Cruising vs RVing, and Wi-Fi

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January 12, 2010

by Chris Guld,

I think there are a lot of RVers who also take cruising vacations.  Cruising is very much like RVing in that you don’t have to check in and out of a room for every destination.  You keep your stuff all in one room, yet you travel to multiple locations.  Then there’s the food.  Sure wish I could have that available when we’re RVing!

The primary reason I love RVing is the complete freedom and independence of going wherever we want to go, whenever we want to go there.

Although that does not describe cruising, I find cruising to be a nice change of pace where I don’t have any decisions to make.  We took a short, weekend cruise to the Bahamas this past weekend with the whole family.  Six of us.  It’s a great way to spend time together and be sure that everyone is comfortable. The only decision I had to make is what to eat!

I was also looking forward to staying connected while we were on the cruise ship.  I could have sworn I saw, “Free Wi-Fi on board” in the promotional literature.  As it turns out, I was only half right.  There was Wi-Fi in the public areas, but it was not free.

$24/hour for Wi-Fi!

An I thought $10/day was high the last time I was in a hotel!  It is amazing that they have an Internet connection at all way out at sea, but for that price I decided to leave my computer in my laptop bag!  I can survive 4 days being disconnected, but not much more.  We did find a free Wi-Fi hotspot at the Ferry terminal in Nassau so Jim used his new Droid phone to send a message to our blog letting people know that we were out of touch.

How about you?  Do you like cruising?  How do you stay connected when you go to sea?

Leave a Reply


  1. Bob

    We enjoy cruising, as well as RV’ing. Our situation has become
    what it is, due to meeting a full-timing couple on a cruise
    in 2008. After talking with them, and reviewing our living
    situation, we decided to try full-timing. We cleaned out
    the house, sold it (after a while), and continued to cruise.
    We feel that we have the best of both worlds. Yes, the benefit
    of both methods of travel is that you only have to
    unpack once. With the full-timing lifestyle, it becomes pretty
    easy to drive the RV to (or near) the cruise port, get
    out and take the cruise, and then return to the
    cruise port and get back “home” with very little

    Recently, we’ve been taking cruises that depart and
    return to the same port, so our “home” is waiting!
    (We hate to fly, and this works well for us.)

    This pattern makes us full-time travelers of both types.
    The lifestyle issues are pretty similar, except for
    the foreign travel associated with cruising.

    For instance, in 2008-2009, during the first year of RV
    ownership, we spent 6 months on cruise ships, instead
    of in our coach. The only downside there was that our
    warranty ran out while we were at sea. The manufacturer was
    more than helpful, however, and took care of many
    warranty items after expiration. Long-term storage
    of the RV was needed, but seasonal RV’ers often have
    to deal with that, too.

    We plan something similar in 2010-11, where we will be
    on ships 6 months of a calendar year. In a way, this
    schedule detracts from RV’ing. However, we hope to
    cruise some of the time during the winter, and would
    be parked in the sunny climes anyway. The summer is
    not purposely set aside for cruising for us, since the
    idea of the RV was to see all of the USA we could.

    Regarding the internet, we use a Verizon broadband
    modem for internet access within the US. Works pretty
    well for us. On cruises, we often use internet cafe’s
    on the shore. In many countries, people don’t have
    computers or access, but they certainly spend a
    few cents online when they can. In South America,
    for instance, we could use an hour at a cafe, on older,
    but working, computers, for less than $1 US. There are
    some countries or venues where they gouge you for
    internet access, so you do have to shop around. Check
    with the crew on the ship, since they hit the beach,
    and make international phone calls and do their email,
    if possible.

    Because we have “platinum” level with some cruise lines,
    they include a subsidy for internet. We have not been
    charged for internet, because of this “frequent cruiser”
    level. Even when we have paid, we have learned some
    techniques that minimize the email time on the ship,
    and then use internet cafe’s on the shore, as described

    Now to the subject of phones. In the US, we have the usual
    cells phones. For overseas, we have purchased a chip
    from Telestial that works in many countries. We
    bought an older, unlocked phone cheaply on eBay,
    and put in the chip. If you are in another country for
    some time, you can buy a chip at the corner store
    that will give you very reasonable calling costs.
    Lacking that, again, there are phone booth facilities
    all over the world in ports, since the ship people
    need to be in touch with their families. The costs
    are not at all high.

    Hope this helps.

