in the water of the boats as the sky was so sunny and blue with the water so calm.:

 

NorthCapeHarborBoats.jpg

 

 

Sailing from the small fishing village of Gjesvaer near the North Cape, this is the first of many puffin visuals, showing their bright orange feet, plus their cute and unique beaks.:

 

BirdRockPuffinFeet.jpg

 

 

This shows a huge colony of sea gulls along the rocks and deep into the large opening in the side of the mountain.:

 

BirdRockGullColony.jpg

 

 

After getting our rental car in Honningvag, the store clerk mentioned in passing a warning of “Watch out of the reindeer.” Just casually saying it. Sure. Maybe, we’ll see some in the distance. Two or three, maybe!? On the way to Gjesvaer near the North Cape, here was a small part of the large herd of reindeer we discovered on the way to our boat charter. They believed that all of this territory, including the road, belong to them. The young baby reindeer were especially cute!:

 

BirdRockReindeerOnRoad.jpg

 

 

Going down into Gjesvaer, near the North Cape, here was a harbor scene/mountain scene. At the bottom right are some of the wooden fish drying racks. Second is a picture more from water level up to the mountains hanging over the water, a boat in the harbor, birds in the sky, etc.:

 

NorthCapeTownMtnHarbor.jpg

 

 

NorCapeHarborBoatBirdMtn.jpg

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Terry, we just got back from our Artic Circle cruise on Vision of the Seas and we had signed up for the Bird Safari, but it was cancelled for lack of signups. Phooey on anti-birdists!

 

Internet function on the ship was very sporadic - sometimes it kicked off while we we were in the middle of a session, and quite often we got nothing, even when it was supposedly available. Of course, before we went deep into fjord country, it was announced that there would be no internet or TV reception because the satellite couldn't be picked up with all the mountains surrounding us.

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Terry, we just got back from our Artic Circle cruise on Vision of the Seas and we had signed up for the Bird Safari, but it was cancelled for lack of signups. Phooey on anti-birdists! Internet function on the ship was very sporadic - sometimes it kicked off while we we were in the middle of a session, and quite often we got nothing, even when it was supposedly available. Of course, before we went deep into fjord country, it was announced that there would be no internet or TV reception because the satellite couldn't be picked up with all the mountains surrounding us.

 

Sorry to hear your bird trip didn't work out. That's a good reason for having a private trip set-up in advance. Less chances of . . . "surprise", not enough people signing up. Many don't realize how spectacular is that bird island up there. Below are a few more of my visuals as evidence for why it is so super wonderful up there on the "top" of Europe.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 80,181 views.

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

 

This is a large flock of white birds with their different coloring at the top. I have been told that their official name is Northern Gannets. They are a seabird and is the largest member of the gannet family. They normally nest in large colonies, on cliffs overlooking the ocean or on small rocky islands.:

 

BirdRockWhiteLtHead.jpg

 

 

These various birds, including the puffins, were not just filling the cliffs and water, but the air, also. One of the eagles appears to be in the air. It was like a scene out of a Hitchcock film. They were not threatening us. Just busy getting food and living their lives.:

 

BirdRockFlocksInAir.jpg

 

 

We found five seals on this rock. They slid off of the rock, into the water and then peaked their heads up to say hi to us.:

 

BirdRockSealRock.jpg

 

 

These are some of these Cormorant black birds at their perching area on this island.:

 

BirdRockBlackBirds.jpg

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We will be taking a 16 day cruise of Norway that includes Spitzbergen island and the North Cape. Normally we purchase enough ship's wifi minutes prior to the cruise (to get the bonus minutes) so that we can download the Wall Street Journal and check mail. This summer I was following a LIVE thread and the person kept apologizing for the lack of posts because of lack of wifi. They said that that far north the angle of satellite reception is not good.

 

So now I'm in a dilemma. I don't want to buy a bunch of minutes that I can't use. And I don't want to pay as I go. Is it true that The ship wifi is unusable in the Arctic circle. How far north can one count on reception?

 

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

 

The satellites are geostationary over the equator do service is bad in the arctic circle. Did a North Cape and Fjords cruise a few years ago and not much service.

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I cruised all along the Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten in December 2010 (MS Polarlys, with Wifi service, from Bergen to Kirkenes, via North Cape) and the service was OK most of the time.

Then I went to Spitzbergen last september with Hurtigruten's Fram and there was virtually no service outside of Longyearbyen. MV Fram carries a blog (http://mvfram.blogspot.com) which is updated every day usually, even when the ship is in the Antarctic, but at the moment the ship is in Spitzbergen and the updates happen only once a week when the ship comes back to Longyearbyen.

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I've sailed the Norwegian fjords twice and up to Spitsbergen once. On traditional cruise ships, I've experienced satellite issues in some of the fjord ports like Geiranger, and farther north we didn't have much connection from when we left the Lofoten Islands to sail to Longyearbyen until we got back to Tromsø. You'll probably have some connectivity during the trip, but definitely not all the time, and a lot less than on most cruises.

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