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Skype WI-fi on cruise ship

Novel Adventurer

If I use Skype wi-fi onboard a cruise ship will I be able to connect to their wi-fi?  Then could I use Skype on my Iphone to make calls?  I am looking for a inexpensive way to communicate with my family while on vacation, onboard the cruise ship.  Thanks.

12 Replies
Novel Tourist

I had the same question.


From what I gather on the main Skype website, as long as you are in a Skype Wifi hotspot you will be able to connect like a normal Wifi network inland. Being on a moving cruise ship, I assume connection would be temporary and you may go in and out of hotspots while on the water. What doesn't seem to be mentioned on the Skype website is where these hotspots are and what areas they cover. The answer to that question might determine if a Skype Wifi hotspot is avilable on the sea or just inside a country.


We may need to open a support ticket on this one =[

Casual Adventurer

From the (extensive) research I have done over the last month or two, video may be unavailable while on the ship. This is due to limited bandwidth/ slow internet. 

I have been testing Fring, Google Voice, and Skype. So far, my testing in the US has shown that Skype has the best voice quality of those three for wifi only calling. 

Next was Fring, then GV using Groove IP as a dialer to be able to use wifi only. ( GV with Groove IP was fairly bad).

We  cruise next week and NEED to stay in contact to family/ children at home. I have a Skype phone number so family can call and leave a voice mail for emergencies. 

We will probably use Skype via the wifi in port as well at cafe's etc. 

Hope this helps!



Novel Tourist

Using Skype requires an internet connection. The real question here is, "can I use Skype over the cruise ship's internet connection?". The answer is, most likely, no. To understand why, you need to know how "ship-to-shore" communications work. The ship is connected to the internet over a celetial satellite system. This is a radio (wireless) connection. Understand that the latency (how fast data moves over the connection.... measured in milliseconds) is much higher (the more the milliseconds, the slower the connection), so data travels more slowly. The bandwidth (how much data moves in a given time slice) is also less than a copper wire connection. So.... less amount of data and slower travel time is not good for video, and voice packets. Because of this, the ship's network is configured to "throttle" the amount of data over the ship-to-shore connection at any point in time. They also configure their firewall to filter most traffic that consumes a large amount of bandwidth. It's like entering a toll road where they only let small vehicles through the toll gate, they only let you use 2 lanes out of 5, and they restrict your speed to 35 mph, instead of 65 mph. If their firewall is configured to filter the traffic, you won't even be allowed to enter the toll road.

Novel Tourist
Just to add to and expand on toddbrig's excellent answer........The short answer to your question is that here is no "inexpensive" way to communicate on a cruise ship. Most lines charge a fee to access their onboard wireless network whether you do it on your laptop, phone or their onboard computers. Additionally, most cruise ships have their own built in cellular networks that are satellite based. These generally operate only when the ships are at sea. Once you arrive in port these are turned off and your phone will then detect the local network in what ever country you are in. Using either the shipboard or local cellular network require that you purchase an international roaming plan from your home carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc) before you leave. You will then pay for calls or data usage at the carriers rates. So using Skype on a ship means that if you can access the ships WiFi and they have the bandwidth (as toddbrig pointed out) you're still going to pay the cruise line for the access time or your wireless carrier for the data time (if you go cellular). Sorry for the long winded answer but you should also check the cruise lines website for pricing and availability.

Hope this helps
Novel Adventurer

Dear Skype,

Is there a map of Europe showing where the Skype WI Fi Hotspots are or do we just have to take pot luck?

Novel Tourist
You did not give me no problem putting money to my account now you giving problem to get call can you give me back my Monet please thank you
Novel Tourist

My experience on a cruise ship was that you could use your laptop and make calls on the ship's internet connection, and the only cost (in addition to about a cent a minute for Skype) was the 50 to 75 cents a minute the cruise line charges for internet access.  This was a great deal better than the Twenty bucks I paid to make a quick call on my cell phone.  Voice quality varied quite a bit, sometimes great and sometimess terrible.

I wanted to buy a Skype phone, however I can not see any way that you could enter your ship's account password using one, in order to get onto the ship's internet.  I would love to have a Skype phone but you'd have to have some way to log onto the ship's internet to be able to use it.  The portable phone has no browser or keyboard.

So I had to use the laptop, since it has a keyboard and browser which you need to even get onto the internet and enter your password (before ever getting to Skype itself and entering your Skype password).

Hope this makes sense.  I was quite happy with my cruise line Skype experience but had to rule out the idea of having just a little wireless Skype phone during a cruise.


Novel Tourist

Do we get a real answer from Skype on this question?

Novel Adventurer

dannt331 wrote:

Do we get a real answer from Skype on this question?

Well, it's not really a question that the Skype staff can answer with any great precision.


There was an excellent answer posted earlier by another forum member who pointed out that the key issue was whether you can get an internet connection or not, and whether or not the internet connection had sufficient bandwidth and low enough latency to support a Skype call.  That is the "real answer", and there is no way that the Skype staff could possibly know the specifications for the internet connections available on various cruise ships.


In principle, you could make a Skype call from the International Space Station, provided you could get a decent internet connection on it.  The same goes for cruise ships, aircraft, icebergs, etc.

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