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Carnival Wants to Make Onboard Wi-Fi Worth the High Price

For the cruise industry, the ardor with which travelers post their trip photos on social media sites is clashing with expensive, laggardly Internet connections. We love to share—and that can be nearly impossible from the middle of the sea.

The largest cruise line, Carnival, says it has a solution for this mess: a new “smart hybrid” mix of technologies that will offer speeds 10 times faster than current ship connections by merging a variety of wireless signals such as satellite, long-range Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi from ports. Carnival introduced the new “WiFi@Sea” service on Monday, following 18 months of tests, and plans to have it on all the company’s nine cruise brands and 101 ships in the next few years. Officials say the speed will be comparable to what is found in restaurants and bars that offer Wi-Fi access.