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Online Access When You are Cruising

Getting online access when you are cruising can be a challenge but it's not impossible, and can really improve your experience. 

When you're experienced with cruising, and want to go to some far off destinations, one of the more difficult annoyances is having to be offline for long periods of time. When you're at sea, online access can be nonexistent, and in some countries, internet connections can be weak, or hard to come by.

When you're at sea, you can use your Hi Frequency radio for basic communications. You can also have a sailmail system set up with the Airmail messaging program for HF radiol and a Pactor modem. This is very limited - no pictures - text only, but you can get your email and weather from internet sources, update your blog and your social media. It is very slow, but you really can remain in touch all over the world.

Of course, the world is connected through mobile systems now. Many international cruisers purchase pre-paid data plans from the local mobile network. You can get a SIM card and data package when you arrive. With a small portable modem you can create wifi for multiple devices. You can also use your smartphone for phone and data access, and get online that way. Or, you can buy a device that plugs into your computer. You won't get streaming or Netflix due to low bandwidth and limited data, but you will have news, email, and online access.

Some cruisers also buy a wifi booster antenna. This enables you to find a local wifi connection, usually in areas with tourists. You may need to pay for the broadband service, and many wifi connections are not free, but it can be a convenient lifesaver on board.

When you are in port, of course there are wifi networks freely available in many hotels and restaurants. This is where your smartphone and laptop can also be useful.

When you are away from home in far off places, you are going to need to change your habits if they include on demand streaming and frequent internet chat and access. But you can still visit some of the most beautiful - and remote- corners of the world, and not be cut off from global communications or the world wide web.

By James Michael

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