Norwegian Cruise Lines is brining new internet pricing models to the Escape and Getaway, and likely to the rest of the fleet in the coming months. The new "Freestyle Choice" plans allow for unlimited rather than metered use. Last year NCL announced a deal with Global Eagle Entertainment which promised to quadruple internet speeds across the NCL, Oceania, and Regent fleets. While the rollout suffered some delays, internet speeds across the ships are better than what could be had a year ago, but at the traditional pricing models that billed based on the amount of time or data used.
The new pricing model will likely be much more appealing to the modern cruiser, though details are slim at the moment. The new plans, as of now, are outlined below.
Social Chat - $35 for 7 night sailings:
Unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, as well as other social and messaging service
Basic - $189 for 7 night sailings:
Unlimited general internet access (thought potentially throttled) including the web, email (including attachments), as well as everything in the Social Chat package
Premium - $245 for 7 night sailings:
Everything in the Basic package plus streaming video and access to VPNs
The cost of providing service, while immense I'm sure, is going down. People of a wide range of ages (not just teens) like sharing their experiences, and this sharing mentality is in hyper-drive while vacationing. NCL's social plan makes a lot of sense, as cruise lines will continue to try and quantify the value of social, subsidizing access with marketing budgets accordingly. Carnival has a social media plan for $5 a day, and Royal Caribbean's full internet access, "Voom", has gone on pre-sale for as low as $8.99 a day (though it's drastically more expensive on Celebrity, their sister cruise line). There is more to this than social however, and this is where I think NCL's plans can improve. More and more people can (or must) do their jobs away from a traditional office, so making cost a non-issue when it comes to shipboard internet could free up more opportunities to those potential cruisers. Breaking down barriers that keep people from cruising, including the inability to disconnect from work, could be something that helps fill cabins and the prices that make shareholders happy. For now however, we expect many more pictures, posts, videos, and snaps from sea - and you can bet some of them will be from us.