Being at sea on a beautiful ship is a great escape from daily stress and workplace demands, but meeting planners and attendees don’t have to worry about being disconnected during their cruise event. Nearly every ship now has an Internet Cafe, pervasive WiFi or Wireless Hot Spots, and crystal clear cell phone connectivity.

Most frequently asked questions about cruise ship connectivity:

Can I access the Internet?

Wireless service is available onboard most ships at sea and provides easy-to-use Internet access to stay connected using your own Internet Service Provider. Most ships have Internet cafes with computers offering access to e-mail and the Internet, plus direct connections to favorite Web sites for stocks, sports and entertainment updates.  Internet speeds can vary significantly from line to line, ship to ship, depending on factors like location and available bandwidth.

Internet Cafe Fees: Cost for both wireless access and Internet usage at computer stations is $0.65 per minute, or your attendees can opt for prepaid packages starting at $35 for 60 minutes and going up to $150 for 500 minutes.

Is Wi-Fi available throughout the whole ship?

That depends. Many of the cruise lines boast 100 percent “bow to stern” Wi-Fi access on their ships; including all lounges, bars, pool areas, open decks, dining venues and staterooms. Other vessels have the service available in select areas or hot spots– in  public spaces, lounges, and suites, for example.

If you prefer a peaceful, phone-free environment, many ships now offer quiet zones. These are places on board where phones can’t get signals or talking on cell phones is discouraged– in dining rooms, theaters, and the spa.

How Much Are Internet Fees?

Your meeting attendees can either bring their own equipment or rent laptops or wireless Internet cards. Internet charges vary by cruise line, ranging from about 35 cents to $1.25 a minute. If you plan to use the Internet extensively, consider purchasing a package plan for unlimited access or a block of time. Group rates can also be negotiated with many cruise lines. To save even more money, your cruise event participants can use Internet cafes in ports of call. Many port facilities are also adding on-site Internet centers.

Can I use my cell phone?

Nearly every major cruise lines offer an advanced roaming network onboard all ships allowing you to make and receive calls, voice mail, text messages and browse data using your own mobile phone.

What are the mobile phone rates during the cruise?

Cellular rates at sea are determined by your home carrier and will generally reflect international roaming rates. Once your ship reaches port, pricing will switch to the roaming rate specific to that country. For more information, contact your home carrier customer service before your cruise and consider signing up for an interntional calling plan.