Cruise passenger be advised: Switch your phone to flight mode

FILED - Getting access to the internet on a cruise ship is expensive. One family had to learn the hard way with a phone bill of close to 14,000 dollars after streaming videos while out at sea. Photo: Dietmar Hasenpusch/dpa

Passengers on cruise ships are usually made aware that an Internet connection on a ship can be expensive. But is it risky just to do a quick online trip? 

The answer: Yes, access to the ship's satellite connection can cost you some serious money. That's why experts recommend that travellers switch their tablets and smartphones into flight mode. 

Also, it is best to deactivate the “automatic network selection” because even when a passenger is on shore for a day tour, their phone might link up to the ship's onboard network – and into the expensive satellite connection. 

Just how expensive it can be to not turn off your Internet was shown in the case of a Berlin family whose son, during a mini-cruise in the Baltic from the German port of Kiel to Oslo, Norway, watched videos on his smartphone. 

Afterwards, they received a bill of €12,000 (RM57,845) from the network provider. The ship operator reduced the sum to €5,000 (RM24,102) as a goodwill gesture. But the family planned to take legal steps to challenge the Internet bill. 

On a cruise in Europe, 1MB of data used out at sea can cost up to €30 (RM145). What's more, the worldwide practice of a cut-off of connections after costs go beyond €59.50 (RM286.82) does not, as a rule, apply to the high seas. – dpa


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