Internet connectivity onboard River Cruise Vessels is becoming a requirement more and more every day. One industry insider told recently that whereas in the past the first thing that guests asked when boarding was “where is the dining room?” todays guest are asking “how do I connect to the internet?”.
Traditionally, the amount of bandwidth given to vessels is very low mainly due to the cost of certain solutions as well as the fact that not much was needed. This is not the case anymore. As well as running the River Cruise Vessels operations, guests and crew, want to be able to connect with their bandwidth hungry smartphone and tablet apps.
As well as being able to read email and check online news website for information back home, guests want to be able to share the days experiences including photos and videos with the folks back home using the ever more popular social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube to name just two.
This means that current and future solutions will have to cater for ever more bandwidth in what is known to be a complex cruising environment.
Current solutions include complex 3G/GPRS multiplexing / routing scenarios however these simply do not cater for the needs of the paying customer. Firstly, to integrate such solutions, many services such as streaming (YouTube videos) are simply disabling meaning that customers simply cannot do what they want to do. Secondly, were you to allow unrestricted access through such solution, the data limit FAUPs of the fixed rate monthly SIM contracts mean that you would forever be reaching the download data limit and restricting bandwidth? Restrict bandwidth and you end up with unhappy customer.
Thirdly, availability of such solutions is simply not high enough to guarantee the highest amount of connectivity through the entire cruise. Yes, there is decent 3G/GPRS coverage in inner city and densely populated areas but many of the European River Cruises meander along sparsely populated areas with poor and no 3G/GPRS network coverage. In addition to this, as well as having to manage multiple SIM cards, get it wrong, and you will end up footing the bill of expensive roaming costs.
VSAT solutions have generally been thought of as too expensive and equally unreliable. Although price is high for satellite airtime, the cost per passenger per cruise is not inhibitive and the degree of customer satisfaction increase that it delivers, more than compensates.
That said, more often than not, solutions have been based on inappropriate “cheap” land based platforms that simply do not meet the usage requirements. Using the wrong hardware with the wrong service on the wrong satellites is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and the degree of customer dissatisfaction this causes is palpable. Both uptime and service speeds with such solutions simply are not good enough.
OmniAccess now has a turnkey solution for the River Cruise industry that guarantees maximum availability with no access restrictions or data limits with each vessel pulling 300GB of data per month. If you are serious about customer satisfaction onboard your River Cruise lines then contact us for more details.