It was marketed great. Join 200 nomads and spend two weeks time in a pinnacle of workcation environment. We will not return. Here is why.
Digital nomads? No. We work remotely full time.
In March 2016 we decided to go nomadic. Work and travel is what we wanted to do. Our days look as a remote couple like everyone elses, we work 8 hours a day. We are exhausted through out the week and get up early every morning. Travelling like we do is costly as we try to move around every four weeks. What we save on rent, we easily spent on travelling and lodging. Our whole scenario relies on us being disciplinated and productive at least 5 days a week, so that the two of us can continue to live like this.
Travel and work means more work
Imagine your life right now plus the need to organise travel plans constantly as well: where to go next, where to go after this and where to stay. One of the rewards of this lifestyle is to be in places our friends would choose as vacation destinations. After a long days work, we get to step out on the beach or visit a coffee farm on the weekend. It is then we enjoy a scenery most of us at home only know from postcards. However it is not easy.
How ever this only works for as long as the two of us have a reliant and stable internet connection. And this is where the nomadcruise fell short and was marketed wrong.
The nomadcruise is a nice concept
I applaude Johannes and his team for this great project. Getting together 200 people on a cruise ship and motivate them to exchange knowledge and get to know each other is a great feat. But first and foremost we need to work, and for this we need a stable online connection. We were skeptical about the internet connection so we inquired before. It was made clear to us, that the connection could be unstable at times, but that communication such as Skype and Social Media would be unproblematic. We wanted to make sure and maxed-out. The “Junior Suite” was the most expensive option but offered free wifi within the “Yacht Club”. After days of back and forth we decided to go for it and booked a Junior Suite as we did not want to pay for the internet daily.
The internet connection on board did not deliver
We boarded the ship on Saturday and spent a nice weekend on the boat. This was also the first time on a cruise ship for us and there was a lot to process and digest. In expectation of a transition period I had taken the first two days off. On Monday morning the Yacht club filled up with nomads and I tried to get online for real for the first time.
Six hours later I gave up. My net online time had been roughly 15 minutes and after talking to the internet manager on board it turned out that the ship simply could not provide the bandwidth required. Internet on board stayed very slow for the most part. During day times loading emails or opening a websites usually amounted to minutes of waiting time. Needless to say I was not amused and so where all the others that had relied on a stable internet connection.
I could have handled unstable and slow, but even casual surfing was tedious and painfully slow, as was reading your mails.
Some did a couple of speed tests during the night. The highest I ever saw was 7MB. Something we all should have know in advance since this could have been easily checked in advance.
We adapted. From 4am to 8am and after dinner at around 10 pm gave you much higher chances of being online for a while and I handed in 10 unvoluntary days of vacation.
In the end the nomadcruise cost too much
An announcement was made, an apology delivered.
It still evades me: How can you invite digital nomads on a cruise and not clearly communicate that the internet connection is weak at best. It is like inviting top athletes to a sports camp and fail to mention that there will be no physical facilities. Out of all the people to market to, digital nomads are THE group that relied on stable internet. Somebody should have double checked and communicated this better. Though I know the nomadcruise team gave their best and did not mean any of this, I still feel like we have been played.
Throughout the cruise I talked to many people who had relied on the internet being stable.
- Many people in webdesign or similar told me that their client relationship had suffered. Some said they lost prospects, some said they missed out on paid work.
- Some people were part of a remote team and could not do their part, leaving their team hanging and loosing out on paid work daily.
- Some were not able to send out newsletters or coordinate marketing activities for their client.
- Some people working in ecommerce / retail could not deliver, send out invoices or order new items from their suppliers. They were loosing money in the process.
- Some had to find other people to cover for them and of course pay them for it.
- Many people had trouble communicating, missed out on meetings and calls and had to rearrange many things.
I posted my connection troubles on the first Monday. All I got was tipps like turning off my updates and working at night. I did not need anybody to tell me what I could do to alleviate this problem I had not caused.
We all adapted, and we compensated for troubles that were not ours.
In the end I now have to catch up 12 days of no-productivity. No thanks nomadcruise, we will not return.