Royal Caribbean to charge for high-speed Internet on Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International said it plans to charge for Internet connection on the Majesty of the Seas when it returns from drydock.

Previously, Royal Caribbean had advertised the high-speed Voom internet as being free on the ship, which will do short cruises from Port Canaveral after the April refurbishment.

While in drydock, the Majesty will receive an expanded pool bar and poolside movie screen, family hot tubs, a kids-only pool area with the Splashaway Bay aqua park, and upgraded cabins. Royal Caribbean said the need for those investments precluded offering Voom for free.

For a limited time, however, free Voom will be available to acknowledge the previously advertised service. On cruises from May 15 to July 1, it will be included in the cruise fare. Passengers who booked before March 15 for sailings anytime after May 15 will also get free Internet.

Although they vary by ship, Voom packages typically cost about $15 a day.

German cruise line introduces social media access fee

German line AIDA Cruises is introducing a flat fee for internet access to social media networks on board its ships.

Passengers will be able to share their experiences on board with friends on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp for €4 a day or €19 a week.

AIDA claims to be “dramatically increasing” the bandwidth and speed of internet connections in addition to the new social media flat rate.

New internet packages to be introduced soon will allow unlimited access rather than be based on minutes of use.

Three options will be available with packages costing €25 for 250MB, €39 for 500MB and €99 for 3 GB of access.

Thomas Pfitzer, chief technical officer at the Carnival Corporation-owned line, said: “The use of mobile devices is continuously growing. We want to accommodate this trend and are offering our guests an additional service with the flat rate.

“With these package offers, we help keep the costs of satellite-based internet connections at sea reasonable and calculable for our guests.”

Six ships in the fleet will be equipped with enhanced internet access by next month, with completion due by November.

The new internet packages and fees will be part of the standard offering on new flagship AIDAprima (pictured).

Passengers who book internet packages in advance through the MyAIDA portal will receive a 5% discount.

MTN Communications lands two more cruise lines for WiFi

American Cruise Line and Club Med Cruises have joined the roster of cruise providers using MTN Communications for Internet and other telecommunications services at sea.

MTN also said that four existing customers have renewed their service agreements with MTN: Crystal Cruises, Moana Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises and Phoenix Reisen.

MTN uses satellites and land communications networks in coordination to provide vessel communication systems.

In April, MTN agreed to merge with Emerging Markets Communications. The merger is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, the companies said.