In order to keep our business going whilst on our MSC Sinfonia cruise, it was essential to be able to access the internet. During our cruise I regularly accessed the internet to download and reply to emails and to distribute newsletters. I accessed the internet in 2 ways:
using a 3G card
using the Sinfonia's satellite connection
We cruised from Durban to Maputo to the Portuguese Island and back to Durban. When we stopped at Maputo I could pick up a GPRS signal via a 3G card. The trick is to go sit in the lounge on the top floor of the Sinfonia (where the disco is at night). I could pick up the same GPRS signal from the top of the Sinfonia when it sank anchor off the Portuguese Island. I could pick up a good signal in the Sinfonia at Durban harbour.
When away from the major cities and the 3G card was not working, I used the satellite connection offered by the Sinfonia...this was expensive - I spent $25 to purchase an MSC Wi-Fi card offering 60 minutes of access. For 99% of users the connection would have worked fine. Not many people will be doing this, but I did find problems in some of the ftp'ing I was doing - for some reason it wouldn't allow me to ftp through Dreamweaver, but when I switched to SmartFTP it worked fine. As I say, most people wouldn't get anywhere near this problem.
"The prepaid MSC Wi-Fi card is valid on board the MSC Sinfonia, and it allows the holder to gain wireless access to Internet from the MSC Hot Spot Wi-Fi Areas, which are located in the following areas of the vessel: Pool area - Sinfonia Lounge - Library area - Information office area - Shelagh's Pub - Cafe' Le Baroque - Budha Bar - Manhattan Bar. You can use the MSC Wi-Fi card with enabled laptops or PDAs (802.11b/g). Your MSC Wi-Fi card is already active and ready to be use: you only need to access the MSC Hot Spot Wi-Fi and to open the web browser. The system will be automatically connected to the MSC Wi-Fi portal and from now on you will only need to insert the User ID and password printed on the prepaid card. You can buy the card at the Crew Purser Office and you can connnect to the Internet until the credit is extinguished. To log out, select log out from the authentication pop-up windows. The service is provided by satellite links using shared bandwidth. For this reason the service could be slow if used during peak hours. This card is valid only during the current contract. The remaining traffic is not refundable and the card will be deactivated at the end of your contract."
If you're bringing your own laptop remember to bring an adaptor plug for a European 2-pin plug.