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WiFi on Viking Saturn


EchoIsland
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We are currently on the Saturn. Viking has made changes to their internet service program launching first on the Saturn.  Free WiFi continues as a daily data allowance of 1.5 GB per person, resetting every 24 hours, and is stated as sufficient for emails, messaging, social media and web browsing.  For those who wish unlimited data a premium option applies for a charge of $19.99 per day, or you can choose to purchase unlimited WiFi for the duration of your voyage at a discounted rate of $14.99 per day.  Each person can be on their devices at the same time.  

 

We have found the daily allowance sufficient for our needs.  

 

And for Clay ... no sign of Pistachio Buns! 😢

 

 

 

 

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1.5 GB of data should be enough for the average person doing email and perhaps some Facebook or Instagram posts.

 

I think why Viking is doing this is because more and more are likely using the free WiFi to stream content which can be very draining on the bandwidth and causing it to slow for all of us.

 

My understanding is to stream Netflix you use about 1GB of data an hour, so if you consume a lot of this kind of entertainment when you are onboard, you will have to purchase.

 

Zoom consumes about 900MB per hour so if you are trying to work onboard, you will have to purchase the package.

 

Personally for travel, I download Netflix and Prime content to my phone in advance to watch on the plane or on the ship, so this consumes nothing when onboard.

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we were on SATURN in July (one of the first sailings) and found the internet service do be significantly less than what we'd experienced previously on other VO cruises.

 

I ran 'speed test' several times and the bandwidth I'd see for down link was typically WELL under 10 mbps. Btw we don't stream ... use was simple emails/messages, some FaceBook.

 

Provider was STARLINK ..... I'd noticed the bunch of antenna the first day.

Edited by Capt_BJ
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Many folks on CC & FB have been wanting to stream sporting events and movies as well as Facetime with friends/family or work on line.   On all our cruises Viking has asked guests to download their Kindle books, new apps and entertainment before leaving home and to limit their on board Wifi usage to non-data heavy modes like text, WhatsApp and internet searches.  Many folks ignore the request and do as they please.

 

Viking has responded to those needs and I personally don't think it is nickle and dime-ing.  Let those who want it pay for it.  What cruise lines give high quality WiFi service to even the most basic stateroom cabin level for free?  What cruise line has offered free Wifi to all for years?   I am grateful to have had free WiFi on board over the years and that my future on board usage will continue to be included.  On all our cruises we have not needed to incur extra cell phone charges ever.  We always used WhatsApp on board to communicate with any private guides we booked and fortunately never had an on shore emergency where we had to use our cell phone.

 

At home we watch movies via a WiFi service in the evenings but would socialize with friends in a heartbeat if we could on any particular evening.  On the occasion where we tried to watch a movie onboard on Viking TV, we would fall asleep after a half hour.   I just checked my total cellular data and WiFi usage on both my phone and tablet and it was 22.35 gb for the entire month of November.  I watch lots of U-Tube videos on my devices, email, text, WhatsApp, use CC and FB, read news and search the Internet.  There always seems to be an unsolicited pop up video playing somewhere too.  Looks like 1.5 gb per day on board will do me fine.

 

There are still some areas of the globe where the Starlink satellite coverage is thin so service won't always be as good as desired.  Saturn is sailing in the Med region for the next few months where i believe the coverage is good.  Will be interesting to hear more reports from those on board.

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For me, I think that it is more important to enjoy the time on the ship and disconnect from all the online crap that is not the reason that I am on the ship.  I get the books - audio and reader - I get being in contact if you have to be, but in reality, Facebook and Instagram can wait until you are home.  In my opinion.  If Viking ever went to having to pay for basic WiFi with no free WiFi, no way I would pay for that.

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11 hours ago, EchoIsland said:

We are currently on the Saturn. Viking has made changes to their internet service program launching first on the Saturn.  Free WiFi continues as a daily data allowance of 1.5 GB per person, resetting every 24 hours, and is stated as sufficient for emails, messaging, social media and web browsing.  For those who wish unlimited data a premium option applies for a charge of $19.99 per day, or you can choose to purchase unlimited WiFi for the duration of your voyage at a discounted rate of $14.99 per day.  Each person can be on their devices at the same time.  

 

We have found the daily allowance sufficient for our needs.  

 

And for Clay ... no sign of Pistachio Buns! 😢

 

 

 

 

We often take longer cruises and like to be in touch with family while we’re away. Neither of us have the face that is a book and we rely on iMessage where we have a group chat. 1.5 MB is more than enough for us.

 

We download movies and books before we depart. 
 

I hope this is a change across Viking’s fleet. I really don’t like being part of a live “broadcast” from the living room or the Explorer’s Lounge where the user has to show the “facee” around the room. We’re part of that room. Possibly this will force the “facer” to take it private; pay for it and take it to your cabin. JMO. 

