After a long and interesting discussion of Tinder and TechJunkie coverage of it, one of the team asked if you would be able to use it while you were on a three week cruise of the Caribbean in the summer.
They were asking for a friend you understand. So will Tinder work on a cruise ship?
There are two potential issues that would interfere with the dating app while at sea. What location would you set and will you be able to connect to the internet while in the middle of the ocean.
What Tinder location to set while at sea
As you likely know, Tinder is location-based. It takes your location from your Facebook profile and let you set a range from that location to sweep up matches into your pool of potentials. You can change your location on Facebook but only to a city or town. There is currently no option for ‘at sea’ or ‘cruising in the ocean’. This could pose a problem.
One way around that is to pay for Tinder Plus which offers Passport. This is an option where you can set your location. The features allows you to either manually specify a city or use your phone’s GPS to identify your location. Until we can get our friend to sea and test this option, we don’t actually know if it will work in the ocean or not.
An upcoming feature called Places is currently being tested by Tinder which could change how location works anyway. It will apparently allow much finer control over where you appear, a bit like Snap Map Location Settings. This may be creepy for some but useful for others.
Can you connect to the internet while in the middle of the ocean?
The second part of getting Tinder to work on a cruise ship is about internet access. Depending on the cruise line you use and even the ship you’re on, internet access can either be fast and seamless or slow and frustrating. Most cruise lines offer internet access, for a price.
Many only allow access through their own app, which is behind a pay wall. Some will charge a daily fee while others charge by the minute. For more expensive ticket holders, it may be thrown in for free. You would have to check your terms and conditions to see.
For example, Royal Caribbean has a tiered service. One tier for general browsing or sending pictures home and another for streaming and social networking. Carnival Cruise Line also uses tiered packages. This page has a huge list of cruise lines and their various internet packages.
You will need to check what is included in each package before you buy it. Carnival Cruise Line for example has a specific Social internet plan but does not allow many social apps. It’s T&Cs say:
‘Social offers access to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat and popular airline websites. Note: Plan does not include in-app calling, Facetime, iMessage or access to any other sites or apps.’
There is no mention of Tinder or other dating apps within that list. The restrictions box mentions ‘Access to certain sites such as mature or violent content is blocked’. While Tinder is an app, it is for mature audiences so may fall under that restriction.
Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines are more open about what you can do with your internet access. It has two packages, Surf and Surf + Stream. It does not limit what you do with your connection but does charge you more (from $9.99 per day) for the privilege.
Using a VPN on a cruise ship
Some cruise lines block VPN access to stop you circumventing their limitations. If you use a VPN for work, you will need to check with your operator to make sure they don’t block the ports required for your VPN to connect. If you want to use a VPN to access Tinder or other apps, you will need to do your research before you sail.
There is also a technical limitation to using a VPN onboard. Cruise ships use satellite internet which includes quite a bit of latency. The distance traffic needs to travel from the ship, to the satellite, down to the base station and then onto the internet backbone means connections can be too slow to establish a VPN connection. Newer ships have faster links but latency is still an issue. A TCP connection should overcome latency well enough but if your provider uses UDP, you may find it doesn’t work.
The best thing to do is to research VPN providers and find one that will work on a ship or using a satellite connection. Most offer free trials and have decent customer service so you could either ask the question before signing up or line up some free trials to see which works best.