• TRAVEL NOTICE: Learn more about COVID-19
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
Dismiss
Celebrity Cruises FAQ
Celebrity Cruises FAQ
Can You Work From A Cruise Ship? Our Tips for Working Remotely at Sea
Promenade Deck on Royal Princess

Can You Work From A Cruise Ship? Our Tips for Working Remotely at Sea

Can You Work From A Cruise Ship? Our Tips for Working Remotely at Sea
Promenade Deck on Royal Princess
Cruise Critic
Staff
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

Working from a cruise ship is possible -- but it’s not without its pratfalls.

Yet with new abilities to work remotely brought to the forefront by the global health pandemic, more people who are far from retirement are embracing remote working -- on land and sea. After all, a cruise ship has everything you need – regular meals and room service, a comfy cabin and lounges to work, places to work out and socialize -- and when you're off the clock, maybe you can fit in a port visit, a spa treatment or daily pool time.

Cruise Critic editors work from cruise ships all the time because -- well, it's our job. We've seen the process become much easier over the years, as cruise ships invest in better and stronger Wi-Fi. On some ships, we're able to dial into video conferences and do Zoom interviews, access the company VPN and cloud drives, just like we do at home.

And on some ships, we can't do anything. It's a helpless feeling, in this day and age of constant connectivity.

Also realize that, in fairness, many small niche ships don't offer any Wi-Fi access at all (it's a feature). Don't plan your work trip around a small-ship expedition in Alaska, for example.

Featured Videos

See all videos
Our Favorite Things Aboard Viking Venus

Our Favorite Things Aboard Viking Venus

Regent Seven Seas Splendor Returns to the Seas

Regent Seven Seas Splendor Returns to the Seas

Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials

Scarlet Lady Video Ship Review (2021)

Scarlet Lady Video Ship Review (2021)

60-Second Video Tour of Virgin's Scarlet Lady

60-Second Video Tour of Virgin's Scarlet Lady

Carnival Mardi Gras: Free Dining on the Lido Deck

Carnival Mardi Gras: Free Dining on the Lido Deck

Carnival Mardi Gras: RedFrog Tiki Bar & Summer Landing

Carnival Mardi Gras: RedFrog Tiki Bar & Summer Landing

Carnival Mardi Gras' Excel Suite and Loft 19

Carnival Mardi Gras' Excel Suite and Loft 19

Live From Carnival's Mardi Gras: The French Quarter

Live From Carnival's Mardi Gras: The French Quarter

BOLT: We Try Carnival Mardi Gras' Roller Coaster at Sea

BOLT: We Try Carnival Mardi Gras' Roller Coaster at Sea

NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months

NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island

Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island

Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021

Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021

Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later

Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later

Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules

Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules

Celebrity Millennium -- Video Tour & Ship Review (2021)

Celebrity Millennium -- Video Tour & Ship Review (2021)

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet

Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return

Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return

Celebrity Apex -- Eden

Celebrity Apex -- Eden

Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat

Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin

Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director

Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director

Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck

Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck

Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)

Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)

Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?

Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?

5 Reasons MSC Cruises' Yacht Club Is Worth The Splurge

5 Reasons MSC Cruises' Yacht Club Is Worth The Splurge

Video Highlights From The Impractical Jokers Cruise 4 (2018)

Video Highlights From The Impractical Jokers Cruise 4 (2018)

Love Luxury Resorts? Here's Why You Should Cruise Seabourn

Love Luxury Resorts? Here's Why You Should Cruise Seabourn

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

MSC Virtuosa Ship Tour: What It's Like Onboard MSC's Newest Ship (May 2021)

MSC Virtuosa Ship Tour: What It's Like Onboard MSC's Newest Ship (May 2021)

Video Scenes From The Golden Girls Theme Cruise 2019

Video Scenes From The Golden Girls Theme Cruise 2019

River Cruising: Video Q&A With John Waggoner On American Countess, American Queen Steamboat Company's Newest Ship

River Cruising: Video Q&A With John Waggoner On American Countess, American Queen Steamboat Company's Newest Ship

