NCL onboard Internet access

I took a Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Sun, departing Miami April 12, ’03, and arriving in Los Angeles April 29. The ship line provided an e-mail address where we could be contacted aboard ship. I gave this to family members so they could reach us if they had to. Two of them sent messages and we never received them. Fortunately, they were not emergencies, but what if they were?

To send an e-mail from the ship, we had to pay a registration fee as well as an access fee. I did not do that because of the cost, and I am wondering if that is why I didn’t receive the e-mails from my family members.

Sun City, CA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to Norwegian Cruise Line and received the following reply.

Thank you for offering Norwegian Cruise Line the opportunity to respond to Mr. Putman’s letter regarding our e-mail system on board.

NCL does assign an individual e-mail address to each passenger on board so that friends and family can stay in touch with guests while at sea. Many guests have their own personal e-mail addresses that they prefer to use on board as well; however, we provide addresses in case a passenger does not have an e-mail address.

As with any e-mail service, to access an e-mail account a passenger must sign onto the Internet. NCL provides a 24-hour Internet café that offers Internet access. There is a one-time activation charge of $3.95, and passengers are charged 75¢ per minute each time they sign on.

For passengers who utilize the Internet café often, NCL offers packaged minutes — for example, 100 minutes for $55 (55¢ per minute) — which Mr. Putman could have purchased.

Other options — passengers may bring their own laptops and access e-mail from their cabins or they may rent a wireless Internet card to have wireless access from several public areas around the ship. Both of these additional alternatives feature a per-minute charge.

There is no way for passengers to access the Internet free of charge.

I hope this answers Mr. Putman’s question.

HEATHER KRASNOW, Manager, Media Relations, Norwegian Cruise Line, 7665 Corporate Center Dr., Miami, FL 33126