- Internet access isn’t free for Holland America crew members stranded onboard the cruise line’s fleet of ships.
- Crew can purchase a plan that offers 607 mb for $US40 on a monthly basis.
- A Holland America spokesperson told Business Insider that the cruise line offers 24/7 “happy hour” rates for crew, thus allowing the workers to access more megabits per second.
- “There’s so many levels of wrong going on right now,” a Holland America salesperson told Business Insider, referring to the company’s practice of charging crew for internet access.
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Holland America Line crew members must purchase internet packages in order to access the web as they await repatriation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Two Holland America employees confirmed to Business Insider that the Carnival Corporation-owned line is charging crew for internet access. Holland America confirmed to Business Insider that it offers a monthly package of 607 mb for $US40. Many Holland America crew members left onboard are enduring pay cuts.
One crew member told Business Insider that they purchased such a WiFi package for the months of April and May. They said that the cost “wouldn’t sting as much if the internet worked half of the time.”
Holland America published a blog post on May 28 providing updates on its efforts to repatriate crew members. Holland America’s blog post said that the cruise line expects that the “vast majority of crew repatriation” will be finished by mid-June.
“Crew are able to use WhatsApp on their personal device free of charge to remain connected with loved ones, and the ships are offering low-cost internet packages,” the blog post said.
A cruise line spokesperson told Business Insider that, due to onboard “happy hour” rates, crew members who buy these internet packages end up getting a greater value.
“The charge for internet is $US40 for 667 mb,” the spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “However because Happy Hour fees are in effect 24/7 on the ships, the user balance is only ‘charged,’ or accrued at a small percentage of the non-Happy Hour rate.”
The spokesperson said that if a crew member used 10 mb, they would only be charged “one cent per MB for that time.”
“At the end of the 667 MB, you are actually receiving approximately 4,200 MB,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also told Business Insider that texting on WhatsApp is free throughout Holland America’s fleet and that “a phone call with WhatsApp of 5 minutes would cost a crew member approximately five cents.”
But two Holland America employees who spoke to Business Insider criticised their employer cruise line for charging crew members who are still waiting to return home after the global coronavirus pandemic left thousands of cruise workers stranded for months.
“600 mb doesn’t go far when you want to video your families,” a Holland America crew member said.
A Holland America salesperson told Business Insider that they were also upset by the fact the cruise line is charging trapped crew members whose contracts have been terminated for WiFi.
“There’s so many levels of wrong going on right now,” a Holland America salesperson told Business Insider. “And those crew who are stuck at sea? They’re not being paid. And for their WiFi access, they have to pay for their WiFi access while they’re stuck at sea.”
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