Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise ship operator, will bring inexpensive, high-speed internet to most of its fleet next year in a series of shipboard technology advances.
The high-speed internet system chosen involves transmission speeds 10 times faster than the line’s previous system. The new version is already available on 30 Carnival ships and its coming expansion to the whole fleet is no small breakthrough – Carnival boasts a combined fleet of over 100 ships across 10 cruise line brands.
More good news lies in the price. Skift.com, which reports on technological and travel advances, says the new internet involves “more affordable pricing which moves away from how cruise lines traditionally sell cruisers internet access”.
Internet cost aboard ships has bugged cruisers for years, especially those who like keeping in touch via social media. Carnival is offering cheaper internet plans than its competitors, the line says.
Affordable internet access is already a factor in choosing hotels. It may also swing cruisers one way or the other because it can be quite a cost. Carnival Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises and Holland America Line are currently on Carnival’s WiFi@Sea service, which uses a combination of satellite systems, land-based antennas and Wi-Fi from port connection.
Cruisers aboard ships that have already received the upgrade are reporting higher satisfaction, according to Carnival.
A statement by Carnival said the line’s expanded WiFi@Sea connectivity network “features the broadest high-bandwidth internet coverage in the industry currently deployed on 30 of its 100 ships – far more than any other cruise line company – with further deployment planned over the next several months.
“In addition, several of [Carnival’s] cruise line brands have introduced new plans and pricing packages that make staying connected on a cruise more convenient and affordable – and are improving the guest experience and increasing the number of guests using Wi-Fi while cruising.
“The technology is expected to change how millions of travellers stay in touch during their cruise and generate even greater interest in cruise vacations, especially among tech-savvy millennials and people of all ages who want to stay in touch, research destinations or share their vacation experiences via social media.”
Carnival is offering cheaper internet plans than its competitors, the statement said.
Skift.com says that Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line have also switched away from Internet plans that bill by minutes or data used. Royal Caribbean International now charges USD 15 for unlimited access per device on its newer ships, while Norwegian Cruise Line offers unlimited access for USD 19.99 or USD 24.99, the site notes.
Written by Peter Needham