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Is it possible to work remotely while on a cruise: personal experience

Cruise ships, although designed for recreation, can provide excellent working conditions. Working on a cruise means working without worrying about cooking, cleaning or transport logistics. But even though business activity on a cruise may seem appealing to the most enterprising remote workers, there is one major problem - the speed or lack of internet on board. Jenna DeLaurentis decided to check how she would work on a Royal Caribbean cruise, because the company begins to introduce Starlink Internet on its ships. She wrote about her personal experience in Royal Caribbean Blog. Next - from the first person.

Photo: IStock

I boarded the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas to check out the ship's new internet service. Is it really possible to work remotely on a cruise ship in 2022? Let's find out.

Why would you want to work on a cruise ship

First we have to decide why would anyone on a cruise ship need to work at all and not rest?

In the past few years, remote work has become more common. More and more people can work from home or from anywhere. Teleworking means that many workers can travel freely and still do business without worrying about limited vacation time.

So while it's not recommended to work while on vacation, remote workers do. During the day they perform their professional duties, and in the evening they enjoy fantastic restaurants and entertainment on the ship until late at night. Cruise while working remotely can be an attractive option for those looking to travel.

Internet improvements on cruise ships

In the past, the Internet on cruise ships was very slow, and connection problems were inevitable. For example, during basic Facetime conversations with friends and family, delays and freezes were most common.

What if you had to upload a large file to the Internet? You would most likely end up running to the nearest port Wi-Fi spot.

However, a few months earlier, Royal Caribbean announced that it would be adding SpaceX Starlink internet to every ship in its fleet. Their goal is to implement Starlink on all 26 ships by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

On the subject: Unlimited Relative Day for $40: Benefits of Working on a Cruise Ship You Didn't Know About

As someone who usually works on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, I have constantly had to deal with internet speed issues on the ship. I admit, I really wanted to see how much the Starlink Internet would improve my work experience.

Check: Remote work from Liberty of the Seas

I've been aboard the Liberty of the Seas for the past three days and I've been blown away by how much easier it is to work remotely (or even just scroll online).

As soon as I got on board, I tested the new internet and was shocked to see download speeds of almost 70 Mbps and upload speeds of 8 Mbps. For those who are not familiar with the speed of the Internet, I will explain: it is very fast.

Royal Caribbean's previous Internet service, VOOM internet, typically had download speeds of only 4 Mbps and uploads of 2 Mbps. This is a huge difference, not only for remote workers, but for anyone trying to use the internet on board.

During my first day on board, I was thrilled that I was able to send a few photos to the Royal Caribbean blog team and family via video chat home without any problems. But will this speed be available when sailing through the middle of the Caribbean?

We spent the second day of our sailing on our way to the Dominican Republic. Being far from the coast, I assumed that the possibilities of the Internet would slow down, but I was mistaken: I saw the download speed - 18 Mbps, uploading - 10 Mbps.

Video upload

To put these speeds into perspective, here's an example of how Royal Caribbean's new Starlink internet can improve the working environment for remote workers.

Since we upload three videos weekly to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel, I need a reliable internet connection on board. Previously, uploading a 2 GB video file to YouTube could take more than 4 hours. I usually leave the video to upload overnight and hope it will upload successfully by the time I wake up.

But when I tested this internet, I was able to download a 2 GB video in just 45 minutes in the middle of the Caribbean.

Although the download and upload speeds were still not the fastest, they were 1000 times better than the internet on board without Starlink.

For example, as we approached the coastline of the Dominican Republic, I was impressed to see download speeds of 76 Mbps and uploads of 15,8 Mbps.

In addition to working remotely, I had absolutely no connection issues when using the internet to stream YouTube videos or video chat. Compared to when Royal Caribbean's VOOM internet went down randomly, my experience with Starlink on board is incredible!

The biggest challenges with remote work on a cruise

While Starlink Internet has made working remotely on a cruise ship a lot better, it still comes with some challenges that can improve or complicate your ability to work remotely.

Lack of public outlets

My biggest problem when I work remotely on a cruise ship is that it's hard to find places to charge electronics outside of your cabin.

For obvious reasons, Royal Caribbean doesn't want its guests to sit at their computers and phones when they can explore the ship, participate in activities, shop and order drinks. There is no real benefit in offering public ship charging locations in terms of revenue.

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However, with a bit of research, you can usually find a few outlets in most of the public areas on board. These power outlets are almost always European type (type C) sockets as they are used for ship vacuum cleaners, so be sure to bring an adapter with you.

If you can work for several hours on a single charge of your computer, it will be easier for you to work on a cruise ship than for someone who must constantly keep their gadgets connected to the network.

However, I must say that Liberty of the Seas had the best remote work system I have ever seen on any cruise. The internet cafe on board has tables and chairs with several sets of outlets in both European and American style.

ambient noise

If your job involves constant calls throughout the day, you will have a hard time finding a quiet place outside of your cabin.

From background music to announcements on the ship to the conversation of fellow travelers, in most public places you will encounter this kind of noise. While not always loud, it can still be distracting if you're hoping for a quiet "office" space.

Work from abroad

Another potential issue you might run into when trying to work remotely from a cruise ship is that you will technically be outside of the United States.

Therefore, before you set sail, you should familiarize yourself with your company's protocols and applicable tax laws.

My conclusion: it is quite possible to work from a cruise ship.

While on board the ship as a remote worker, I constantly lost time waiting for photos and videos to be uploaded to the Royal Caribbean Blog website or YouTube channel, and it was insanely frustrating.

My recent cruise on Liberty of the Seas gave me confidence that I can successfully work on a Royal Caribbean ship without too much stress and headaches.

Thanks to the new Starlink internet and the increase in the number of remote workers who travel the world with their laptops, I believe that in the future there will be more passengers every day who work for their companies while on Royal Caribbean ships.

While working remotely on cruises has always been possible, it's much easier and more enjoyable now than it used to be.

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