Surf the Net while you cruise the high seas

Internet addicts no longer have an excuse to avoid cruise vacations. Holland America’s “ms Volendam” is the line’s first cruise ship to feature an Internet centre, where guests can go on-line, check their own e-mail accounts and surf the World Wide Web. The ship promises to be the first of many that will offer Web access to cruisers.

“Our upcoming new ships will have the centres and we have plans to expand the feature fleetwide,” said Holland America’s David Giersdorf. “This is a service our guests have told us they would like to have. In addition, more and more business groups and individuals want access to their e-mail while they travel.”

In what can definitely be seen as a sign of the changing times, the new Internet centre, equipped with eight computer terminals and a printer, will be located in a space formerly occupied by the Puzzle Corner. The puzzle table will be relocated for the enjoyment of those guests who prefer to stay off-line when on-board.

Cost to guests for the Internet service and the hours of operation for the Internet center on board the Volendam are being determined. Guests will be able to sign on for a specific length of time, and charges are bill to each guest’s on-board account.

Holland America has already experimented with an e-mail service on this year’s world cruise of the ms Rotterdam and it was very well-received by guests. The company is also looking at installing dataports in guest staterooms. That could be a mistake, however, as some Internet fanatics might never leave their rooms.