    Bob Swanson

  2. Keith & Kathy

    We are new to cruising, but jumped in with both feet last year by spending 9 weeks on the high seas. First a 5 week round trip out of Boston across the North Atlantic to Rotterdam, then a 4 week fall cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego, round trip through the Panama Canal and back. Like you, we balked totally at the outrageous internet cost, relying on the occasional low-cost access at various port facilities. After dealing with a family emergency about 3 weeks into our first journey, Keith agreed, reluctantly, to pay $100 for 200 minutes over our second 4 week cruise. While slow and balkey, it did allow us to keep in touch with ageing parents. There were no emergencies on the second trip, fortunately, but it made Kathy feel better.

    The most notable element of the cruising experience, beyond the obvious ones, is the almost total sense of isolation from the rest of the world, and, to some degree, from reality. The very limited access to the ‘net, and very poor TV coverage, especially on the North Atlantic, left us hungry for news of the outside world.

    While we have not abandoned cruising on the high seas, our next “cruise” is a Winnebago Caravan next summer to Churchill, MB, to view seals and polar bears.

    As an aside, we enjoyed some relatively good internet classes on our cruises, sponsored by Microsoft and targeted exclusively to their software. We think the Geeks do a much better job with your classes, and would suggest you try to hook up with a major cruise company should you ever wish to branch out from the RV thing.

    If anyone is interested, our North Atlantic cruising experience is documented on our blog. We are still working at writing up our Panama Canal cruise.

  3. Norma

    We enjoy crusing, but the air travel to get there these days is less than fun. Our last cuise was from LA to Hawaii (15 days) and while at sea I didn’t think I’d use WI Fi at their prices. Waited until we were docked in Hawaii then my personal Aircard worked fine. Enroute back I did have to buy a small block of their time for my employer back home, and the next day they had a 1/2 price add on, so I used that to let the family know what a great trip we were having. Our cruise ship was involved in a Rescue At Sea of a young couple headed for Hawaii in a storm that would not have made it. Unusual experiences abound whether by sea or by land.

  4. Drew

    Staying “connected” used to mean conversing with people, enjoying their company and having a great time (face to face). I think people are beginning to be dependent on electronical communication instead.

  5. Liz Bard

    The last cruise we did was in June 1995 from Vancouver to Seward, AK. We flew to Seattle, WA and my husband’s CO from Vietnam gave us the nichol tour of Seattle, then we took a bus the next day to Vancouver to the ship. The ship was great because if I needed to see my husband, if he wasn’t in the room with me or the dining room, I knew I just needed to go to the top floor and he would have one of his cameras taking pictures. He knew if I wasn’t in those places, to check the room set up for the quilters. We could see the whales, etc. from A/C comfort or from dry comfort as sometimes there was a cold mist.

    This was all before carrying computers everywhere you go. When we traveled by bus from Seward to Anchorage, we made one stop and the driver said to keep an eye out, we might see some bears. We didn’t, but it got a laugh out of everyone.

    We hope someday to travel back to Alaska. He was stationed there at Ft Greeley in 1967-68 after he came back from Vietnam. There are places he wants to explore again.

  6. hoppe

    I agree on the food. Also miss having my own booze in the room. Cruise lines do make the most of a captive audience at the bars. We want to try the smaller ships to see if they are less of a ‘Cattle Drive’ at the ports. Sailed the Galaxy out of Puerto Rico quite a few years ago, she used 2 gangways to load and unload most of the time. Sailed the Diamond Princess out of Seattle when she was almost new, [much larger ship, way more passengers] and she too used only 2 gangways the whole trip. Cattle Drive. And Princess even used their Xray machines to not only screen for bombs, but for Booze as well. I much prefer my Coach, with none of the terrist fuss. Of course I never have liked flying anyway either.

  7. Merrykalia

    We have used our travel trailer to go on vacation for the past 5 years. Three times, we have gone to Gulf Shores, AL for a week, the put our TT in storage there for $1.50 per day and driven to New Orleans for a 5 day cruise. When we return from the cruise, we travel back to Gulf Shores for a few more days before we head back north to the mountains of SW Virginia.

    It’s wonderful and our children (5 & 2) love it.

  8. Connie

    Cruising is a great getaway. Had never thought of it as similar to RVing, but so true. Especially with the unpacking once theory.

    We cruise often. It is so nice to be able to travel with a group of friends or family. So nice not have to worry about where or what everyone is doing. There is definitely something for everyone!

    As for those that need their Wi-FI, you can always watch the daily newsletters on the cruise for the next day’s special. You can sometimes find a bargain on the rate plan of the day. However, most of the time, it will be more economical to find the local hotspot at the next port of call. Find a crew member that will let you in on where they go. While not free, it will be less expensive than onboard.

    See you onboard soon!