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Upgraded Wifi on HAL ships?


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After various ships in HAL have gone out of drydock, many of them have seem to gotten upgraded wifi. I will be sailing on the Zuiderdam later this month and they now have a flat rate charge for wifi instead of pay as you go. There are 3 plans, social, surfer, and something else that I couldn't remember. But does anyone know if the lowest costing plan, social, allows access to social medias like Snapchat and Instagram? Or would you have to pay one plan up at surfer to access it?

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I agree with jtl513. Just off the Westerdam 26 days Med/TA. We had the 3 options listed. We took the Premiere plan for the entire voyage because we needed Skype. In hindsight, I wished I had tried Skype audio calls on the Enhanced plan. If HAL blocks Skype on the lower plans by blocking the URL or the port numbers, then it wouldn't work on the enhanced plan. But if they block Skype by simply throttling the bandwidth, then I may have been able to do voice-only calls. HAL refers to Skype Videoconferencing, which does use a good level of bandwidth. I don't normally use the Skype video option while on a ship, just calls to landline phones. The service was very good, and I did run an Ookla speed test. I got a ping rate of 490ms, which is really bad, but totally understandable for satellite-based internet. There's no getting around the transit time to space and back. The download speed was 4.9 mb/s and upload 2.5 mb/s. Certainly not what we are accustomed to at home, but definitely adequate tor everything we did.

Edited by TAD2005
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I wonder if HAL will offer this service on the Oosterdam ...
I don't think it's likely. HAL started testing these plans more than 2 years ago, and so far they have only been on the Zuiderdam and Westerdam. Edited by catl331
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I agree that the great plans on the Westerdam and Zuiderdam have not yet been rolled out to the rest of the fleet. We had a "Collector's Cruise", 12 days from Venice to Rome, and 13 days from Rome to FLL. We booked it as one long 25 day cruise, but the internet options were only available by segment. We paid $199 for the first 12 days and $209 for the 2nd leg of 13 days. Both segments we took the premiere package because we wanted to use Skype. The first 12 days was $149 for the Enhanced package, and the Social package was around $99 for the 12 days. That should give you an idea of the rates. I don't remember what the 24 hour rate was, but that was the most expensive on a daily basis. I guess the 24 hour plan is OK if you only need internet on a few days of your cruise.

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We were on Westerdam from Rome to Venice and then back to Rome, Oct 2-26. Here is the sheet with the plans and costs, the cost was for the first 12 days, and I bought another for the trip back to Rome:

 

Westerdam%20internet%20plans_zps7hvoi8rw.jpg

 

I chose the middle, Enhanced Plan level, and found it OK for email, web browsing, etc. I did not try to Skype. At one point, I tried to post a photo to Photobucket, and the system kicked me out; I presume it detects sites with high baud rates, so the middle option might not work for Skype. Maybe the Premiere Plan may not support Skype -- see the last note on the sheet.

 

Dave

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I agree with jtl513. Just off the Westerdam 26 days Med/TA. We had the 3 options listed. We took the Premiere plan for the entire voyage because we needed Skype. In hindsight, I wished I had tried Skype audio calls on the Enhanced plan. If HAL blocks Skype on the lower plans by blocking the URL or the port numbers, then it wouldn't work on the enhanced plan. But if they block Skype by simply throttling the bandwidth, then I may have been able to do voice-only calls. HAL refers to Skype Videoconferencing, which does use a good level of bandwidth. I don't normally use the Skype video option while on a ship, just calls to landline phones. The service was very good, and I did run an Ookla speed test. I got a ping rate of 490ms, which is really bad, but totally understandable for satellite-based internet. There's no getting around the transit time to space and back. The download speed was 4.9 mb/s and upload 2.5 mb/s. Certainly not what we are accustomed to at home, but definitely adequate tor everything we did.

Thanks for the info.

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We were on Westerdam from Rome to Venice and then back to Rome, Oct 2-26. Here is the sheet with the plans and costs, the cost was for the first 12 days, and I bought another for the trip back to Rome:

 

Westerdam%20internet%20plans_zps7hvoi8rw.jpg

 

I chose the middle, Enhanced Plan level, and found it OK for email, web browsing, etc. I did not try to Skype. At one point, I tried to post a photo to Photobucket, and the system kicked me out; I presume it detects sites with high baud rates, so the middle option might not work for Skype. Maybe the Premiere Plan may not support Skype -- see the last note on the sheet.

 

Dave

Those rates are a little heavy

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I would only consider them "heavy" if they were still metered. (I believe those are the unlimited rates.) Carnival has unlimited service, with premium running at a rate of $17.50 per day when you purchase for the entire cruise, as compared to Holland America which charges $16.67 per day for premium service when you purchase for the entire cruise. It really is important to compare rates to the rates of close competitors, rather than, for example, comparing satellite Internet service aboard a cruise ship to landline Internet service.

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We were on Westerdam from Rome to Venice and then back to Rome, Oct 2-26. Here is the sheet with the plans and costs, the cost was for the first 12 days, and I bought another for the trip back to Rome:

 

Westerdam%20internet%20plans_zps7hvoi8rw.jpg

 

I chose the middle, Enhanced Plan level, and found it OK for email, web browsing, etc. I did not try to Skype. At one point, I tried to post a photo to Photobucket, and the system kicked me out; I presume it detects sites with high baud rates, so the middle option might not work for Skype. Maybe the Premiere Plan may not support Skype -- see the last note on the sheet.

 

Dave

 

Ahh, thanks for this! Does the social plan not include the app Snapchat anymore? In previous photos of the plans it was an app listed, but now it isn't? How long did it take for things to load?

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Yes, all the plans listed above are unlimited. Skype audio and video calls work fine on the premiere plan. Yes, they are VERY expensive compared to rates at home. But you have 2000 + passengers plus all of the Marine operations and hotel operations sharing a satellite link. If they made it free for everyone, the speed would be so slow to be unusable. I am the IT manager for a small resort on a Caribbean island, where 10 mb/s internet costs $300 per month. We have constant problems with guests who think that because the internet is free, they can all stream HD movies and then complain when they fail. Everything is relative.

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Who knows the specifics? They're never made public. One possibility is that they're taking a loss on ocean cruises as they are working to gain market share from lines that have been ocean cruising for a hundred years, and this is one of many reflections of that.

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