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I do one 15-30 minute daily phone call USING WIFI CALLING to my 91 year old mother who has no tech skills, computer, or cell phone, as well as some e-mails composed off line, copied & pasted & then sent. I'm not overly tech myself.  Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether the 1.5 GB is going to be sufficient for that?  I have no idea what a wifi call uses.  Thanks for any advice.

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4 hours ago, shmabbies said:

I do one 15-30 minute daily phone call USING WIFI CALLING to my 91 year old mother who has no tech skills, computer, or cell phone, as well as some e-mails composed off line, copied & pasted & then sent. I'm not overly tech myself.  Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether the 1.5 GB is going to be sufficient for that?  I have no idea what a wifi call uses.  Thanks for any advice.

 

My googling results suggest that a voice call through WiFi is about 1MB per minute and a video call is about 6-8MB per minute.

 

1.5GB is 1500MB so you would be using 30MB for a voice call and 180MB for a video call.  LOTS left over each day.

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To use 1.5GB in a day would mean that you're streaming a ton of data; streaming movies would do it, but other than that, it's just not an issue at all. I have a computer consulting company and connect to my 25+ servers in Atlanta every day to back them up, and that results in a negligible use of bandwidth, even though I'm connecting to 25 different machines.

 

It would take a ton of texting or emailing--or web browsing--to get anywhere near the cap of 1.5GB in a single day.

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9 hours ago, shmabbies said:

I do one 15-30 minute daily phone call USING WIFI CALLING to my 91 year old mother who has no tech skills, computer, or cell phone, as well as some e-mails composed off line, copied & pasted & then sent. I'm not overly tech myself.  Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether the 1.5 GB is going to be sufficient for that?  I have no idea what a wifi call uses.  Thanks for any advice.

Figure about .5MB per minute, so a 15-minute phone conversation is only 7.5MB. 1.5GB = approximately 1500 MB, so you can see that it would be really difficult to hit that cap from phone conversations.

 

Most web pages only transfer a few megabytes of data; looking at photos or video on a site like Facebook, you can estimate about 1.5MB per minute for photos, about 2.6MB per minute if you're watching videos. So if you spent a half-hour on Facebook mostly looking at text and photos, you might hit 45MB, which is still nowhere near the cap of 1.5GB (or approx. 1500MB).

 

 

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Thanks longterm, I feel reassured between you and CDNPolar that Mom won't be left high & dry.   If I may pick the brains of those who seem to know way more than I do, Mr. Shmabbies complains that on Viking he has problems with downloading newspapers (they take forever, sometimes over an hour, sometimes he just gives up).  Same newspapers on other ships' free internet present no problem (takes seconds).  So my questions are:  is he abusing Viking's request to not stream by trying to download newspapers (warned you I was non-techie), and why are they taking so long?  Will he run afoul of this new limit?  And what can he do to speed things up?

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19 hours ago, millybess said:

We often take longer cruises and like to be in touch with family while we’re away. Neither of us have the face that is a book and we rely on iMessage where we have a group chat. 1.5 MB is more than enough for us.

 

We download movies and books before we depart. 
 

I hope this is a change across Viking’s fleet. I really don’t like being part of a live “broadcast” from the living room or the Explorer’s Lounge where the user has to show the “facee” around the room. We’re part of that room. Possibly this will force the “facer” to take it private; pay for it and take it to your cabin. JMO. 

Millybess.  It's 1.5 gb which is huge if we don't stream or live broadcast.  I agree, I don't like it when folks walk around video-ing and chatting with someone back home.  It's loud, annoying and a breach of my privacy.  

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10 hours ago, shmabbies said:

I do one 15-30 minute daily phone call USING WIFI CALLING to my 91 year old mother who has no tech skills, computer, or cell phone, as well as some e-mails composed off line, copied & pasted & then sent. I'm not overly tech myself.  Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether the 1.5 GB is going to be sufficient for that?  I have no idea what a wifi call uses.  Thanks for any advice.

Would suggest looking at the current wifi data usage on your phone and write it down.  Then do your phone call and some emails.  Look at your usage again to see how it increased after those tasks.  I doubt if a wifi call without video and simple emails uses 1.5 gb a day.

 

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1 hour ago, longterm said:

To use 1.5GB in a day would mean that you're streaming a ton of data; streaming movies would do it, but other than that, it's just not an issue at all. I have a computer consulting company and connect to my 25+ servers in Atlanta every day to back them up, and that results in a negligible use of bandwidth, even though I'm connecting to 25 different machines.

 

It would take a ton of texting or emailing--or web browsing--to get anywhere near the cap of 1.5GB in a single day.

Movies take a lot yes.  When the only data we had was 40 gb per month through cellular service and no wifi, cable service or network TV where we lived, we would limit ourselves to 1 movie per week as a 2 hour movie would use 4 gb.  And that wasn't even in high definition.

