Crystal Upgrades Internet Access at Sea

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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24, 2007 -- Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises has significantly upgraded its onboard computer network with new state-of-the-art technology and applications that enable guests to optimize their time online with faster connections and quicker downloads regardless of where in the world the ships travel.

Due to the need to use satellites for transmission, Internet access aboard a ship will always be significantly slower than on land.

To dramatically improve performance, the award-winning Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony have become the first cruise ships in the industry to purchase and install the new WebAccelerator(TM) technology, a highly specialized device designed to compress the data in transit between the ship and satellite, optimizing communication and transmission time. Developed by F5, a global leader in application delivery, the technology has been proven to dramatically reduce web page load times.

Crystal has also undertaken a number of additional steps to upgrade the performance and speed of its shipboard networks, including increasing bandwidth by 33 percent, upgrading components responsible for routing traffic within the ships' networks, and implementing equipment specially designed to deal with the delays inherent in satellite communication.

"Guests will notice an immediate benefit and significant improvements in the pace and performance of our shipboard networks, whether they are checking e-mail, surfing the net or sending digital photos to family and friends," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president, hotel operations.
"We know that e-mail and Internet are an integral part of our guests' way of life. With the most extensive shipboard labs and hands-on instruction programs in the industry, Crystal has chosen to be a leader in onboard computing," continues Mazloum. "While it was an expensive undertaking, our recent network upgrades and our decision to be the first andonly cruise line to invest in the new WebAccelerator(TM) is in line with our commitment to provide guests with the best computer technology and performance at sea."

These upgrades follow the recent debut of the luxury line's wireless Internet and cell phone service aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

Crystal's Computer University@Sea

Since its launch in 1996, the popularity of Crystal's Computer University@Sea has continued to grow along with its complimentary curriculum now numbering 30 courses for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

The fleetwide program allows guests to choose courses suited to their own personal and professional enrichment on topics from basic computer skills to advanced digital photo finishing.
Aboard every Crystal itinerary a team of dedicated instructors offers courses on Windows and e-mail, website design, digital video editing, digital camera orientation, Photoshop and even surfing the Web. Other topics, depending on the number of sea days, include Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, greeting and business card design, and how to research stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments and prepare financial spreadsheets. Private instruction is also available.

State-of-the-art Dell(R) laptops and PCs, high-tech learning, and 24-hour Internet access from every lab and stateroom are just some of the features of this ground-breaking program. The Computer University@Sea labs allow guests to explore cyberspace and to send and retrieve e-mail instantly via their own Internet services or through their personalized shipboard e-mail addresses. Guests may opt to bring their own laptops and have them configured for in-stateroom Internet access or rent laptops at a nominal fee.