If you thought that introducing Starlink to cruise ships would mean that internet pricing would go down, think again. While the cost of Starlink is significantly less than what cruise lines paid in the past for internet access from satellite providers, the cruise industry has found a new model for making money. Offer faster internet, charge more money.

Princess Cruises sent a letter to travel agents informing them of a 65% increase in the cost of an internet connection for a single device onboard and a 12% increase for a four-device package. The catch? If you buy the internet packages with other offers, such as beverage packages, the price remains at the old levels.

Princess Cruises has announced a hike in its internet package prices. The increase is significant and strategic, effectively nudging guests towards bundled offers. 

The price for a single-device WiFi now stands at $24.99 per day, a steep rise of around 65% from the previous price of $14.99 per person per day. 

For a four-device package, the price increase is not that significant but still sits at around 12.5% at $44.99 per package, up from $39.99. This change is set to affect pre-cruise purchases made after January 22, 2024. From January 31, the onboard price of internet packages will also increase.

As per the letter from Princess Cruises sent out to travel agents, guests who have already purchased MedallionNet at the current rates will not be affected by this increase. Princess Cruises is one of the few cruise lines that is introducing a price increase after installing faster, more reliable, cheaper-to-run Starlink onboard.

Princess Cruises Ship (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

The letter further states: “Now It Pays to Plus more than ever as the price of purchasing super-fast MedallionNet separately is going up. The a la carte cost is increasing to $24.99 per person, per day, per voyage, for single-device Wi-Fi, and to $44.99 for four-device Wi-Fi, effective with pre-cruise purchases starting Jan 22. Additionally, the price will increase for onboard Wi-Fi purchase on voyages sailing Jan 31 and beyond.”

Read Also: Do Cruise Ships Have Wi-Fi – 5 Things to Know

The emphasis from Princess Cruises is on the unchanged price of the Princess Plus and Princess Premier packages, which makes individual packages extremely unattractive against the premium package prices. 

While Princess Cruises does offer some very interesting package deals for those guests who want it all while they are onboard, especially since a major overhaul in March 2023, it’s too bad the cruise line leaves very little space for guests to consider their options. 

The Princess Plus package, at around $60 per person per day, includes a beverage package, unlimited Wi-Fi through the Ocean Medallion technology, daily gratuities for the crew, and other perks like specialty dining, room service, and fitness classes. The package also includes Ocean Now Delivery and Unlimited Juice Bar.

The Princess Premier package, at $80 per person per day, includes Wi-Fi access to four devices and upgrades the beverage package to premium selections. Additionally, guests get specialty dining and a professional photo package.

Princess Cruises Ship (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks)

However, by increasing the WiFi cost to approximately half of what an entire premium package would cost, Princess Cruises forces guests to purchase items they would possibly never buy. Not everyone wants beverage packages, specialty dining, or, perhaps more controversially, pre-pay gratuities. 

Princess Cruises‘ strategy of pushing guests towards bundled packages is not new. In July 2023, the cruise line revised its dining offerings. This included the introduction of a new 3-course fixed-price meal, available at no additional cost for package members. However, for standard fare-paying guests, a charge is applicable.

The introduction of WiFi price increases comes just weeks before Princess Cruises’ newest cruise ship, Sun Princess, departs on her maiden voyage. The 175,500 gross tons Sun Princess will operate a 10-day Grand Mediterranean cruise on February 8, 2024, sailing from Barcelona and concluding in Rome.

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