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Is Royal Caribbean WiFi worth it?

In:
27 Jul 2020
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Are you thinking about buying WiFi access on your Royal Caribbean cruise, but wondering if it is worth it?

Royal Caribbean sells onboard internet access (known as Voom Internet) that is good for the duration of your cruise, but is it a good idea to buy a plan for your sailing?

Royal Caribbean's onboard internet is effectively the only option for being connected while at sea (you definitely do not want to be roaming with your cell phone on your ship), but some people opt to forgo the internet all together in an effort to disconnect from the world during their vacation.

For those that do purchase a package, the experience can very depending on the ship, location, and other factors.

If you are wondering how well (or not well) Royal Caribbean's wifi performs, here is what you should know before you buy.

What does Royal Caribbean wifi get you access to?

When you buy an internet package for your cruise, you'll be able to connect to the internet for things like web surfing, email, social media, video streaming and more.

We haven't seen Royal Caribbean filter out any content, but then again, we haven't tried to accessing nefarious websites.

Please note that you do not need to buy an internet package to use Royal Caribbean's app. Access to the app is free without an internet package.

How much does wifi cost on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Royal Caribbean offers two tiers of WiFi packages on its cruise ships: Surf or Surf & Stream.

Surf & Stream internet access is the faster option, and allows for internet access without any hindering of the connection.  The regular Surf package throttles the connection down so that it can only be used for basic internet usage, and not streaming of any kind.

In addition, you can choose between a 24-hour pass (only available onboard) or unlimited use packages. The unlimited plans are sold onboard, or online.

Here is a look at onboard pricing for Voom packages:

PackagesSurfSurf & Stream
1 Device$15.99 per day per device$19.99 per day per device
2 Devices$14.99 per day per device$18.99 per day per device
4 Devices$12.99 per day per device$16.99 per day per device
24-Hour Pass$22.99 per day per device$29.99 per day per device

Royal Caribbean sometimes offers WiFi packaged with other popular cruise add-ons, such as an unlimited drink package or The Key.  

You should also be aware complimentary WiFi access is provided to all guests in Star or Sky Class suites on Oasis Class or Quantum Class ships only. Suite guests on other ships do not get free internet access.

You will almost always find deeper discounts offered before the cruise on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site. If you know you want to buy internet for your cruise, be sure to pre-purchase it online.

Voom internet performance

While Royal Caribbean's onboard internet prices are reasonably priced, the real question is how well does it work.

A number of factors can influence how fast the ship's internet is, including how many guests are using it, natural barriers and the ship's latitude. Internet is transmitted over satellite, so it is not perfect or exactly like at home, but for ship internet it is usually pretty good and often better than hotel internet.

Royal Caribbean labels its onboard internet access as Voom, and says it is the fastest internet at sea.  Depending on the ship you sail on, this promise is sometimes true.

Freedom, Oasis and Quantum class use newer satellite technology, which means better speeds overall and you will likely find it performing well.

Older ships use older satellite technology.  You can still stream but will likely see some more buffering at times on the older ships. 

How do I get free wifi on Royal Caribbean?

WiFi

If you just want to use the Royal Caribbean app, you can connect to the "royal-wifi" network and use the app without any extra cost.

However, there is no free wifi for access the regular internet, including email, social media or anything else online.

Royal Loft Suite

As mentioned before, if you are in a Sky Class or Star Class suite on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship, then wifi access is free for all suite guests. Each guest will get a single device Surf and Stream package with their own login.

Your best bet to get free wifi would be to wait until you get to a port of call on your cruise and try finding free internet access at a shop or bar.

The future: Starlink?

Starlink internet receivers on Freedom of the Seas

Something to keep an eye on is a potential partnership between Royal Caribbean and Starlink.

Royal Caribbean is testing SpaceX's Starlink internet aboard Freedom of the Seas presumably as a real-world sample case for expanding the service to other cruise ships.

In limited testing, the speeds Starlink provide are substantially faster than anything Royal Caribbean had offered on its ships in the past.

SpaceX satellite

Royal Caribbean has not publicly commented on if Starlink will be added to other ships, or even if a deal will be signed between the two companies.

If Starlink does make its way on Royal Caribbean cruise ships, it has the potential to bring the kind of internet speeds we are used to on land to a cruise ship.

Is a Voom package worth it?

In general, Royal Caribbean's internet works just fine for basic web browsing, email and even keeping up with social media.

There are many factors that impact the speeds of internet access, but I generally find it more useful than not to have purchased internet access.  For most people's needs, Royal Caribbean's wifi works quite well.

You should expect periodic slow downs due to weather, location on the ship, and how many other people are using the internet at that time. Moreover, speeds are better on some ships than others, but a good rule of thumb is the newer the ship, the better the performance.

Odyssey pool deck couple

Considering how incredibly expensive cell phone roaming can be on a ship, as well as spotty internet access in places your ship may visit, buying a Royal Caribbean internet package is the easiest way to stay connected while on your ship, and it works fine most of the time.

Do you think Royal Caribbean's WiFi is worth it? Tell us why in the comments!