8 Insider Cruise Hacks For Unlimited Free WIFI At Sea

July 3, 2015

It seems that checking your emails when you’re on a cruise is becoming almost as controversial a subject as tipping or smoking these days and the www.CRUISE.co.uk team have noticed that cruisers tend to fall into two camps on this issue.

There are those that would never check emails or Facebook when they’re on holiday; will in fact leave their phones in their suitcases and moan about anyone that doesn’t and then there are those for whom getting online, to keep in touch with friends, family (and dare we say it…work) is an important part of the cruise experience.

However, getting a signal in the middle of the ocean can be problematic sometimes but if updating Facebook or Twitter (or even responding to that bosses email) is important to you then may we suggest you check out these cruise hacks we’ve picked up over the years for staying in touch on your cruise…


Make sure you sign up to your cruise lines loyalty programs

All cruise lines will have loyalty programs to reward returning guests and one of the benefits on a lot of the early tiers is free WIFI when you’re on-board…. But most people don’t even realise they’re entitled to it!

If you’re cruising with a company more than once make sure you sign up and collect your points – It’s not just free WIFI you may be entitled to!

You can find a lot more information on cruise line loyalty programs here…


Make sure you tell your network provider

Never just go abroad without telling your phone company. Not only can you end up with massive roaming charges, if they suspect your phones been stolen or cloned they may just lock it as a security measure.

On the other hand, if you let them know the country (or countries) you’re heading to you may find you’re entitled to all your free minutes etc. that you’d normally get on your tariff; especially if you’re traveling in Europe.


Tether your phone to your laptop

Did you know you can set up a personal hotspot off your phone? If you desperately need to use your laptop but don’t want to pay for the ships WIFI (and do have access via your phone) you can connect the two and run your laptop off it.


Just steal other peoples WIFI

This one’s a bit naughty so if you like to think of yourself as an honest person you want to skip on to the next step.

Still here? OK…..

We just told you about setting up personal hotspots off your phone. A step a lot of people forget however is then password protecting that hotspot. If you switch the WIFI on your phone on and have a scan around you may find you can ‘borrow’ someone else’s WIFI.

(Obviously we’re not recommending this…we’re just saying we’ve heard of it being done).


Follow the crewmembers

Cruise staff will know all the ins and outs to saving a quid or two when they’re at sea (as they should, spending six to nine months on-board at a time!)

This includes where all the best hot spots are for free WIFI. As you’re disembarking in a port you’ll often notice several of them heading into town with laptop or tablet tucked under their arm and a determined look on their face. If you ask them nicely they’ll be happy to share where all the best hotspots are in these ports.

Get a drink whilst you check Facebook

For the simple reason that Facebook is so popular nowadays, many bars in ports will try to attract tourists with offers of free WIFI. If you’ve not been able to follow a crewmember into port then we’d recommend saving all your emails for when you dock and taking a quick scout of the local bars. Nine times out of ten you’ll be able to relax with a beautiful view, a big, over the top cocktail and free WIFI.


Get some height

If you’re planning on staying on-board in port but still don’t want to pay to access the ships Wi-Fi then a good tip is to head up to the top deck with your laptop. Getting that extra height means you might be able to latch on to a lot of the free Wi-Fi signals coming in from the port meaning you can potentially access free Wi-Fi without ever having to leave the ship!


Be choosy on the websites you visit

Free Wi-Fi or free access to the internet may sound important but in actual fact what many of us mean is that we want to be able to get on Facebook for free.

Aida so far are the only cruise line to do this (as we reported here) but as social media becomes more and more important to travellers our bet is that more and more cruise lines will start to provide free access to social media sites when you’re on-board their ships.


What’s your thoughts as to WIFI at sea? Do you have to be connected or do you hate the very idea of it?

Have you any tips for saving money on it?

Let us know in the comments below…