How River Cruising Allows You To Explore Like A Local

How River Cruising Allows You To Explore Like A Local

5 Ways A Seabourn Cruise Will Make You Feel Special

5 Ways A Seabourn Cruise Will Make You Feel Special

Inside Look 2018 Ship-Hop: A Cruise Vacation For '90s Lovers

Inside Look 2018 Ship-Hop: A Cruise Vacation For '90s Lovers

5 Best Onboard Spots For Wine And Tapas

5 Best Onboard Spots For Wine And Tapas

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Suites at Sea - Video Guide

The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Suites at Sea - Video Guide

4 Best Places To Get Craft Beer At Sea - Video Guide

4 Best Places To Get Craft Beer At Sea - Video Guide

Sneak Peek: Disney Fantasy Highlights For Kids - Video Tour

Sneak Peek: Disney Fantasy Highlights For Kids - Video Tour

7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas

7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas

Highlights From Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Highlights From Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic

Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet

HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet

Below, we give you some tips from working from a cruise ships – and a breakdown of our experiences on different lines and ships. Maybe we'll see you onboard with your laptop?

Tips for Working From A Cruise Ship

Managing travel plans, bookings and cancellations (Photo: PKpix/Shutterstock.com)

Keep expectations low. For the most part, don’t go into it expecting to replicate the experience at a hotel on-land. Satellite connections are getting better with each passing year, but a ship has thousands of people onboard, all hoping to post their vacation pictures to Facebook or livestream with their families.

Age matters, but fleet matters more. In general, newer ships have better and faster Wi-Fi. But there are exceptions, particularly when you go on different cruise lines. The internet access on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas – 18 years old this year – was better overall than that onboard the year-and-a-half-old Norwegian Encore, for example.

Geography makes a difference. Mountain ranges and fjords provide a pretty backdrop to your meetings, but know that geographical obstructions and areas of remote connectivity will scrub your productivity plans. If you’re just planning on keeping in touch with the office over email and Word, you shouldn’t have too many issues, but don't schedule that important presentation during your Alaska cruise's visit to Glacier Bay. Same story when it comes to where the satellite is. We had severe connectivity issues on Scarlet Lady as its satellite is over Florida where the ship will be based later this year -- not England, where it has been sailing.

Leaving port makes a difference. Pro-tip -- check embarkation times from ports and do not schedule your conference call, Zoom chat or anything that requires a connection as the ship is leaving port -- as we found on Norwegian Jade. For some reason, all Wi-Fi connectivity dropped for 10 minutes as the ship left or arrived into port. Not a huge issue, unless of course you are in the middle of something.

Where you sit on the ship makes a big difference. You may not always be able to work in your cabin as the signal might not be strong enough. Find where the routers are (usually the strongest signal is at Guest Relations) and settle in there -- ideally with headphones.

Make time zones work for you. If you're working with an east coast company, Europe is a fantastic place to work, as you're generally able to squeeze in a morning excursion, lunch and pool time well before your colleagues start Slacking you. The down side? You might end up working through dinner hours. Alaska is difficult because you're already four hours behind; you wake up to a slew of emails and not much time to respond before your coworkers are done for the day -- though it does free up your afternoons and evenings. That makes the Caribbean a nice choice.

Quiet-proof your cabin. We've seen some people working from cruise ships on the down low, essentially hiding their location from employers. We won't judge. But we do recommend that you turn off in-room announcements before you join that conference call (bing bong! Join us for shuffleboard on the Lido Deck!) Blurring your background on Zoom is another classic way to avoid detection that you're not in your home office.

Port days give you data access. If you plan on working remotely, definitely choose a mobile plan that allows you international service. Many ship Wi-Fi plans only allow you to use one device at a time, and so having a second point of data access can help you make a tricky two-factor VPN authentication to get into your system, or allow you to upload photos from your phone. It can also allow you to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Ship-Specific Work Experiences

Cruise Critic editors have been on a range of cruise lines and ships this year, and we list our connectivity successes --and failures -- below. Keep in mind that our experience on one ship might not hold true for the entire fleet, or on sailings through different destinations. We'll continue to add to this list as we travel.

Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan Dream Cruises' Kruzof Explorer (Photo: Chris Gray Faust/Cruise Critic)

Ship: Kruzof Explorer

Itinerary: Alaska

Slack: No

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: Only when passing near cell service on land

Conference call (audio): No

Video conference: No


American Queen Steamboat Company

American Countess exterior

Ship: American Countess

Itinerary: Mississippi River

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: No

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Sometimes, but not really


Carnival Cruise Line

Exterior Carnival Mardi Gras (Photo by Chris Gray Faust)

Ship: Carnival Mardi Gras

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Yes, in port; Wi-Fi plan only allows one device at a time.

Access company cloud drives: Google Drive, yes. Dropbox no, YouTube, yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Yes


Celebrity Cruises

always included celebrity apex hero image

Ship: Celebrity Apex

Itinerary: Greece

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Sometimes

Access company cloud drives: Yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Yes


Ship: Celebrity Edge

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Sometimes

Access company cloud drives: Yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Yes


Ship: Celebrity Millennium

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drive: Yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Spotty, but mostly yes


Ship: Celebrity Silhouette

Itinerary: Round-U.K.

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: Sometimes

Conference call (audio): Sometimes

Video conference: Sometimes, but usually lags


MSC Cruises

M S C  Virtuosa arrives into  Southampton  M S C  Cruises,  Blue  Harbour (1)

Ship: MSC Virtuosa

Itinerary: Round-U.K.

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Yes

Access company cloud drives: Sometimes

Conference call (audio): Sometimes

Video conference: Sometimes, but usually lags


Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Encore in Icy Strait Point. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Itinerary: Alaska

Slack: Yes, though very slow to load.

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drive: Google yes, Dropbox no, YouTube yes (but very slow)

Conference call (audio): yes

Video conference: No


Ship: Norwegian Jade

Itinerary: Greek islands

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Sometimes

Access company cloud drives: Sometimes

Conference call (audio): Sometimes

Video conference: Sometimes, but usually lags


Royal Caribbean

Serenade of the Seas in Icy Strait Point (Photo: Aaron Saunders/Cruise Critic)

Ship: Adventure of the Seas

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: Google Drive, yes. Dropbox, no. YouTube, yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: No


Ship: Allure of the Seas

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Yes

Access company cloud drives: Yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Yes


Ship: Freedom of the Seas

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Sometimes

Access company cloud drives: Yes

Conference Call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Yes


Ship: Odyssey of the Seas

Itinerary: Caribbean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Sometimes

Access company cloud drives: Yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: Yes


Ship: Serenade of the Seas

Itinerary: Alaska

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: Google. yes, Dropbox, no; YouTube, yes

Conference call (audio): yes

Video conference: Yes


Silversea Cruises

Silver Moon Exterior (Photo: Colleen McDaniel)

Ship: Silver Moon

Itinerary: Greece

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: Sometimes

Conference call (audio): Sometimes

Video conference: Sometimes, but usually lags


UnCruise Adventures

Kayakers on UnCruise Adventures (Photo: Colleen McDaniel)

Ship: Wilderness Legacy

Itinerary: Alaska

Slack: No

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: No

Conference call (audio): No

Video conference: No


Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Venus (Photo: Viking)

Ship: Viking Venus

Itinerary: Mediterranean

Slack: Yes

Access VPN: Yes

Access company cloud drives: Yes

Conference call (audio): Yes

Video conference: No


Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady (Photo by Cruise Critic)

Ship: Scarlet Lady

Itinerary: Round-U.K.

Slack: No

Access VPN: No

Access company cloud drives: No

Conference call (audio): Sometimes

Video conference: Sometimes, but usually lags

Updated September 01, 2021

How was this article?

Featured News

1
Carnival Cruise Line Scraps Terminal-Based COVID-19 Testing Plans
5
Regent Seven Seas Becomes Latest Cruise Line to Resume Sailing
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.