Bon voyage! If you’re looking forward to a cruise in the near future, you’re probably excited about your trip on the high seas. Before you set out for adventure or relaxation, you’re likely wondering how you’ll be able to access the Internet while out on the ocean. Will you be able to share your vacation on social media? Are you going to have a chance to catch the latest episode of your favorite TV show? Can you work on that big report from your cabin? Using a VPN can help with all of these questions, but can you even use a VPN on a cruise ship? We’ll explore all of that, and more, below. 

Accessing the Internet on a Cruise Ship

It is notoriously difficult to provide fast, reliable Internet access to thousands of guests at any given location, like a theme park or a hotel. Couple that knowledge with the fact that you’re in the middle of the ocean, and you can see why cruise ship Internet access is such an important topic. Ultimately, travelers have found that the Internet speed on cruise ships is slower and pricier than they preferred.

Fortunately, you’ll still be able to get Internet access on your cruise ship of choice. Most ships offer guests different levels of access, which are then charged per device. On average, guests pay an estimated $15-20 each day, per device, for Internet access on the ship’s WiFi network. Speeds may be slower than you’d expect, and even more so at the lower access tiers. 

In most cases, guests are able to share photos, videos, and messages across social media like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you normally stick to these applications, you can expect to have an easy time communicating with friends and family. It’s also a good way to avoid using too much bandwidth while on the cruise. However, if you’re looking to stream content or complete something for work with a VPN, you may be out of luck. 

Can I Use a VPN on a Cruise Ship?

Like most forms of travel, cruise ships are each unique from one another. What you’re able to access on one cruise may be entirely different than what you can use on another. For example, Carnival Cruise Lines have spoken out about VPNs, stating that they are “not supported” on their ships. And although there is no official declaration, guests on the Royal Caribbean ships have reported an inability to use a VPN. This can be especially frustrating if you’re looking to complete work assignments while you’re away from the office or accessing streaming content. 

Luckily, some cruise ships do provide users with the ability to use a VPN through a paid plan. Norwegian Cruise Lines have expressly stated that users on their Unlimited Premium Wi-Fi package can use VPNs, in addition to a variety of other features. This same option is not available for users on lower tiers, however. 

Ultimately, if you aren’t completely certain whether or not a cruise line allows you to use a VPN, you may have to assume that the answer is “no.” Fortunately, if you prioritize your VPN for more security and privacy, there are still a few ways to protect yourself on cruise ship Wi-Fi.

Protect Yourself on Cruise Ship Wi-Fi

You should feel safe when traveling, and many cruise lines go out of their way to ensure that all guests have enough security to enjoy their trip without concern. However, cruises are a hotbed of cybersecurity risks that can turn your vacation at sea into a nightmare. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to protect yourself, your devices, and your personal information while cruising with friends or family. 

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi
  • Never use free USB charging stations
  • Update your devices before your trip
  • Use your cell phone’s data on the ship
  • Install a powerful VPN on your device
  • Back up your photos and documents 
  • Ensure your passwords are strong
  • Avoid checking your banking information

While most of these are simply good security measures, they’re even more important when traveling. Cruise ships take guests all over the world, and it’s important to ensure you have the right level of protection so you can safely enjoy your vacation with more peace of mind. 

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