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With the surf and stream, I didn't try this on my last cruise, are you able to make wifi calls using your cell phone?  Has anyone tried using Zoom/Skype/Teams/Facetime/etc. to chat with family/friends on the ship?  I would appreciate your information on this.

Thanks!

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On a frequent basis I have worked while cruising.  Ships that use O3b satellite technology work much better for the applications you suggest.  These ships include Freedom, Oasis and Quantum class plus Enchantment and Majesty.  Other ships use legacy satellite technology that has more latency (delay) and these types of applications may work but not always as well.  

Ships position in a factor.  In places like Alaska, parts of Northern Europe, around the bottom of New Zealand, etc. Voom can experience throughput issues so these applications more frequently struggle there.  

Weather is a factor for satellite internet so when the ship is under rainy skies there can be times of slowdown.  What goes up must come down so when the ship is under sunny skies but the satellite earth station where signals comes down to earth is under rainy skies the internet can be slow. 

For non-O3b ships the ships change satellites at times in places like the Western or Southern Caribbean.  Different satellites are used in Europe versus the Caribbean yielding different user experiences.

For O3b ships the satellites are in orbit around the earth.  The ship will need to switch from one satellite to another when necessary and during the period of switch over Voom performance can be suspect.   

Given the ship heading and position on the earth, sometimes the antenna on the ship must "look" through the exhaust coming out the stack to see the satellite which can cause internet issues until the ship turns.  The result is poor performance for a brief time like an hour or two.

Sometimes your cabin may be in between access points located in the hall.  With so much metal in your cabin (that's why people bring magnets) the WiFi signal deep in your cabin may be weak yielding slow spots.  At times when the pub or promenade is packed for an event there can be so many people connected to one access point WiFi performance is impacted.  

Given all of the above there is frequent opportunity for Voom to not operate perfectly and the user experience can be less than ideal.  With home internet becoming faster and faster while ship internet being relatively unchanged for several years people have grown accustomed to their fantastic home internet experience and the bar is set very high.  People often complain about Voom because it isn't the same as at home.  

As I have worked from ships I always remain aware that the internet could be flaky at any time and unlike land internet Voom performance can be inconsistent.  Most of the time it works fine understanding all the things that set it apart from internet at home and all the things that can slow it down. 

If you have fiber based gigabit internet at home you may find Voom to be lacking but with patience and understanding it will get the job done most of the time. 

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On our Radiance cruise (Vancouver to Seward) in July 2018 we had AT&T cell reception the entire time (actually better that we have at our own home).  We did use VOOM and did not have any issues that I can remember.  We were doing the Northbound Inside Passage and you can see land on both sides mostly so I am sure that is why. 

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8 hours ago, whitsmom said:

On our Radiance cruise (Vancouver to Seward) in July 2018 we had AT&T cell reception the entire time (actually better that we have at our own home).  We did use VOOM and did not have any issues that I can remember.  We were doing the Northbound Inside Passage and you can see land on both sides mostly so I am sure that is why. 

I should clarify my answer as it is in reference to Voom. Yes, AT&T cell service was always good.

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