We talk (moan) a lot here about Internet access while traveling and rate it a top ‘needs improvement’ item on most cruise ships, in hotels, foreign countries and pretty much the entire planet Earth outside of the United States.
Sorry rest of world: you don’t make it easy to connect.
Still, the situation is improving. At sea, major cruise lines are on the brink of DSL-speed connections. International data plans are coming down in price and offering more. Seabourn, shedding their older ships in favor of a trim, modern fleet, has a snappy Internet connection for those who wish it.
Some travelers don’t.
Some might but don’t want to pay for it.
Still, rather than waiting for technology to catch up with demand, Seabourn has figured out how to manipulate challenged at sea internet systems.
PressReader Offline is a customizable digital newspaper and magazine service with breakthrough technology, offering Seabourn guests complimentary, full editions of their favorite global newspapers and magazines.
Interesting, but not the story.
Choosing from a selection of more than 2,500 newspapers and magazines, guests can download their favorites on personal iOS or Android mobile devices while in port or at sea. The complementary service is smart for a number of reasons:
- Better than what we see on most cruise ships; a few sheets of headlines copied off a wire service to take the edge off news-hungry guests.
- Zero harm to the environment with no paper/ink used to produce it.
- Zero clutter from germ (norovirus)-harboring shared magazines and newspapers.
- The Story: Guests enjoying unlimited offline access to the latest publications = fewer of them online slowing down the shared connection
An Interesting Service
The PressReader app supplies newspapers and magazines in their entirety, including all printed sections and even advertising. Seabourn ships will download the requested content daily, and store it on the ships’ local network, so guests can access their choice without going online. Guests may download the app in advance or while they are on board. In addition, a small supply of tablets will be available on board with PressReader already downloaded for use by guests who do not carry personal mobile devices.
Actually, we don’t need to be on a Seabourn ship to use the PressReader app. Travelers can add the possibly must-have PressReader app to their smartphone or tablet right now and begin using it from home…if they want to pay for it. Unless you are on a Seabourn ship right now, single issue prices range from $.free (Popular Snakes, Melanoma Enthusiast) to $.99 per issue for newspapers (USA Today, Forbes Daily) and $4.99 per issue for magazines, (Food & Travel, Porthole Cruise Magazine).
As I write this, choices number 729 magazines and 2132 newspapers.
Studies show that more than half of U.S. adults own a tablet and are reading their news on a mobile device. People now travel with their devices and having access to news is becoming an expectation while on land and at sea. More importantly, a significant number of new travelers choosing a cruise (or not) for the first time will be younger and looking for tech-savvy options. Specific to cruise vacations, this is the generation that we will probably thank when some major cruise line bites the bullet and enables free internet for all. That will be the line that is serious about meeting guest expectations.
Kudos to Seabourn for taking a close look at a customizable solution for businesses that don’t have continuous access to a broadband network, much like an an airline’s in-flight entertainment system. Now if they can just figure out how to let me share photos with the folks back home using no Internet connection, I will totally shut up on this topic and promise to never be crabby again.