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On 12/1/2023 at 9:46 AM, shmabbies said:

Will he run afoul of this new limit?  And what can he do to speed things up?

Well, probably not; I would guess that a newspaper isn't going to take up too much bandwidth.


There's nothing he could do to speed things up, other than to always try to download newspapers when docked; that way, he could choose to use a cell phone for Internet, instead of the ship's wifi. We have T-Mobile, which provides free data on our cell phones, in most of the world, so sometimes I use my cell phone for Internet, rather than the ship's wifi.

 

Another thing you can do, if you have a fairly recent cell phone, is to use an eSim, which allows you to buy a package that would provide you with cell coverage overseas, for a very low price. If you search this forum for eSim, you'll find the thread where we discussed this.

The other thing he could do is to be judicious about when he downloads newspapers; in mid-morning, when lots of people are on excursions, Internet use on board will be lower--but of course, you'll probably be on excursions as well. Another choice might be later at night or during the dinner hour; remember, Internet service to a ship is like Internet service to your house; it's one finite pipe, and the more people are using it, the more that available bandwidth is going to be divided up among the users.

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1 hour ago, longterm said:

Well, probably not; I would guess that a newspaper isn't going to take up too much bandwidth.


There's nothing he could do to speed things up, other than to always try to download newspapers when docked; that way, he could choose to use a cell phone for Internet, instead of the ship's wifi. We have T-Mobile, which provides free data on our cell phones, in most of the world, so sometimes I use my cell phone for Internet, rather than the ship's wifi.

 

Another thing you can do, if you have a fairly recent cell phone, is to use an eSim, which allows you to buy a package that would provide you with cell coverage overseas, for a very low price. If you search this forum for eSim, you'll find the thread where we discussed this.

The other thing he could do is to be judicious about when he downloads newspapers; in mid-morning, when lots of people are on excursions, Internet use on board will be lower--but of course, you'll probably be on excursions as well. Another choice might be later at night or during the dinner hour; remember, Internet service to a ship is like Internet service to your house; it's one finite pipe, and the more people are using it, the more that available bandwidth is going to be divided up among the users.

What I did when I had problems with WiFi on board (and this only worked while we were in port), was tether my iPad to my cellular account using my eSIM.  It did work very well, particularly the time we had utterly impossible internet and I needed a constant signal to book excursions on the next cruise.  While we were in port, I was always tethered as we had a global plan that included more data than needed.

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1 hour ago, Mich3554 said:

What I did when I had problems with WiFi on board (and this only worked while we were in port), was tether my iPad to my cellular account using my eSIM.  It did work very well, particularly the time we had utterly impossible internet and I needed a constant signal to book excursions on the next cruise.  While we were in port, I was always tethered as we had a global plan that included more data than needed.

Good to know, as I also have to book excursions for our May cruise while on our February cruise.  But I don’t know how to do this tethering?

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14 hours ago, SantaFe1 said:

Good to know, as I also have to book excursions for our May cruise while on our February cruise.  But I don’t know how to do this tethering?

 

If you have an eSIM installed on your phone and you are in port and can take advantage of the data from the eSIM, you go into your phone settings and turn on the HotSpot feature.  Then on your iPad or laptop, you search as you would for WiFi connection and find your HotSpot and connect through that.

 

Essentially you are "tethering" your iPad or Laptop to your Smart Phone that is now acting as the data source.

 

Hope that makes sense.

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47 minutes ago, Tom.in.nc said:

Is there any indication that the paid Wi-Fi is actually faster, has more bandwidth?

Wondering because work from home would be possible if so.

 

Unlikely to be the case. I know of no cruise lines that offer enhanced speed / bandwidth based on how much you pay. Usually, the amount of bandwidth set aside for the pax is fixed - that's why your service level varies depending on how many people are using the internet and what they are doing. Most lines attempt to discourage high data transmission rates in order to minimize this variability.

 

Viking appears to be introducing a "data cap" - not unusual for other cruise lines. Some limit the amount of data transmission in this same way, others block streaming sites to accomplish the objective that way.

 

WiFi is quite separate from internet performance - it's just how you connect to the internet (although the term tends to be used to mean overall connection and internet). WiFi quality has everything to do with how the ship is "wired" and nothing to do with the internet service.

 

Although Starlink has been reported to have provided noticeable improvements in internet service on many lines, it's not a panacea - there are still coverage issues at high latitudes and on-board competition for a fixed resource. I'm afraid we are still quite a distance from on-board service that is similar to land-based service and affordable at the same time. Unrestricted "work from ship" will continue to be a bit of a crap shoot for the foreseeable future. 🍺🥌

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7 minutes ago, CurlerRob said:

Most lines attempt to discourage high data transmission rates in order to minimize this variability

However, unless Viking segregates the “paid streamers” from the general population, they will bring the system to a crawl.

I am waiting to see how this “experiment” works on the current Saturn sailing.

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