Keeping in Touch: Internet Facts at Sea

People sign up for a cruise to get away from it all—as long as they can still go online. Today, folks cannot imagine not getting their email, taking calls, or updating their social network accounts for a day, let alone the 7 they will be out at sea. But first-time cruisers that expect availability of the Internet will be the same out in the water as on land are in for a rude awakening.

Cruise ships have been web-connected sine as early as 1999 when German cruise ship Norwegian Sky added an Internet café to its amenities. Today, most cruise ships have Internet service but it can be a frustrating, and expensive, experience for landlubbers.

For one thing, Internet connection on a cruise ship is typically via satellite, and that’s a heck of a lot farther than the substation that your Internet cable has to travel to receive and transmit data. When a cruise ship’s satellite antennae sends your email to the service, it first has to bounce it 22,000-odd miles into space, which is then beamed back to Earth to a land-based substation. That’s a lag you don’t get on land.

There is also the question of bandwidth. The larger the bandwidth that the cruise ship company pays for, the faster the transmission. Unfortunately, such satellite-dependent technology is expensive, and even the typical fixed bandwidth costs way more than what you would pay for on land. Cruise lines that shell out the cash for better Internet quality will inevitably pass on the costs to those who want access. This can translate to a big wad of cash at 75 cents a minute for a typical connection. Most cruise ship offer packages for heavy users, but still, considering that the typical Internet connection on land is just $30 a month…

And to add insult to near the equator usually have the most reliable connections.

As of lately, there have been mentions of cruise ship accidents and injuries. Unforunately, these sort of situations happen more frequently than one would imagine. Passengers can become injured by falling due to slippery floors, or another negligent action. If anyone you know does get hurt on a cruise ship, it would be helpful to contact a cruise ship attorney to speak about their legal options.

But don’t let these Internet facts discourage you from cruising. It may not be a bad idea to be disconnected for a short while. At the very least, you will have a lot of interesting things to come back to at the end of your vacation.


City of New York to Pay Damages for Zucotti Park Raid

new york arrestOn November 15, 2011, the NYPD forcibly removed Occupy Wall Street protestors from their encampment in Zucotti Park, arresting occupiers by the busload and damaging thousands of dollars worth of property onsite.

Since the raid, protestors have been fighting for compensation for the damages police officers caused to their belongings. Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the city must pay back the movement for $366,700 in damages and legal fees.

Occupy’s case against the city claimed that officers destroyed the free, donation-based library that was being managed by volunteers in the park. Additionally, police destroyed internet streaming equipment such as laptops, WIFI hotspots, and cameras that were being used to feed live video of the protest around the world. NYC must also compensate the owners of bicycle-powered generators that were destroyed in the raid.

Members of the Occupy Wall Street may be happy with this small victory, but should make an effort to not let this settlement placate the movement.

Petition to Save Rye Playland Reaches 1,200 Signatures

amusement parkRye, N.Y. – The fate of Rye Playland, a small amusement park located in Rye, New York, will be decided in the coming weeks. Lawmakers in the town of slightly more than 15,500 people are left to choose between four proposals for the amusement park’s future.

One of these plans is receiving a lot of negative attention from some of the town’s inhabitants. The Sustainable Playland proposal for the park would cost $34 million and greatly reduce the number of rides in the park in favor of a mini water park, fields, restaurants, and a huge lawn that will provide a view of Long Island Sound.

This proposal is meeting great opposition from many residents of Rye for eliminating too many rides and removing too much parking. A website and petition called “Save Playland Amusement Park” hopes to fight the Sustainable Playland proposal and promotes two of the other three proposals for the future of Playland.

These other proposals include a $25 million plan to add some fields, rides, and water attractions. A different $26.4 proposal would add mini-golf, a children’s play area, and new rides. The final proposal would rebrand the park as Legoland New York.

The petitioners seem to be dead set on ensuring the $34 million plan is not chosen, with the petition gaining more than 1,200 signatures in its first couple weeks.