Of the two of us, I’m definitely the bigger cruise fan. For me, there’s something about being a small dot in the middle of a massive ocean. While there’s something appealing about flying to a faraway destination in a few hours, there’s also something special about the journey. No matter if it’s a road trip or traveling over the sea, there’s a sense of going somewhere.
This gets me to our most recent trip on Virgin Voyages. One of the perks of traveling on Virgin Voyages is their free Wi-Fi.
I can remember way back to our first trips on Disney Cruise Line when we had to pay for internet by the minute and could only use the computers in their version of an internet cafe. We paid for a few hours of access and used it to check our email.
Eventually, we had a connection with Cruise at Sea on our cell phones. While it was expensive, you could send a text back and forth for 25-50 cents per message. If you happened to have a cell phone with an international plan, you could make a call when you got to a port.
When cell phones got Wi-Fi access, you could go somewhere with free Wi-Fi (hello, Starbucks) and send and receive messages and even post some pictures to Facebook.
But when you were at sea, you were isolated. On board the ship there wasn’t much internet access. What access you had was limited and so expensive you’d only use it in the case of emergency.
That’s no longer the case. For our entire trip on Virgin Voyages from Miami to Cozumel to The Bahamas and back to Miami, I had internet for the entire time. I could check email, post photos to Instagram, follow Twitter and do everything like I would at home. I could even check my work messages (but I didn’t).
While there were people reading books on deck, just as many people were glued to their phones. In fact, Virgin Voyages almost requires that, as everything onboard is run through their app. Want a dinner reservation, book with your phone. Where are the activities? Check the app. Want a bottle of champagne? Shake your phone and it will give your location to the nearest bar.
Gone are the days when going on a cruise was a chance to unplug. Even when you’re in the middle of the ocean, you’re only a Wi-Fi signal away from connecting with the rest of the world.
While part of my jacked in mind liked being able to update our YMMV website and read news from our cabin, another part longed for the chance to step on a ship and unplug for a few days.
There’s no going back. Nearly the entire world is all connected. Unplugging is only an option. Take it or leave it.
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