Beginning this summer, the ultra luxury,
all-suite cruise ships Seabourn Pride
, Spirit and Legend are being
upgraded to create one continuous accessible wi-fi “hot zone” throughout
each ship, allowing guests to connect to the internet on their wi-fi
equipped laptops and PDAs without plugging in.Cruising guests with suitable devices can send and receive web-based
email, surf the net, check on their investments or Google the answers to a
trivia quiz while they relax in their suites or in most public areas of
Seabourn’s three intimate, yacht-like ships.
According to Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn’s senior vice president of sales
and marketing, “More and more of our guests use wi-fi devices not just to
conduct business, but also to communicate with their friends and families.
So even while they are vacationing with us, their Blackberries and laptops
are a part of their lifestyle that they’d rather not leave behind.”
Wi-fi is shorthand for wireless fidelity, a system that utilizes radio
signals from a transmitter/receiver located in a laptop computer or
Personal Digital Assistant to connect to networks and the internet. For
wi-fi users, the challenge in using the system is locating an active
access point within range of a network, colloquially called a “Hot Spot.”
Seabourn has conquered that challenge for guests on board by installing an
active access network manufactured by Wi-Fi Zone that blankets most of the
ship, with few “dead zones” or areas where the system is not accessible.
Aside from the obvious convenience of accessible wi-fi connectivity,
Seabourn has also secured a new satellite service provider that is
considerably more economical than the company’s previous connection, which
will result in dramatically lower costs for telephone calls and internet
connections than were required in the past.
For those without wi-fi wanderlust, the Internet Center on board each
yacht has also been refreshed with new PCs, software, printers and other
accessories. Users of these cable-connected computers will also benefit
from the lower costs of satellite connection, as will guests wishing to
make satellite telephone calls or send faxes from ship to shore.
Previously, the charge for outbound satellite telephone calls from
Seabourn ships was $12.50 per minute; it is now $4.95 per minute. Internet
connection, which previously cost 95 cents a minute, will now be 50 cents
per minute. Discounts for purchasing bulk packages of online time can
further reduce the internet cost to as little as 25 cents per minute.