Cruise Addicts
Inside Cruise Vacations with Chris Owen

Load Up The Apps, Free Internet Access At Sea Is Coming Soon

 Cruise lines can’t delay the inevitable forever; one-day Internet access will be free and fast for cruise travelers. Already we are seeing great strides being made to offer land-like connectivity where a decade ago there was none at all. Right now, the technology is there enable the display of helpful travel apps where what was not long ago “no signal”. The problem: expensive at-sea access makes doing so prohibitive. But fast-forward to the not-too-distant future when access is free and fast at sea. Here are some travel apps to bring along that will make the cruise vacation experience even better than it is today.

Take The Magic From Land To Sea
Disney Cruise Line Navigator
No need to wait for the future with this one. Disney Cruise Line’s app for iPhone is now available for use on board Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream. The new app brings valuable Disney cruise information right to your mobile device.

To use Disney Cruise Line Navigator, download the app, and once on board, connect to the ship’s WiFi network, complimentary to app users only.

Other cruise lines have apps too but none bring complementary connection at sea, a huge plus for users who seamlessly make the transition from land to sea using the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. On the other hand, most cruise lines now allow free connection using any wireless device while on board to their normal website, some of which have been optimized for mobile, others not.

A Journal Of Your Trip, (Nearly) Effortlessly
Rove is a next-generation automatic travel journal that records our every move around the planet, seamlessly. Like last-generation geo-link app HipGeo (now defunct), Rove uses our location, sourced from the same technology that tags our photos but goes a step further, adding the exact names of the places we visit. If for no other reason, Rove can help us remember details of travel later. Better yet, if a Rove user gets lost, the app will help them get back to familiar ground by providing reverse directions

Today, users of geo-tagging technology appear to have fallen off the end of the earth as they board most ocean cruise ships. Its nice to know their every step from home to the airport then on the cruise port but then that’s it; nothing more until they get to a land where roaming fees are not an issue. But switch that device to function on internet signal-only, make it free on the ship and the story continues, sending the folks back home all the juicy details.

Open Up A New World, The Lazy Way
SayHiTranslate is a voice recognition device that translates many other spoken languages into your language. Say you are in Spain but do not speak Spanish. Simply speak the words you want to translate into the app and out come those words in the selected language, nearly instantly. SayHiTranslate is very helpful when ordering in a restaurant or trying to ask someone for directions.

Ever wonder what those vendors are saying among themselves when visiting a land where their language is not one you are fluent in? This app can help prepare you before leaving the ship, when the need is immediate. Who has not wished they had taken a few foreign language lessons, just before stepping off the ship when it is too late?

While We Wait, There Is Hope
While we wait for complementary internet access on cruise ships, don’t turn off that smartphone for the duration of your trip, it still has value as a lifeline in an emergency. Loaded with apps that do not require a signal to operate, they can be helpful in other areas as well.

XECurrency makes understanding the conversion of currency when visiting foreign locations easy. A quick connection to the Internet before leaving home downloads currency conversion rates for an upcoming trip, avoiding the need to go online when doing so might incur data roaming fees.

Packing Pro helps jog memories about what to bring along when packing, before leaving home. Simply type in the location of a destination and Packing Pro returns a list of suggested clothing, currency and other location-specific information. Also prompting our memory to not forget essential items like a passport, Packing Pro serves as a hand-held memory jogger. More importantly, it works without a signal when at sea so we can add that one critical item we forgot to pack and never forget again.

The Future Really Is Right Around The Corner
On many cruise lines, top tier past guests already get a generous chunk of Internet time to use because of their loyalty. Look for the upcoming “free for all” to be rolled out to them first, offered as an incentive to buy and otherwise milked for all cruise lines can get out of it. Rightfully so, Internet access is a big onboard revenue profit item that keeps the price of cruise fares down.

Recently, Crystal Cruises announced that they would provide complementary Internet access on their ships. Good, a step in the right direction and one that river cruise lines like Viking River Cruises took long ago. Better yet (for our cause) Viking Ocean cruises, launching in 2015 will offer complementary Internet access at sea as well. Our day will come Internet users; mark my words.

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