Ask Harriet: Wifi access on European River Cruises

In my December journal entry, I described how objects and photos tend to trigger memories of my travels. But the truth is: We all have different ways in which we reminisce about where we’ve been and what we’ve experienced while we were there, which is why I wanted to share the email I received from Enez James—a 10-time traveler from Livermore, California—who emailed me in response to my journal to tell me how she remembers her journeys with Grand Circle.

Dear Harriet,
I usually bring a small notebook on my travels. At the end of the day, before retiring for the night, I write in my journal what transpired that day. This way, I have a complete journal when I return home.

Enez James
10-time traveler & Vacation Ambassador
Livermore, California

Enez, thanks for your email. I try to stay organized during my travels, too, but sometimes my notes turn out to be a scrap of paper here or there! Please continue to share your thoughts and suggestions with me by emailing me at It’s great hearing from you.

Ask Harriet

In a world where technology is at our fingertips, our travelers are always looking for ways to stay connected to their family and friends while on their trips—which is why I wanted to answer a question about a topic we hear frequently from travelers. Here, Jan Gault used our Travel Forums to ask about Internet accessibility on our river ships:

Q: My husband and I are taking a River Cruise soon. I understand there is WiFi available, but it can be spotty. I’ll need to use it daily. Also, does anyone know how many laptops the ship has available for use, and if there is a time limit?

Jan Gault
First-time traveler
Kailua Kona, Hawaii

A: Jan, thanks for sharing this question. How to communicate with your family and friends is a common—and important—question we receive from Grand Circle travelers. While our river ships do not currently have laptops available for use, our river ships that sail from Amsterdam to Constanta and in France (access is not currently available on our river ships in Russia, China, and on the Elbe River) do have wireless Internet access in the reception area, library, lounge, and bar, so you can use your own devices for the duration of your trip. However, you’re correct that service can be spotty at times.

My Harriet’s Corner team emailed Roman Canger, Regional General Manager of our river ships, to get the answer right from the source. According to Roman, WiFi is available most of the time through a network of mobile phone operators using a 3G signal in each of the countries where we sail. This signal is usually available in the towns and cities we visit, but when we’re cruising, the signal strength and quality dissipates, resulting in little to no Internet connection.

For travelers—like Jan—who want to know where the best WiFi availability can be found, Roman explains that when our ship is docked, the signal is normally stable and we have coverage most of the time. When we are sailing, the signal strength fluctuates, and the connection is sometimes interrupted.

If you want to bring along your own devices, like iPhones or iPads, all you need to do in order to connect to the ship’s Internet service is to obtain the access code from the ship’s reception desk.

Jan, I hope Roman’s response has helped to answer your questions about Internet accessibility while you’re traveling on your river ship. If not, please feel free to email me at

Ask Harriet a question or share your thoughts with her

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me, or comments about the stories featured in Harriet’s Corner? Please email me at—and your submission could be featured in the next Harriet’s Corner update. I look forward to sharing what you have to say!