Part of the joy of remote work is being able to set up shop from anywhere in the world— even the middle of the ocean on a cruise.
Working from a cruise ship may not be for all remote workers because of the challenges that come with it, which include spotty wifi and time differences. At the same time, working from a cruise ship offers some major selling points. For example, you'll be able to see some of the most beautiful places on earth and never have to cook a meal. Plus, there's always a pool for you to dip in when you're done working for the day.
Many cruise lines are still operating at limited capacity. However, passengers can still enjoy the entire cruise experience (think: plenty of onboard entertainment and the thrill of disembarking in a new port).
So, if you've ever considered working remotely from a cruise, right now may be the best time to try. Here are four expert tips for people who just started working or are thinking about working from a cruise line.
Location is key.
Picking a spot where you're able to focus on your work without getting distracted by pool parties, buffet lines, and other passengers is critical when it comes to staying on task and completing your work.
Most cruises have quiet lounges, cafes, or bars that boast incredible views of the ocean or port city. "The sacrifice is that you won't have complete silence; it's more akin to a coffee shop environment, which many creatives and work-from-home types like but isn't necessarily for everyone," says journalist and content marketer Kristin Luna. Luna also recommends packing headphones or earbuds to ensure people don't just sit down and start talking to you. In other words, even if you're not listening to something, having headphones on can deter people from bothering you.
Additionally, cruise ships often have indicators to show you've been asked about drinks, so be sure to ask about that if you're sitting in a lounge or at a bar. That way, waiters don't interrupt your train of thought while working.
Ways to manage the lack of reliable internet.
"I've worked from ships all over the world, and there's one consistency: The internet is never as reliable as you want it to be, no matter how much you're paying for 'premium' access," says Luna. One way to manage the lack of reliable internet is to manage your expectations before getting on board. Remember, ship wifi can be slow and spotty, especially if thousands of other passengers are using it.
According to travel writer and influencer Judi Cohen, the best time to connect to wifi is at night when other passengers are sleeping. Conversely, "The worst time to plan a call or use the internet is when everyone is returning from a shore excursion," she says.
You must prioritize certain things while in port.
Making the most of port time is usually pretty high on everyone's list while on a cruise. And, if you're working while cruising, being able to utilize the stronger wifi on land allows you to be more productive out at sea.
The best way to take advantage of the stronger signal is by checking the docking and departure times in advance. That way, you can plan on visiting a nearby coffee shop or cafe with free wifi. Also, most ports have a Starbucks near the docks, which is a great spot to have a cup of coffee, connect to wifi, and catch up on work.
"I would typically allot an hour in port, either when we arrived or close to departure time to use either the port's internet or a café or tend to any calls, Skype, or, Zooms I needed to make, as well as download larger files," says Luna.
Carry a backup drive.
Because of the unreliable service at sea, Cohen suggests packing a backup drive or external hard drive that doesn't require wifi to operate. Downloaded documents from the cloud can take up precious time and paid data; however, having everything you need on a backup drive will alleviate potential hardships on your end. Plus, these devices allow you to access any documents you may need at any given time.
Ultimately, from a cruise ship is really all about one thing, according to Luna: "Learning to be efficient with your time and prioritize when and where you access data or large files."
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