One of the preoccupations of people onboard is developing an internet strategy that works for them. (OK, you’re wondering about the title and the pictures on a post about cruising and Internet. Read on.) Internet on the ship is slow and expensive. You pay by the minute (my contract is 22.5 cents a minute, and I bought a big, discounted package.) The slower the internet the more Holland America makes. This is a disincentive for them to improve service. Monopolies work for the monopolist. Sometimes it can take a minute or two from when you click “log out” to when logout is registered. Those minutes add up to dollars over the course of a long cruise. Some people get their blog posts and emails ready in advance and as soon as they hit shore they head anyplace with free wifi. I see rows of my cruise mates in cruise terminals with free wi-fi. In some places, like French Polynesia, there is no free wifi but you can go to a café and get the wifi code good for a half hour, IF you buy something. Some bakeries sell a lot of baguettes at 30 minute intervals. When I’m in a new place I like to explore for real, not virtually on Google Chrome.
My strategy is to prepare everything in advance and reduce my blog pictures (beyond where I usually reduce them.) I follow a sequence. I log on and first thing go to email and click “get mail” and “Send unsent messages.” While mail is downloading I log into my webpage and start to upload the pictures for my post. This takes the longest time. While they are uploading I paste in the text, set the headers and click the categories for navigation. Then I go back to see if the pics have uploaded. They usually haven’t so I go Facebook and look for messages and then notifications. I go back to my website. If the pics are uploaded I put them into a gallery, and hit upload. That takes a while so it’s back to Facebook and “notifications.” I read only posts from kids, a couple of close friends and any comments on my posts. By then the page is uploaded. I look at it, copy the URL and post it on Facebook. Then I log off and go over the downloaded mail. I have it set so the mail does not download attachments or graphics. I write replies and put them in the outgoing mail queue. I don’t check my FB news feed, so if you’re not getting likes from me, that’s why. I do not check the spam filter so if you email ends up in spam it will take a while for me to get to it. I do try to acknowledge birthdays on Facebook.
On days in port I have ATT data roaming with 4G or LTE service. I have 3 gigs a month so in ports where we are overnight (I don’t want to take up time I can use for exploring) I can use my iPhone as a hub and look at the FaceBook news feed, go through spam to recover wanted email (about one a day gets caught in spam), and download attachments and graphics from emails. Sometimes after sail out I can get 3G service for a while so even on non-overnight port stays I can catch up a little before supper. If I seem unresponsive, that’s why. On days at sea when I have time Internet is slow and expensive. On days ashore when I am busy ashore Internet is fast and prepaid. But I don’t spend time ashore day on wifi. While I may enjoy that coffee and baguette I’ll be watching people and not a screen.
But I’ve broken my own rule in Tahiti. The Tahiti 3G service is spotty on the ship since another ship (a Silversea ship that often drops anchor in my front yard in the summer) pulled up beside us the signal has gotten worse. We were out walking in Papeete, Tahiti. I wanted to stop in the Cathedral (another Notre Dame) to look at the stained glass that tells bible stories with Polynesian motifs. I wandered the isles taking pictures and admiring the glass and noticed how a nice breeze was cooling the place off. In the church we were out of the sun. So after admiring the glass I decided to sit in a corner, turn off the sound on my iPhone, and check mail and Facebook in the church, where I had good 3G service. I wrote this post a few days earlier and I‘d been wondering on the type of graphics I would use to illustrate it. Our Lady provided the answer.